March 22, 2021 | Jerry Bergman

Cancel Culture in Science

Professor Eric Hedin Canceled: How Evolutionists Win by Silencing the Opposition
A College Course Dropped for Teaching Both Sides of the Evolution Controversy

 

by Jerry Bergman, PhD

I have been writing for years about why Darwinism dominates Western society in spite of the fact that the scientific case against this worldview is overwhelming. In short, one wins debates by ensuring that the other side is not part of the conversation. The first book I published on this topic was in 1979, over 40 years ago.[1] In 1980, I published my second book on this topic[2] and, in 1984, my third book which directly tackled the problem head on.[3] Since then I have published seven more books on the topic of silencing opposition to Darwinism.[4] At least a dozen books have been published on this concern by others.[5]

The newest book is by Eric Hedin which details his experience at Ball State University. The opposition was led by the appropriately named Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) whose goal is the same as Lenin’s, Marx’s and Hitler’s, to suppress religion – first from the public square then, eventually, in all of society.[6] The 32,000 member FFRF organization advocates for atheists, agnostics, and all non-theists. They are assisted by militant atheist and evolutionist Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. On Coyne’s blog, dogmatically titled Why Evolution Is True, he reviewed some of the allegations and evidence that Hedin’s opponents used against him. In a recent book, Coyne makes it clear that evolution has scientifically disproved God. Hence evolution is both a worldview and a religion.[7]

Eric Hedin’s Background

Eric Hedin

Dr. Hedin’s specialization is experimental plasma physics, dimensional physics, and nano-electronics. He has published in numerous leading peer-reviewed scientific publications. In addition, he has published six books as either the author, co-author, or editor.[8] Several years ago Hedin was selected to teach an honors-level university course that challenged students to examine the intersection of science and life’s big questions, such as “did we evolve or were we created?” For years the course progressed

well, with Hedin as the referee and mentor, as students challenged each other and themselves. Then activists got wind that academic freedom and thought was occurring in this class. They began a militant campaign to put an end of it, making up false nonsense about what the class was about, and how it was taught. The university, which had approved the course, and had the many supportive testimonies of students, abandoned their charter of academic freedom and ended the class.[9]

His student ratings at Ball State were 4.5 out of 5 for helpfulness and, as a physics class, 3.6 for easiness, meaning it was a difficult class.[10] In short, he was a very good, well-liked professor teaching what most people regarded as a very difficult class.[11]

Atheist Uproar

The atheists, though, were enraged when they found about the existence of the class. They claimed that Hedin was advocating his own beliefs in the course, which most professors do to some extent. The problem was his nemesis assumed that he was advocating a different worldview than atheism, and this is what they objected to. One reviewer of the course, after looking at his readings and the course content, concluded Hedin was not advocating his worldview in the class, but

in fact provided both sides for the students to consider. This is what the activists hated: The fact that the students might question and see the fallacies in the activists’ beliefs. You see, they are philosophical naturalists camouflaging their beliefs in science, pretending their beliefs are science. Freedom to think and question — what science really is — is a dire threat to such fundamentalists.[12]

Jerry Coyne openly objected to exposing students to evidence supporting the other side of atheism. This is another example of his support for indoctrinating students into Darwinism. The alleged ‘problem’ was in a class called “Boundaries of Science,” in which Dr. Hedin asked students to read articles by not only atheists but also intelligent-design proponents. Hedin said that one of the motivations for the course was his realization that “students were fascinated by modern discoveries in physics related to the origin and fine-tuning of the universe and by questions raised by those discoveries, questions concerning purpose and the meaning of life.”[13]

Many non-Christian works were listed in the courses’ supplemental bibliography. The two required textbooks were a basic astrophysics text (The Expanding Universe: A Beginners Guide to the Big Bang and Beyond by Mark Garlick) and an apologetic book (God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? by Oxford University Professor of Mathematics John Lennox).[14] This latter book has 553 ratings on Amazon, 97 percent positive, and only two percent negative. Any good philosophy text covers the same material that Lennox included.

Justifying Censorship

Coyne wanted not only to censor material supportive of intelligent design but anything written by scientists whose personal beliefs supported a theistic worldview. Coyne said that Hedin was giving students credit for reading and analyzing articles that supported his [Hedin’s] worldview. My response is that professors normally give students articles and ask them to analyze them, including those that support the professors own worldview. The reason one critic gave that caused his [Hedin’s] problems was “Hedin’s tale of supposed persecution is better characterized as a tale of a scholar who was out of his depth in the field of philosophy, and did not even realize how he had transgressed important boundaries that need to be maintained in a public university.”[15] Actually, Hedin’s approach is very good pedagogy, specifically the use of the dialectical method. Taken from the word dialogue, the dialectical method invites discourse between two or more people holding different views about a subject, with the goal of determining the truth by reasoned argumentation. Dialectic resembles debate, but the dialectic method excludes subjective elements, such as emotional appeal.

John West, Vice President of the Discovery Institute in Seattle Washington which promotes Intelligent Design,  defended Hedin. Referring to another discrimination case, West said: “We don’t support state university professors proselytizing for either religion or atheism in their classes.”[16] Actually, in practice, professors are free to discuss their personal religion in class with students if their belief is atheism or agnosticism.

A major justification Hedin’s critics used against him was the establishment clause, often incorrectly dubbed “separation of church and state.”[17] In reality, the establishment clause only prohibits establishing an official state church such as existed in England. Before the Constitution, several of the original colonies had state churches in the Congregationalist denomination.[18] Today, however, the meaning of the establishment clause has been distorted to refer to speech by a private citizen. As one example, a “violation” of the establishment clause was alleged in a history class when the instructor inserted an extra-credit question asking students to identify one of the Ten Commandments.

Media Uproar

Clearly, the uproar at Ball State concerned the fact that Dr. Hedin had Christian beliefs. This is why the vehement atheists demanded that his course be canceled. Hedin writes that when the FFRF and other atheists launched a media attack against him,

rumors spread quickly through the internet, and I became the target of numerous email attacks from other zealous atheists. One said, “You should be ashamed of yourself, pushing that nonsense onto impressionable young minds” ..… The attack emails were only the beginning. Before long, the media got wind of the story, and more than a few news reporters played along with the atheists’ hit pieces. .. newspapers would report that I had been …  pushing religion down my students’ throats.[19]

Had he been an atheist, the tactful injection of his personal beliefs into classroom discussions would not have been problematic. The majority of student reviews documented that his teaching in his subject area was well-received.  Hence, Hedin’s teaching was not the real problem. His personal worldview was the problem. Atheists and secular humanists can freely proselytize their religious beliefs, if done tactfully, and in the past have been protected by academic freedom laws.

Summary

This is another of the over 200 cases I have documented where secular society has suppressed academic freedom and allowed unfettered indoctrination of Darwinism. If Darwinism is factual beyond doubt as its supporters contend, they would not need to censor the opposition. Science progresses only when evidence is king and debate is not only allowed but actively encouraged. This is especially vital in the college setting. After his course was canceled, Professor Hedin eventually left Ball State University and now teaches at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he now has academic freedom to continue teaching honors students.

Dr Bergman has published 3 books of true stories of careers ruined by Darwinist censors. Volume III includes chapters on methods the censors use for ensuring opposing views are not seen or heard in libraries, the news media, and bookstores.

References

[1] Bergman, Jerry. 1979. Teaching About the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Fastback 134.  Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

[2] “Peer Evaluation of University Faculty: A Monograph.” 1980. College Student Journal 14(3), Part 2, pp. 1-21, Fall.

[3] Bergman, Jerry. 1984. The Criterion: Religious Discrimination in America. Richfield, MN: Onesimus Publishing Co., 116 pp.

[4] Bergman, Jerry, and Doug Sharp. 2008. Persuaded by the Evidence. Green Forest, AR: Master Books; Bergman, Jerry. Transformed by the Evidence (edited with Doug Sharp). 2014. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press; Bergman, Jerry. 2019. Darwinism is the Doorway to Atheism. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press; Bergman, Jerry. 2019. Science is the Doorway to the Creator: Nobel Laureates and Other Eminent Scientists Who Reject Orthodox Darwinism. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press; Bergman, Jerry. 2021. Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, 3rd edition. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press; Bergman, Jerry. 2021. Silencing the Darwin Skeptics, 2nd edition. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press; Bergman, Jerry. 2021. Censoring the Darwin Skeptics: How Belief in Evolution is Enforced by Eliminating Dissidents, 2nd edition. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press;

[5] Crocker, Caroline. 2010. Free To Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters. Southworth, WA: Leafcutter Press.

[6] I know and personally like Dan Barker, co-president of FFRF. He is an ordained minister who became convinced that Darwinism explains all life; consequently no reason exists for God to exist. His life is an excellent argument for the need for apologetics in the Church.

[7] Coyne, Jerry A. 2015. Fact vs. Faith: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. New York, NY: Viking Press.

[8] Malakooti, Sadeq, Eric R. Hedin, and Yong S. Joe. 2014. Tight Binding Approach to DNA Electronics: Tight Binding Approach to DNA Electronics. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing; Hedin, Eric R., and Yong S. Joe. 2013. Spintronics in Nanoscale Devices. Singapore: Jenny Stanford Publishing; Cutright, James, Eric Hedin, and Yong Joe. 2012. Electron Transport Through Novel Nanoelectronic and Spintronic Devices: Computational Models of  Quantum Dot Structures. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. 2011. Electron Spin-Polarization via nano-Electronics Circuits: Spintronics Applications of Zeeman and Aharonov-Bohm Effects on Electron Transport in a Double Quantum Dot Ring. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing; Lee, Sunhee, Yong Joe, and Eric Hedin. 2011. Electron Transport in DNA Molecules: Temperature and magnetic fields effects on the electron transport through two-dimensional and four-channel DNA model. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.

[9] https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1637120001.

[10] Rate my professor. Ball State University. Eric Hedin. www.ratemyprofessors.com.

[11] I found physics both easy and very enjoyable both as a student and as a professor, but know that many do not share my experience.

[12] https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/1637120001.

[13] Hedin, Eric. 2021. Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See. Seattle, WA.: Discovery Institute Press, p. 11.

[14] Lennox, John. 2009. God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? London, UK: Lion Books; new edition.

[15] https:// amazon.com/Canceled-Science-What-Some Atheists/dp/1637120001/ref=sr_1_2 ?dchild=1&keywords= eric+hedin&qid=1615754662&s=books&sr=1-2.

[16] Flaherty, Colleen. 2014. “US associate professor challenged for ‘promoting religious beliefs’.” Inside  Higher Ed. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/cn/news/us-associate-professor-challenged-for-promoting-religious-beliefs/2017305.article.

[17] Hedin, 2021, p. 16.

[18] The Congregational Church was established by the early Puritans in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

[19] Hedin, 2021, p. 16.


Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for over 40 years at several colleges and universities including Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.

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