FOUNDATION: PROFESSORS AND STUDENTS MAY QUESTION EVOLUTION
MONTGOMERY, AL 12 December 2014: The Foundation for Moral Law (FML), a Montgomery-based nonprofit legal foundation dedicated to religious liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution, took strong issue today with the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF)’s attack on a Georgia Southern University professor who encourages his students to consider alternatives to evolution.
Dr. Emerson T. “Tom” McMullen, Professor of History at Georgia Southern, teaches courses such as “The Scientific Revolution” and “Science and Religion” in which he suggests that students should consider alternatives to Darwinian evolution. The FFRF wrote to the President of GSU warning that Prof. McMullen’s teaching violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and advising GMU to “investigate all McMullen’s classes and his teaching/preaching methods” and “ordering McMullen to cease and desist,” because “Georgia Southern University’s reputation is at stake.” FFRF’s letter said McMullen could “legitimately discuss religious doctrines masquerading as science, such as young earth creationism and intelligent design,” provided he presents these as “religious ideas lacking in scientific merit.”
However, Foundation for Moral Law President Kayla Moore said Professor McMullen’s teaching is protected by academic freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment. She charged that FFRF harbors an anti-religious bias and seeks to suppress any questioning of Darwinian evolution. “The academic community is supposed to be open to the questioning of all ideas,” she said, “but in fact it is closed to the questioning of evolution.” “Why,” she asked, “are Darwinists so afraid of anyone who questions evolution? If evolution is supported by the evidence, it should be able to withstand competition in the marketplace of ideas.”
Ms. Moore said her Foundation has written to Professor McMullen advising him that he is within his constitutional rights, urging him to continue teaching as he does, and offering to assist him if adverse action is taken against him. She noted that “The FFRF sends countless letters to state and local officials demanding that they cease and desist from any public expression or activity that could be considered religious, but they seldom follow up on their threats, and when they do go to court, they frequently lose.” She concluded, “Public officials should be governed by what the Constitution says, not what the FFRF wishes it said.”