Dr. Steve Pettit of Bob Jones University responds to my recent OpEd in the The Wall Street Journal concerning CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation decision on TRACS (an org that accredits BJU).
I called for a principled compromise that would support their academic freedom to teach young earth creation science, as long as they do this with transparency. More importantly, I also called for academic freedom for faculty and students at BJU that dissent from scientific creationism.
Pres. Pettit states, I “can offer no evidence in asserting that Bob Jones University grants degrees requiring course credits in “creation science.”’ In fact, I can, and did so in my third party comment to CHEA. The evidence is Bob Jones current course catalogue, which requires, for example, all biology students to take Bio 300, a class that the catalogue indicates includes creation science.
Notably, in his response to me, Dr. Pettit does not assure us he will protect the vulnerable dissenters at BJU. Academic freedom is a two way street. Why is BJU asking [for] freedoms that they are unwilling to offer their own faculty and students?
I understand addressing these concerns about their curriculum head on will be controversial, which is why I recommend a cooperative approach. Let’s find a principle compromise together on this one Pres. Pettit.
S. Joshua Swamidass MD PhD
Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis