June 20, 2018 | Jerry Bergman

Indoctrination in American Colleges into Atheism

Jerry Bergman shares shocking examples of indoctrination into atheism by Darwinist college professors.

Indoctrination in American Colleges into Atheism

by Jerry Bergman

Numerous recent surveys of colleges have found they are in favor of skin color and gender diversity but not thought diversity. Professor Walter Williams reviewed some of the  studies that evaluated this issue and wrote that “many professors spend class time indoctrinating students with their views” which are often leftist or socialist. [1] One example is, of the 66 top rated liberal arts colleges, 39 percent had not a single registered Republican professor. Furthermore, in anthropology departs the ratio of Democrats to Replications was 133 to 1, and in communication and many other social science departments the ratio was 133 to zero!

Of the 66 top rated liberal arts colleges, 39 percent had not a single registered Republican professor.

Party affiliation was used to evaluate bias because this data is available and straightforward. Williams concluded “It is a cowardly act for a professor to take advantage of students immaturity by indoctrinating pupils with his opinions before the students have developed the maturity and skill to examine other opinions.” [2] The fact is, leftist political homogeneity is embedded in the college culture. As a result “Americans are seeing their tax dollars and tuition dollars going to people who have contempt for their values and seek to indoctrinate their children with leftist idea” [3] such as Darwinism. As one colleague told me, our goal as professors is to make young people as different from their parents as possible.

From my experience, this indoctrination is not uncommon. In my last year of teaching, 2017, I learned of three cases. One was an anatomy student who transferred to Northwest State where I taught. When I asked her why she transferred, she related that in her biology class the professor, on the first day of class, told the class that human evolution was a fact, and if they want to pass the class that fact must be reflected in their work. She dropped the class that day and after the quarter ended dropped out of the University of Toledo and transferred to Northwest. She explained she was a creationist and it was apparent that she may have a problem in that class and was concerned about a university that allowed such persons to teach there.

Another student mentioned that one class she was in was supposed to be a general biology class but 80 percent of the class was pushing evolution and to her seemed to be directed to the creationists in class. Her concern was she did not feel she was getting the background she needed to do well in her other courses for her nursing degree. The instructor was obviously pushing Darwinism to the exclusion of the required material. Her concern was less the pushing of Darwin than learning what she needed.

Graphic by J. Beverly Greene. Used by permission.

The Case of Michael Shermer

Surveys of evolutionists are even more lopsided then the data that Williams gave. Even though close to half of all Americans, according to numerous polls, hold to some form of creation, they are very hard to find in a science department in most colleges in America. One reason why is indoctrination. Dr. Michael Shermer is one of the world’s leading atheists today. He was introduced to Christianity as a youth and, in his senior year of high school, he accepted Christ at the behest of a close friend. [4] The next day, he attended church and publicly declared his salvation. To this day, he describes this experience as the highlight of his life. He then studiously read the Bible, and Christian books, regularly attended youth church groups (such as The Barn in La Crescenta, California), and gathered with fellow Christians a several times a week to sing Christian songs and worship.

Shermer’s dedication to Christianity was so extensive, that he was soon headed for full time ministry. Towards this goal, he enrolled in the Church of Christ College, Pepperdine University, to major in theology. Although he prayed regularly and went to chapel faithfully, as a new Christian, he still had some questions—such as the problem of evil.

About this time, the budding minister signed up for a course taught by Dr. Richard Hardison at Glendale College. [5]  Deciding to witness to his professor, Michael gave him a book on Christian theology. The professor took it upon himself to refute both the book and Christianity. To aid in achieving this goal, professor Hardison typed out a long list of supposed problems he saw with Christianity that he gave to Michael. Many long discussions soon followed, both in and after class, in which Hardison won Michael over—and he converted from evangelical Christianity to militant atheism. Shermer has been very active proselytizing against Christianity, and for atheism, ever since. [6]

Dr. Hardison worked hard in his classes trying to convince students that his opinions about God, evolution, creationism, Intelligent Design, and the purpose of life are true. Shermer wrote that Hardison was especially effective in helping him “think clearly about philosophy and theology, particularly with regard to reason and faith.” [7]  Although Hardison has influenced many students to accept his way of thinking, the account of only one student will be told here, that of Michael Shermer.

