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Monday, October 6, 2008

Richard Colling Is in the News Again

Last week, about 40 students at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois rallied to support biology professor Richard Colling, who in 2007 was barred from teaching the school's general biology class because he self-published the book Random Designer, which tries to reconcile evolution with Christian faith (and challenges the Church of the Nazarene's belief in biblical creation). Other professors at the university were also barred from using the book. The decision, believed to be the result of pressure from financial supporters and board members, raised questions of academic freedom at Christian and other religious institutions of higher learning.
Students at the rally said Colling helped them find harmony between seemingly conflicting concepts in science and religion, and many were there to promote the idea of open debate. To be fair, professors at other Nazarene schools haven't faced sanctions for writing on similar topics: At Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts, for example, Karl Giberson, a physics professor, has published a number of articles and books on the relationship between science and religion, including Saving Darwin, and at Point Loma Nazarene University in California, biology professor Darrel Falk, who's known for being an anti-creationist, tried to bridge biology and faith in his book Coming to Peace With Science. —Heather Wax