As we have seen, David Barash is a professor from The University of Washington (a public university) who abuses his authority in order to proselytize for atheism in his science class. Barash’s classroom antics are too much even for Jerry Coyne.
Coyne notes that the “Religion and Science are Incompatible” argument is a theological argument and has no place in the science classroom:
I praised him for his public proclamation of science’s incompatibility with faith (after all, I have a book on the subject coming out in May), but considered it inappropriate for Barash to engage in what is essentially theology in a public-university science class.
Coyne is thinking clearly on this issue.
Yet Barash has privately assured him there is a “secular purpose” for his preaching in the science classroom:
David and I had a cordial exchange over email, and he explained to me the secular purpose of what he called “The Talk.” I could see where he’s coming from, but I still wouldn’t give my own students “The Talk.”
I’m sure Barash has a “secular purpose” for preaching atheism – to create more Atheists! LOL.
Look, whatever his “secular purpose” rationalization, the ends do not justify the means. Furthermore, given that he feels the need to explain the “secular purpose” behind closed doors, and given his reasoning failed to convince someone as sympathetic as Coyne, we can infer that his “secular purpose” is weak and would not hold up in a court of law.
In the meantime, if you go over to Rate My Professors, it looks like Barash has been abusing his authority for years. Back in 2009, one of his students complained:
He has a clear agenda to push, as he’s always rambling off topic about how biology proves that God doesn’t exist
Normally, one could dismiss such comments as “sour grapes,” but given that Barash has publicly bragged about his agenda in the pages of the NYT, I think we can take this complaint seriously. And it would suggest that Barash does not constrain his atheist evangelism to a “Talk” – he’s always rambling off topic about how biology proves that God doesn’t exist.
Barash is free to share such opinions in a religion or philosophy class, but not in a science class.