Michael Shermer now has two degrees in psychology, and is a part-time Adjunct Professor at Occidental College. He is also now the editor of the largest circulating atheistic magazine called The Skeptic. Shermer especially opposes all attempts by believers to “use science and reason to prove God’s existence.” [8]  Ironically, as editor of Skeptic Magazine and the author of numerous books, he spends a great deal of time using “science and reason” to disprove (or at least to argue against) God’s existence. He feels it is appropriate to use science to argue for atheism, but not for theism.

Shermer is especially active in attacking creationism because, in his words, “the number-one reason people give as the reason they believe in God is the classic cosmological or design argument, namely the “good design, natural beauty, perfection, and complexity of the world or universe compels us to think that it could not have come about without an intelligent designer. In other words, people say they believe in God because the evidence of their senses tells them so. [9]

Teaching Atheism in the Classroom

For this reason, many professors like Hardison attack the classic cosmological design argument in order to win students over to atheism. Shermer openly acknowledged that he was set along the path to atheism by his philosophy professor, whom he calls one of his best professors and, he adds, Dr. Hardison is “now my friend.”

A Christian, Professor Henry Schaefer, wrote the following about a lecture he presented with atheist Dr. Steven Weinberg that illustrates Shermer’s devotion to the atheist cause. During the questioning time by the audience, one “dapper looking individual asked me a series of six or seven questions in machine gun rapid fire, allowing no possible response. Experience suggests that such persons are rarely looking for answers” but only want to challenge theists. [10] Schaefer added one reporter described the questioner, Shermer, as “grandstanding to the cameras (smile included).”

Michael Shermer is downright furious about my bringing to his painful remembrance the fact that the pioneers of physics and chemistry were almost entirely committed Christians. —Dr. Henry Schaefer

Those persons sitting near Shermer related that he had been muttering to himself throughout Schaefer’s lecture. In response, Professor Schaefer answered one of Shermer’s many questions by explaining “that I had become a Christian following a careful examination of the historical evidence….  Following the afternoon’s session, it was pointed out that the dapper gentleman was Michael Shermer … described by several at the conference as a swaggering gadabout.” [11] Schaefer added that Shermer in a report in his E-Skeptic internet column dated April 20, 2000

begins his narrative with “The big showdown event of the conference, however, was Steven Weinberg versus Henry Schaefer.”  … Shermer introduces my lecture in the following manner:  “Schaefer is going to line up Weinberg’s ducks …and proceed to blow them apart like sparrows on a wire. Now we will surely hear the best of the new creationists….  As anticipated, this colorful introduction goes rapidly downhill, as Michael Shermer is downright furious about my bringing to his painful remembrance the fact that the pioneers of physics and chemistry were almost entirely committed Christians. [12]

Clearly, as this example illustrates, Professor Hardison now has an active atheist disciple in Shermer. Although Hardison has also been very active, and very successful, in converting students to his atheistic worldview, I could not find any record of complaints or concerns about his open proselytizing activity. It is possible that some students recognized that he is proselytizing against religion and objected, but their complaints were not on record and have never made it to court—and, if they did, the ACLU and the organizations would likely have vigorously defended Hardison’s academic freedom. Indeed, Hardison is regarded as an excellent teacher who is sincerely interested in his students, even as he actively openly challenges their Christian faith and, evidently not infrequently, wins students over to his views.

The Case of William Provine

Cornell University Professor of Biological Science, the late William B. Provine (1942-2015), also actively proselytized against theism.  He would first present the theistic position in his class, then, for the rest of the quarter, endeavor to demolish the arguments for theism. He noted that, at the beginning of his courses, about 75% of his students were either creationists, or at least believed in purposeful evolution, i.e., were theists and believed that God directed evolution. Provine proudly proclaimed that the percentage of theists dropped to 50% by the end of his course—this view compares to about 90% in society as a whole (Provine, 1993, p. 63). Provine was obviously enormously successful in influencing his students to move toward atheism, and was very proud of his success. Yet the university and courts have not interfered, even though he has not only openly “expressed his religious viewpoint” (which the courts have ruled that those on the other side could not do), but has deliberately tried to indoctrinate his students in atheism. Likewise, Dr. Hardison endeavored to help students accept his viewpoint in class via his writings that he gave to students, as well as by meeting with them after class.

