University Administrators Challenging the Dogma

Speaking of academic freedom and tolerance, campus administrations around the country espouse it fervently but somehow cannot extend the principle to professors and others who courageously think outside the secular box. San Francisco State University took the position that a particular biology professor was no longer appropriate as a teacher of introductory biology. Professor Dean Kenyon, a leading national authority in chemical evolutionary theory, committed the unpardonable sin of exposing his students to certain points of dispute among scientists on macro-evolutionary theory. But worse, Kenyon reported the sacrilegious fact that a number of biologists admit to the existence of evidence for intelligent design in the universe.

Similarly, Mississippi University for Women asked professor Nancy Bryson-the head of the school's Division of Science and Mathematics-to resign her position for exposing a group of honor students to scientific flaws in Darwinian thought in a presentation called "Critical Thinking on Evolution." The presentation covered alternative theories, including "intelligent design," and after the lecture a biology professor-who had not attended the talk-told Bryson that her talk was "religion masquerading as science." Bryson was incensed, saying, "The academy is all about free thought and academic freedom. He hadn't even heard my talk. Without knowing anything about my talk, he makes that decision. I think it's really an outrage." Encouraged by the outpouring of support from her students, Bryson refused to resign, whereupon school officials sent her a letter informing her they would not renew her contract in the fall as head of the division. After coming under heavy criticism, the university reversed itself, but Bryson hardly feels secure in her position. "I'm going to be watching my back," she said.

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