SCIENTIFIC ORIGINS OF THE SPECIES

WaPo reports the continuing saga of Texas Tech biology prof Michael L. Dini, who only writes letters of recommendation for students who believe there is a “scientific answer” for mankind’s origin. Dini is drawing lots of flak and charges of religious discrimination. A couple of things strike me here.

One: There is no requirement that professors write recommendation letters for students. Doing so is a courtesy. Presumably, profs should be allowed to discriminate in who they write them for; otherwise they are worthless. (Indeed, they likely are anyway, since virtually no one will write a bad recommendation either out of common decency or fear of being sued.) Dini probably thinks that anyone with scientific training who doesn’t, umm, believe in science, is an idiot. Professors shouldn’t be required to write letters for students they feel are idiots. Students don’t want profs who think they’re idiots to write letters for them, anyway. Unless they actually are idiots. . . .

Second: This isn’t religious discrimination equivalent to, “denying letters of recommendation to Muslim folks, requiring them to accept that Mohammed was not the prophet.” One could simultaneously believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, your Personal Savior, etc., etc.; that man was created by The Lord God Jehovah (stone throwing ensues) and believe that there was a “scientific explanation” behind it. A God who created the known universe could certainly use things like evolution and a Big Bang as a mechanism. Indeed, a fair portion of the scientific community consists of people of religious faith who nonetheless believe in science, too.

FILED UNDER: Education
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.