Unscholarly SMU course should be canceled
Dear SMU administrators:
Physics 3333 / CFB 3333 should be canceled. It should not carry university credit, be taught on university-paid time, or be associated with SMU in any way. This course's gratuitous disparagement of particular people and their views is a violation of SMU's Code of Ethics, including the following rule --
Pursuit of truth. We seek knowledge and understanding through open, energetic inquiry and creative freedom. We support one another with hard questions and sincere encouragement. Because we seek truth, we encourage free expression of ideas, accept challenges to our assumptions, and treat those whom we question as colleagues sharing a common purpose.
The course description is full of intolerance and prejudice. A webpage on course material labels ID "(Un)Intelligent Design" and states, "Bill Maher on Intelligent Design -- 'You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap.' " The webpage calls ID proponents "IDiots." A list of anti-ID books is labeled, "Read these and learn some science," and a list of pro-ID books is labeled, "or read these and get stoopider."
A disclaimer for the course says,
.The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the instuctors, Professor John L. Cotton and Professor Randall J. Scalise, (and other rational people) and do not necessarily reflect those of Southern Methodist University (SMU) or its Physics Department... but they ought to.
At Kansas University, Prof. Paul Mirecki created a for-credit course that labeled creationism and intelligent design as "mythologies" and was forced to cancel the course when it was revealed that he had written on a semi-private Internet forum that the course was "a nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies." He was censured by the university and resigned his chairmanship of the religious studies department. Evidently KU has more concern for its reputation than you do for yours.
Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology.
Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants.
An article in Evolution News & Views incorrectly states that this course "provides only anti-ID reading sources." As noted above, pro-ID reading sources are also listed but in a very disparaging fashion.
Labels: Intelligent design