Academic Freedom?!

New Writer
Dr. Bob Stouffer is Superintendent of Des Moines Christian School in Urbandale, Iowa, and the newest addition to The Conservative Reader’s Editorial Team.

On Monday, April 14, 2008, I was privileged to join a large theater audience in Des Moines for a special viewing of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary by Ben Stein which will premier throughout the city, starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 18.

Security on Monday night was tight. We were expected to show a photo ID. A man waved a wand cautiously over each individual to insure that no recording instruments would result in pirating of the film. Women could not bring their purses into the theater.

The audience was privileged to hear from Dr. Guillermo Gonzales, whose appeal for tenure as a Professor at Iowa State University was once again denied by the Iowa Board of Regents in February. He expressed appreciation to the audience for all of the many kindnesses extended to him and his family, and he was pleased to report that he would be able to teach and write freely in his new position at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Why all this security? What was the rub that led to a second denial of Professor Gonzales’ tenure as a full astronomy professor at ISU?

Intelligent Design. My reading audience no doubt has varying degrees of understanding about the phrase, Intelligent Design.

But you would have to live in a cave not to be aware of the battle which is raging between those who espouse Intelligent Design and those who advocate feverishly for Darwinism.

Darwinism. Darwinism, of course, was a term coined from the name of Charles Darwin, who first propagated the theories of evolution – the idea that all species evolved from the same origin.

What is that origin? Darwin and subsequent evolutionists cannot be definitive about the origin, but that doesn’t keep them from hypothesizing. A prominent scientist in Stein’s film actually purports, with all due seriousness, that the complexity of human life was transported on the backs of crystals! Also, Francis Crick, the famous discoverer of DNA, truly believed that human life could have been transported by aliens from another universe or galaxy!

Evolution. How is evolution to be defined? The term itself can be a sticky wicket. Evolution involves changes within and between biological species over time – adaptations which allow for “survival of the fittest.” Darwinists believe that – miraculously and accidentally – lightning may have struck at just the right combination of proteins in a mix of primordial ooze, resulting in the first cell, which evolved into swimming creatures, which evolved into land-walking creatures, which evolved into apes, and which evolved into you and me. All you need is a lot of time and a lot of faith to believe the theory.

When disagreement is squelched, one hand truly is clapping.

So what do Darwinians have to hide? Of what are they afraid? Why are they so defensive? Why are they so angry when their theories are challenged? Why does emotion rule reason in these arguments? Why, as Stephen Meyer said in the film, does this sound like “one hand clapping”?

When disagreement is squelched, one hand truly is clapping. And Dr. Meyer is exactly right when he points out that one hand clapping indicates there has not truly been a healthy disagreement about our views on science.

Science and religion do not need to be mutually exclusive, yet that is what today’s biology departments in secular universities would have us believe. Science is either-or to the Darwinists. Of course, we know, as Christians, that many scientists throughout history, including contemporary scientists, do believe in God and can see His place in science. Science is God’s creation. Gravity works because of God’s creation. Other laws of physics and biology work because of God’s design.

So, what was my reaction to Ben Stein’s film?

The documentary really made me think. And we conservative Christians should be thinking more. We must “love the Lord our God with all of our minds.” This is an opportunity for people of all ilks to think carefully about the issues. The movie will stretch you intellectually, and that’s a very good thing.

Also, Ben Stein’s documentary stimulated a variety of emotions. At times, I laughed aloud. Other times, I was angry with people who believe my worldview makes me a nimrod. I have often thought about how my own school experience, when textbooks have “lied” to me with information which is presented as “truth.” That makes me mad! My heart was racing when I left the theater.

The Christian community has an opportunity and responsibility at this time. When this movie premiers in Des Moines, Christians need to go to the theaters – in the same way that Christians supported The Passion of the Christ; The Lion , the Witch, and the Wardrobe; and Amazing Grace. This movie has presented the leading scientists on “both sides” of the issue. Ben Stein clearly has a bias for Intelligent Design. But his greatest bias is his bias for seeking the truth in a full marketplace of ideas. We send a clear message to liberal thinkers when we come out in droves to Expelled. Please make attendance at this movie a priority for the first weekend, so the momentum of viewership propels the movie into a long run with Ben Stein’s attempt to reveal the issues of this controversy.

I understand why a book I recently read declares Darwin to be a “man who rules from the grave.” Like sheep being led to slaughter, we sometimes blindly follow the consensus of revolutionary thinking. I appreciated one of the points of Stein’s film: If people were open to Darwin’s new ideas, why are they not open to a differing position with Intelligent Design?!

The essence of this controversy is a difference in worldviews. That’s why it’s so important for students at our school to be “equipped to think, discern, and act through biblically-directed, Christ-centered education.”

As Dr. Del Tackett so expertly details in his two hour-long DVD segments on evolution in Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project, this is cosmic battle. This is spiritual warfare. Our war is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities. This is a war of ideas. Conservatives and Christians must not cower in fear at the prospect of the battle, because our very freedom of education is at stake.

Academic freedom. Does academic freedom exist in our nation’s school’s today? At the risk of making a broad generalization, I don’t think so. As long as they agree with the evolutionists, scientists are “free” to continue your work. But, if a scientist or Christian or conservative thinker presents plausible alternative theories, he is ridiculed for ignorance.

Who really is ignorant?

You decide.

Check out Expelled in your attempt to better inform yourself about this critical contemporary issue.

Update: Trying to fix tables in IE.

Expelled

About the Author

 

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

    Log in