Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Viewpoint Discrimination In the Name of Science: A Textbook Case of Darwinian Fundamentalism

You may have already read about the outrageous views of Larry Moran, a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, in a post entitled "Flunk the IDiots," regarding the UC San Diego policy of requiring freshman to attend a one-sided intelligent design bashing lecture, which apparently included misleading information about the proponents of intelligent design:
I agree with the Dembski sycophants that UCSD should not have required their uneducated students to attend remedial classes. Instead, they should never have admitted them in the first place. Having made that mistake, it's hopeless to expect that a single lecture—even one by a distinguished scholar like Robert Pennock—will have any effect. The University should just flunk the lot of them and make room for smart students who have a chance of benefiting from a high quality education.

Keep in mind that this is not a random professor far from the mainstream. Here is how Larry Moran describes himself on his blog:
Larry Moran is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He is interested in biochemistry, molecular evolution, and science education. Larry is the author of Principles of Biochemistry—one of the leading introductory college biochemisty [sic] texts.

Perhaps Prof. Moran could benefit from some remedial spelling classes. I assume that he did not misspell the word "biochemistry" in the text itself. Perhaps he could also take a class on how to make an argument without resorting to juvenile name calling.

Here is part of the University of Toronto's mission and purpose statement (bold added):
Purpose of the University

The University of Toronto is dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

It is this human right to radical, critical teaching and research with which the University has a duty above all to be concerned; for there is no one else, no other institution and no other office, in our modern liberal democracy, which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.

So if you come to the University of Toronto with any doubts about the ability of material forces to explain the origin of life or the ability of random mutation and natural selection to accomplish all the variety of life that we see around us, you better not let your doubts be known- especially if you are taking a class from Prof. Moran.

I wonder if there is anyone at the University of Toronto who cares about protecting the academic freedom guarantees in its mission statement.


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