Ball State University in Indiana is facing scrutiny for hiring a science professor who wrote a book on intelligent design, a move that comes after another professor at the state college was accused of teaching creationism.
Ball State defended the hiring of Guillermo Gonzalez and said it does not support the teaching intelligent design in science classes. Proponents of intelligent design contend life is too complex to have evolved through evolution alone.
“This is a disturbing pattern and it could be a serious blow to the science curriculum at Ball State,” said Andrew Seidel, attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a group from Madison, Wisconsin, that promotes separation of church and state. “Their reputation is on the line.”
Gonzalez gained notoriety in 2004 when his book about intelligent design, “The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery,” was published. He was later denied tenure at Iowa State University.
Ball State spokeswoman Joan Todd said the university offered Gonzalez a job on June 12 as a tenure-track assistant professor of astronomy to teach in the department of physics and astronomy. Gonzalez will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in physics and astronomy, starting with introductory level astronomy courses in the fall semester at the state university in Muncie, about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis, she said.
The hiring was approved by dean, provost, and university president, which is normal university procedure, Todd said.
The hiring comes after Freedom From Religion wrote the university in May complaining that Eric Hedin, an assistant professor of physics, was teaching an honors course exploring the nature of the universe that it contended was actually religion disguised as science. The university announced last month it had appointed a review panel to investigate the allegations. (AP)