Faculty commonly, often blatantly, inject their own religious views—often agnosticism or atheism—in class (Smith, 1990). Such views, however, are normally not circumscribed, and if an attempt was made to do so, a howl of protest from the academic community would likely result. The courts have consistently ruled in favor of faculty that inject anti-religious, atheistic, or agnostic material into their classes, but against faculty that even objectively cover the opposite into their classes. [13]

cartoon by Brett Miller

The Surprising Creationism of a Famous ‘Atheist’

An example of this indoctrination is how Thomas Paine is portrayed. He was an anti-religionist and is commonly described as a freethinker, yet some of his writings indicate that he was a creationist—at least, someone who believed strongly that the world was created by God. Two paragraphs from his most famous book titled The Age of Reason provide examples:

It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. [Italics in the original.]  The creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. [14]

While Paine denied the authority of the Bible, he agreed with Psalm 19 that creation presents a universal message from God, accessible to every person on earth.

The creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. —Thomas Paine

Paine added that the Creation “does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God.” He concluded God’s power is seen in the immensity of the Creation and his wisdom is seen

in the unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible whole is governed. Do we want to contemplate his munificence? We see [it] in the abundance with which he fills the earth. Do we want to contemplate his mercy? We see it in his not withholding that abundance even from the unthankful… do we want to know what God is? Search not the book called the Scripture, … but the Scripture called the Creation.” [15]

This statement is rather profound for a putative “atheist.” How many students are exposed to this aspect of Paine’s writings? In my experience, very few.


New for 2018: This is the third volume in which Dr Bergman documents the persecution of all who dare to criticize Darwinism.

Bergman, Jerry. 1984.  The Criterion; Religious Discrimination In America.  Richfield, MN:  Onesimus.

________. 2012. Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters. Revised version. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press.

Bishop, Phillip A. v. O.H. Delchamps, Jr., et al.  Brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, Oct. Term, 1991.

Hartwig, Mark. 1991. “Christian prof. Loses Free-Speech Case.” Moody Monthly, June 24, 1991, p. 55.

Jaschik, Scott. 1991. Academic Freedom Could Be Limited By Court Ruling.  The Chronicle of Higher Education, Apr. 17, 1991, p. A23.

Johnson, Phillip E. 1995.  Reason In The Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education.  Downers Grove, Ill.  Inter Varsity Press.

McFarland, Steven T. 1992. “Free Speech and Academic Censorship.” Christian Legal Society, Apr. p. 2.

Meyers, John (Ed.). 1992.  “U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Bishop; Academic Freedom Stumbles in Wake of 11th Circuit Court Ruling.”  The Real Issue, 11(3), Oct. 1992.

Paine, Thomas. 1882. The Theological Works of Thomas Paine. Chicago: Belford, Clarke & CO.

Provine, William. 1993. “Response to Johnson Review.”  Creation-Evolution, Issue No. 32, Summer, 1993, pp. 62-63.

Robinson, R.W. 1991. “The Preachy Professor.”  Letter to editor, Perspective column in Liberty, Sept-Oct.  p. 28.

Schaefer, Henry F. 2003 Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence. Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? Athens, GA: The University of Georgia.

Shermer, Michael. 1997. Why People Believe in Weird Things.  NY: Freeman.

_________. 2000.  How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science.   NY: Freeman.

Smith, Page. 1990. Killing the Spirit; Higher Education in America.  NY: Viking, 1990.

Wolf, Larry W.  “The Preachy Professor.”  Letter to editor, Perspective Column in Liberty, Nov./Dec. 1991, p. 30.


[1] Walter Williams. Colleges: Anti-diversity and Pro-exclusion. AFA Journal. July 2018. P. 13.

[2] Williams. 2018. p. 13.

[3] Williams. 2018. p. 13.

[4] Shermer, 2000, p. 2.

[5] Shermer, 2000. P. 6

[6] Shermer, 2000, pp. 6-9.

[7] Shermer, 2000, p. xv.

[8] Shermer. 2000, p. xiii.

[9] Shermer, 2000, p. xiv.

[10] Shermer, 2003, p. 43.

[11] Shermer, 2003, p. 43.

[12] Shermer, 2003, pp. 43-44.

[13] Bergman, 1984; 2012.

[14] Thomas Paine, 1882, pp. 25-26.

[15] Thomas Paine, 1882, pp. 26.

Author Jerry Bergman, PhD

Dr. Jerry Bergman has eight graduate degrees, including two PhDs. He taught biological and medical courses at the college level for 40 years until he was sacked at his own college in 2017 for holding views that challenge Darwinism and political correctness (see Monograph), even though he violated no policies at the college, and merely exercised the academic freedom that Darwinians use to indoctrinate students in the opposite direction, as described above. Dr Bergman now works for ICR and continues publishing and writing for creation journals. The author of over 40 books and countless articles and papers, he is a regular contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. See his Author Profile for more information and a list of his previous articles at this site.

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