From Science, Vol. 262, Dec. 24, 1993 Random Samples, by Holden +quot;Intelligent Design+q

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From _Science_, Vol. 262, Dec. 24, 1993 Random Samples, by Holden "Intelligent Design" at San Francisco State Two important concepts--academic freedom and the theory of evolution--are currently clashing at San Francisco State University. The question: Does the school have the right to stop a biology professor from expounding on creationist ideas? On 7 December, the university's Academic Senate voted no. Hostilities commenced last spring when, in response to complaints by five students, the chairman of the biology department moved Dean Kenyon, a tenured professor, out of the introductory course he had been teaching for almost a decade. Kenyon devotes two course sessions to explaining how it is unlikely that the aspects of chemical evolution could have occurred by chance. He insists he's no Biblical fundamentalist, but he has become an advocate of the theory that "intelligent design" must be behind the emergence of life. University officials have their doubts about having this laid on freshmen who may never see another science course. After his removal, Kenyon claimed his intellectual freedom had been abridged and appealed to the faculty senate's Academic Freedom Committee. The committee agreed with him, but the department demurred. Tensions escalated in November, when the American Association of University Professors weighed in, praising the committee's report and urging resolution of the issue. And finally came the endorsement of Kenyon's reinstatement by the Academic Senate. His defenders, all but one of them nonscientists, say Kenyon shouldn't be penalized for exposing his students to alternative interpretations of events. And they feel the department violated "due process" by relying on student reports rather than engaging in systematic information- gathering on his teaching. But Kenyon's views have been a matter of chronic concern since he began injecting them into his teaching more than a decade ago, says university dean James Kelley, an oceanographer. So "18 years of student complaints" seems like enough evidence. Department chairman John Hafernik adds that there was no due process to violate. He calls Kenyon's reassignment a "scheduling decision" that should never have gone outside the department. But it did, and now it's back. Kelley says Kenyon (who is now teaching only labs) has been offered the chance to conduct an advanced seminar where his ideas can be explored. But Kenyon wants his intro course back, saying "I'm not going to drop this issue." He won't get more specific, but university officials fear a lawsuit is in the making.


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