Erskine College Professor Fired For Supporting Science

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Erskine College is a small, private, four year Christian liberal arts college located in South Carolina. William Crenshaw, who taught at the college for 35 years, earning tenure, an endowed chair, and teaching awards was fired for his dissent of Erskine’s teaching of science.

Erskine offers a Bachelor of Science degree and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Crenshaw commented:

Science is the litmus test on the validity of the educational enterprise. If a school teaches real science, it’s a pretty safe bet that all other departments are sound. If it teaches bogus science, everything else is suspect…. I want a real college, not one that rejects facts, knowledge, and understanding because they conflict with a narrow religious belief. Any college that lets theology trump fact is not a college; it is an institution of indoctrination. It teaches lies. Colleges do not teach lies. Period.

Erskine College is part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) that holds to the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible. Since the Bible is an inanimate object incapable of fallibility or errancy, this really means  that ARP’s interpretation of the Bible is infallible and inerrant.

ARP is a small denomination with only 250 churches. This number is too small to maintain a faculty and student body of only ARP members. Crenshaw’s firing will send a message to the other 39 faculty members that academic freedom will not be tolerated.

Erskine’s majors include Biology, Natural Science, and Physics. This incident should draw the scrutiny and reevaluation of its accreditation in these areas. The risk of losing its accreditation will do more to discourage potential students than anything Crenshaw said.

A BS degree from Erskine is going to mean diddle squat when applying to a reputable graduate school.

H/T: Inside Higher Ed, Pharyngula.

36 thoughts on “Erskine College Professor Fired For Supporting Science

  1. Well, the BS degree will be an accurate term for it, only it won’t be Bachelor of Science, but a more Texas kind, of BS.

  2. In the last 20 years has there really been freedom in teaching….especially at the college level….Publish or Perish became the mantra…..

    Am I surprised at this decision, not at all…I read something about the SC Governor the other day..which seems to fit in the Hypocritical State…

  3. SC gov. calls reporter ‘little girl’ over story

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s first woman governor called a female reporter a “little girl” over an article detailing at least $127,000 in taxpayer dollars the governor and other state officials spent on a European economic development trip.

    In a syndicated radio talk show interview Thursday, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley was asked about last Sunday’s article by 25-year-old Renee Dudley in The Post and Courier of Charleston: (http://bit.ly/oMjHxE).

    “And all I will tell you is: God bless that little girl at The Post and Courier. I mean her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end I’m going to have jobs to show for it,” Haley said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jZ5ucLdX2QBPFFko9-yKOfYCV5oA?docId=176a0b11b4844369b1e5e11d0969b4f2

  4. If the school loses or changes its accreditation, credentialing from that school could become less valuable in the marketplace, both for graduate school and perhaps some employers. too. I don’t see a problem with that.

    I wonder what that would do to rankings, which are actually fairly high for this school.

  5. God Bless or Bless Her Heart is a southern colloquialism for “fuck you” and sounds ever so genteel.I have one thing to say to the governor of SC from another genteel lady from NC, Governor Haley, Bless your heart.

  6. Never new what the ARP was until a few years ago. I thought Presbyterians were Presbyterians. Probably won’t do much to the rankings since it is a regional southern school. Rick Perry is doing very well in South Carolina.

  7. It may be true that Perry is doing well in SC…But it does not mean that he has paid the filing fee to be on the ballot…

    South Carolina GOP primary fundraising picks up

    Candidates already have put up $160,000 to have their names on the ballot. Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney haven’t paid the $35,000 fee yet.

    Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/09/06/1960922/south-carolina-gop-primary-fundraising.html#ixzz1XYYwYVqT

  8. http://www.pcpc.org/ Park Cities Presbyterian is one of these churches. My children knew people that went to this church so I heard quite a bit about the church’s beliefs. Many very affluent people in Dallas adhere to this brand of Presbyterianism. I doubt anyone would be surprised at that.

  9. I found this after a brief search:

    The ARP Talk blog called Crenshaw’s comments on science evidence that he is “functionally an atheist who, in his rabid, secular fundamentalism, preaches his views with as much vigor and determination as an old-time Methodist revivalist of 100 years ago.” The blog added that Crenshaw was “an evangelist of infidelity” and said that he encourages students to question faith with “his secular brain-dribble.”

    Sometimes one hardly knows what to say in the face of concerted ignorance. The late Dr. Laurance Peter once wrote, “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/09/08/english_professor_at_erskine_known_for_defending_science_is_fired

  10. “Erskine College is a small, private, four year Christian liberal arts college located in South Carolina. William Crenshaw, who taught at the college for 35 years, earning tenure, an endowed chair, and teaching awards was fired for his dissent of Erskine’s teaching of science.

    Erskine offers a Bachelor of Science degree and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Erskine College is part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) that holds to the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible.”

    William Crenshaw was predestined to be fired.

  11. “The blog added that Crenshaw was “an evangelist of infidelity” and said that he encourages students to question faith with “his secular brain-dribble.”

    OS,

    This to me is the scariest part of the statement. It promotes religious faith as unquestioning belief. The problem is so obvious. Each major religion has many sects, all with differing interpretations of their scripture. The thinking behind this is that one must choose a particular belief system and then exclude all other possibilities from even contemplation. This produces a mindlessness that is both easy to control an open to corruption. From a mindset like this comes all the wars and travails that beset humanity.

  12. “Storm.”

    OS

    Perfect and incredibly entertaining. Thank you for introducing me to Tim Minchin, who from this seems a genius poet.

