The University of Iowa (UI) has become the latest battleground in the debate between creationism and evolution.
Occasionally, the college publishes essays from faculty members on its website, Iowa Now, according to Inside Higher Ed. On Sept. 18, the website published a piece by Ned Bowden, associate professor of chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, entitled “Common Ground.”
The article addressed the seeming conundrum between religion and science, and argued that the two didn’t necessarily have to oppose each other. Bowden’s piece was a far cry from pure creationism, taking a theistic evolutionary stance instead. His main point: “It’s remarkably consistent how evolution and Genesis look at the process and tell the same stories using different words.”
Bowden encouraged both sides to stop shouting and listen to each other. Christians, he said, should not fear science. Rather, they should embrace it: “Denigrating or denying the clear, measurable, logical, repeatable work of thousands of scientists through the years does nothing to bolster Christian beliefs.” But he reminded evolutionists that even scientists take things on a certain level of faith because they rarely see what they base their beliefs on.
Despite this fairly middle-ground tone, the faculty at UI found plenty to take issue with, particularly with Bowden’s claim that there are “holes in the theory of evolution that are big enough to drive a semi-truck through.”
In response to the column, 25 of Bowden’s colleagues wrote a rebuttal acknowledging that while professors have a right to voice their opinions, they felt “a deep obligation to respond.”
The piece primarily claimed that even though evolution was a theory, scientists no longer debated its “central principles.” They argued that evolution was widely accepted and well supported, on par with the “germ theory” or our understanding that the earth goes around the sun.
“Iowa Now, by publishing a piece that suggests otherwise, has done a disservice to the university,” the professors wrote.
But school administrators are standing by their decision to publish the piece. In an email to Inside Higher Ed, a spokesman for the university said “as a public university, we welcome a diversity of views and encourage robust and civil dialogue. Iowa Now is one place where that takes place. The views of the writer … are his or her own and not necessarily those of Iowa Now or the University of Iowa.”