Evolutionists and atheist activists who recently complained about a Ball State University assistant professor teaching creationism may be missing a broader view of education, according to popular Christian apologist Lee Strobel, who says that colleges should be a place where students can explore both Darwinism and creationism fully and freely.
"I believe we should give teachers, scientists, and students the right to pursue the evidence wherever it takes them – even if it takes them to the politically incorrect conclusion that there's an Intelligent Designer," Strobel told The Christian Post via email. "In other words, let's test the evidence in the marketplace of ideas.
"As two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling said, 'Science is the search for the truth.' At least, it should be. Personally, I even believe we should teach more on Darwinism," he added. "That's right – more. That's because today students are given only a cursory and one-sided explanation of evolution. On this surface level, the theory's grandest claims seem to hold together pretty well. Yet if students are encouraged to dig deeper – in fact, to examine all of the evidence, pro and con – they begin to recognize its fatal flaws."
It was reported this week that the atheist activist group Freedom From Religion Foundation, that often claims expressions of faith have no place in the public square while interpreting the principle of separation of church and state, filed an objection to professor Eric Hedin's teaching. BSU is currently conducting an investigation.
"It is our information and understanding that this class has been used to proselytize students and advance Christianity by using gaps in scientific knowledge – the 'boundaries of science' – in an attempt to prove religious belief correct," FFRF stated in its letter sent to the school's president.
"BSU appears to offer a class that preaches religion, yet gives students honors science credit," the foundation's attorney Andrew Seidel wrote, according to The Star Press. "BSU appears to have a class with a non-biologist undermining genuine science and scholarship of the Ball State biology department by teaching creationism, a religious belief ... masquerading as science."
The reading list for the "Boundaries of Science" Honors College class (an elective) taught by Hedin, who teaches in the department of physics and astronomy, includes books by intelligent design proponents like Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, and Strobel. World Magazine's Campus edition reports that in Hedin's course description, he says, "We will also investigate physical reality and the boundaries of science for any hidden wisdom within this reality which may illuminate the central questions of the purpose of our existence and the meaning of life."
Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and author of Why Evolution is True, said he believes that BSU is not "genuinely concerned about religion masquerading as science," and "is simply going through the motions of having an 'investigation.'"
Strobel, whose book, The Case for a Creator, is on the course reading list, says that he doesn't have any specific knowledge about Hedin's class, but said, "In my view, a fair teaching of cosmology, physics, biochemistry, biological information and human consciousness tends to point quite naturally toward an Intelligent Designer. Students should be allowed to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence. I certainly don't see any First Amendment prohibition against free academic inquiry, especially in an elective course like this. I hope students will be able to consider all aspects of scientific evidence and not be unfairly prohibited from considering certain evidence just because some critics don't like its implications."
He added, "For me, it was a surface-level understanding of science that paved my path into atheism, but it was a more thorough and open-minded investigation of the broad spectrum of evidence that ultimately led me to conclude there's a a Creator, as I describe in my book The Case for a Creator."