  13. Thanks, Mike.

    I thought it was a good piece for this particular thread. I suspect every one of us has been in that position. Either rant or let your head explode.

  14. I grew up in an all-American neighborhood where kids got their ass kicked for being the wrong kind of Christian. Thought we were making progress during the 60s & 70s to move away from that nonsense. I suppose, in a way, it was progress. But I see now how it has damaged America as each of these crackpot subspecies of “the one true religion” has taken it to mean they can press their particular, peculiar, set of absolute truth and any who disagree are unrepentant heathens worthy to die by fire.

    The good news is if they start killing each other over obscure biblical bullshit soon enough the decent people can start pointing out how insane it all is and maybe hold the insane at bay.

  15. The good news is if they start killing each other over obscure biblical bullshit soon enough the decent people can start pointing out how insane it all is and maybe hold the insane at bay.

    Hah! I’m afraid we have all of history to indicate the falseness of that faint hope. There will always be far more rough than diamonds, far more space than things in it, always far more ways to wreck perfection than to improve on it. SDo it goes. :)

  16. AY: “SC gov. calls reporter ‘little girl’ over story

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s first woman governor called a female reporter a “little girl” over an article detailing at least $127,000 in taxpayer dollars the governor and other state officials spent on a European economic development trip.”

    ——
    Little Miz Nikki is just so full of… bad ideas:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/nikki-haley-i-so-want-drug-testing-for-jobless-benefits/

  17. Well LK,

    It appears that the present governor of SC is a) a liar, b) pandering to the party, c) on drugs herself (Nancy Grace comes to mind), d) took a campaign donation, e) out of touch with reality, f) power has gone to her head, g) can’t think straight, h) all of the above…..

    From your article I think there is a difference between being hired and tested and and 1 and 50 percent testing positive…Just call me skeptical from anything else I read….

  18. It’s extremely suspicous when he’s leaving out what these science facts are that allegedly disagree with some “narrow religious belief”. Was he trying to peddle the adult fairytale also known as evolutionism?

    Science isn’t at odds with God. God created science. Science isn’t some kind of entity that has powers. Science is simply knowledge gained by observation. Testable, provable, measurable, weighable, countable, etc… If this nutjob was trying to peddle something other than plain old science, then that’s where the problem is. I’m curious as to what he was trying to teach. If he’s an atheist, like someone said, then there’s the problem. Atheism is devoid of logic and common sense.

  19. FFLP,

    Was he trying to peddle the adult fairytale also known as evolutionism?

    Oh really?

    Science isn’t at odds with God. God created science. Science isn’t some kind of entity that has powers. Science is simply knowledge gained by observation. Testable, provable, measurable, weighable, countable, etc…

    Oh really?

    If this nutjob was trying to peddle something other than plain old science, then that’s where the problem is. I’m curious as to what he was trying to teach.

    Oh really?

    If he’s an atheist, like someone said, then there’s the problem. Atheism is devoid of logic and common sense.

    You don’t say, and how do you know?

  20. As a current biology major here at Erskine, I can assure you we more than deserve the degree we are getting. A degree in any of the sciences here more than guarantees you acceptance into any major graduate program. We ARE taught the basics of evolution, we don’t simply “skip over it” due to the beliefs of the church. The work we do here is known statewide for its difficulty. I myself disagree with Crenshaw’s firing, but this article fails to mention the other side of the story, such as Crenshaw’s bad-mouthing of students and other faculty etc.

  21. Anonymously Yours

    Oh really Oh really Oh really Oh really Oh really ?

    Yes, really.

    The material in question hasn’t been mentioned here. I’m curious as to what he was trying to teach. I’m guessing it was something about evolutionism. Yes, if he tried to tell the class it is a fact that humans are distant relatives of field mice, then that would have been a BIG problem, since we have no evidence of such, and that wouldn’t qualify as science, but instead, a just-so story.

  22. The bible does not contradict science in any way. Evolution is in diametric opposition to the Scripture. 2Ti 3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Listening with greedy ears to every one that comes along, but never learning anything” 2 Tim 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” 2 Thess 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

    Lret the Bible speak for itself
    and by the way In the begiining God.

  23. I don’t know what Mr.William Crenshaw considers to be “real science” but neo Darwinism’s lifeless chemicals-to-man evolution does not meet the definition of science mentioned in the National Academy’s guidebook for science teachers, Chapter 3, 1998.The definition makes clear that “Science is about what is observable and measurable. In addition, “explanations thatcannot be based on empiricle evidence are not part of science.” Yet, the Academy urges teachers like Crenshaw and others to teach neo Darwinism as science. That is also the reason that most articles about evolution never define the term “evolution.”

    See:Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought, Scientific American, July 2000, p.80,
    You will see that Darwin’s chemicals-to-man evolution series can only rest on faith in a story. That’s one reason why I believe in Genesis.

  24. With the exception of few replies to this biased piece of garbage, most of you would be better served to consider all of the great state schools you should support and wipe the dust off of your evolving feet as you run from scary, bigoted Christians. The world is much better off with you “tolerant” self-appointed experts offering social criticisms against an institution that was founded and supported by a church that has never hidden its beliefs. Just as people of your ilk like to say to Christians who do not like smut on tv, “turn the channel”. You too should turn your attention to one of the many colleges that support your world view. There are many of them out there. Take your pick.

  25. “Just as people of your ilk like to say to Christians who do not like smut on tv, “turn the channel”

    Problem with that is, we eventually run out of channels. It’s as easy as finding a “no urine” section of a public swimming pool. Not going to happen. So you finally have to take a stand and start cleaning things up and taking back things.

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