Professor says he was dismissed for teaching evolution

Dr. Jonathan Coffman is claiming religious discrimination was a factor when he was terminated from his position as a Director of Administration and Associate Professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He filed paperwork July 28 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, saying that his May 11 dismissal was because of his non-religious beliefs. A significant aspect of Dr. Coffman’s claim is that he was told by his Department Administrator to not teach about human evolution in his microbiology and immunology courses. Dr. Coffman refused and thus faced retaliation.

Palm Beach Atlantic University is an interdenominational Christian university whose website says “your Christian faith will thrive.” Dr. Coffman started work at the University’s Gregory School of Pharmacy in mid-2009. “I was offered a good salary, and I never suspected I would encounter any issues with Human Evolution at the graduate level,” he said. But during his two years there he encountered a deeply-held creationist belief among the school’s leadership. Dr. Coffman recalled a time when the Dean of Academics told all of the pharmacy students during a bible study meeting that it never rained on Earth before Noah’s flood. Instead, water came up out of the ground like sprinklers.

In the Spring term of 2010, Dr. Coffman said that the Department Administrator requested that human evolution not be taught in Dr. Coffman’s courses. When he continued to teach it anyway, he said that he was moved from his executive office space and into a tiny adjunct office. Furthermore, he was excluded from participating in a university leadership counsel and denied funding to travel to an American Society of Microbiology meeting. Finally, in May of this year he was given a letter that stated his position was eliminated.

Dr. Coffman said that he believed academic freedom is supposed to be preserved in academia regardless if the school is private or not. But that didn’t seem to be the case at Palm Beach Atlantic University. “Other faculty in the sciences at PBA embrace evolution but many don’t talk about it, are scared to talk about it, or just talk about microevolution,” he said. He has a background in molecular biology and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from the University of Tennessee, Memphis.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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9 Responses to Professor says he was dismissed for teaching evolution

  1. Troy Spencer says:

    I have to think that this is one main reason America is falling behind other nations in regard to the education of our children.

  2. Jon S Reynolds says:

    This is sad. That institution is accredited and able to call itself a University, but is permitted to continue teaching falsehood over verifiable scientific theory? Microbiology CANNOT be taught without evolution! How on earth do they explain antibiotic resistance without evolution??? How about mutations in cancerous cells?

    I have to agree with Mr. Spenser’s post above. This does NOTHING to advance our status in the world if schools will choose to teach hand-waving, or worse, a fairy tale over demonstrable science!

  3. Tim Uhren says:

    How is it possible that students are receiving graduate degrees after being taught that water came through the ground before Noah’s flood? It startles me to know that this is the level of education in any biological science graduate degree holders. And this level of deliberately willful ignorance from the Dean of Academics no less!

  4. Maria S. Pinault says:

    Is this the same professor that was fired from South University?

  5. To begin with, you have to desire to go to a Bible College, and you have to would like to learn and grow inside your knowledge of, and connection to, Christ. Universities also need a minimum ages of 17 on entry day, and completing senior high school.

  6. Jonathan Coffman says:

    Most of the administration attend Christ Fellowship. Check out the link below how they mock evolution.

  7. paul says:

    Well, it is a Christian school after all, so they can do what ever they want by not allowing evolution to be taught since they do not believe in it. It’s best that kids are not taught evolution in school. Kids who are taught Biblical Creation score higher in science than kids who are taught solely Evolution.

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