Lawsuit over Academic Freedom

The Alliance Defend fund issued a news release on January 5 about a lawsuit against the University of Louisiana over a distinguished professor who, the ADF says, has been “repeatedly discriminated against.” The professor is a creationist. Many of you will remember the movie Expelled, in which Ben Stein documented case after case of discrimination in academic circles related to the issue of Intelligent Design.

The current press release states the following:

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of an award-winning and internationally recognized professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette who has been repeatedly discriminated against for his public lectures and published works on communicative disorders, autism causation, and intelligent design.

“Professors don’t have academic freedom if they are forced to parrot the politically correct party line,” said ADF Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Despite his stellar academic record, this professor has found himself exiled from participating in the instruction of any department students simply because he holds views that some university officials don’t favor. As a result, he has no other recourse but to file this lawsuit to protect his academic freedom.”

Dr. John Oller, Jr., is a tenured professor in the Communicative Disorders department and an internationally recognized expert in theoretical semiotics and associated research. He has lectured around the world and has been acknowledged with numerous national and international awards and hundreds of published articles and citations.

In addition to being published widely on the association of toxins and disease agents with autism spectrum disorders, Oller has lectured and published works since 1981 on creation and intelligent design, arguing that linguistic and genetic complexities cannot happen by chance. In 2005, Oller started to receive criticism from his professional colleagues about his views, resulting in progressive elimination of his instruction opportunities within the department, including total removal from classroom instruction of department Ph.D., masters, and undergraduate students. His textbooks were also censored despite the fact that he continued to be published in significant outlets, receive academic awards, and obtain positive evaluations from his students.

At one point, one of Oller’s colleagues allegedly wrote to a student, “Personally, I have found him (Oller) to be quite uninformed and biased in his ideas. Remember, as someone told you, he is also someone who believes in Creationism, in the fact that the world is only several thousand years old and in the inerrant truth of every word of the Bible….”

You can read the rest of the press release.

Dr. Oller, by the way, is also a contributor to our Answers magazine. Here are links to two articles he has written.

I would also ask you to be in prayer for Dr. John Oller and his family. Experience tells me that they will be receiving a lot of persecution (and will be greatly maligned) because of his stand.

This will certainly be an interesting case to follow.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

Ken