The following is one of my many biography posts. I am recording them in part for my kids in the distant future. But I try to make them relevant to my blog. This one discusses my commitment to the teaching of Evolution and how some aspects of religion have a stranglehold on America.
I am a huge, non-apologetic, evangelical evolutionist and have paid the price for my outspoken nature. I use to be a professor in a graduate school Physician Assistant program where evolution helped me loose my job.
One day I was called into the program director’s office. He said, “Sabio, we have some complaints about you teaching evolution.” “Wow,” I thought, “that was an abrupt opening. I wonder what he is talking about.” So I responded, “Sorry, who complained and what was their complaint?”
“Well, Sabio,” he said in a serious tone, “we have many Christian students and they say you often emphatically push the lecture unnecessarily into discussing the evolutionary mechanisms involved in physiology and disease states.”
I thought for a second and said, “Well, I don’t talk about evolution unless it is pertinent to the lecture but the thing is, evolution is often very pertinent to medicine. To truly understand disease, you need to understand evolution. Why did you have me teach the genetics course if you didn’t want me to discuss evolution?”
“Yes, I agree that evolution happens, but the head of the biology department has been a professor here for 30 years and he is a creationist Christian. Students have been going to him complaining about your course. He says you can teach genetics without pushing the theory of evolution.”
I was startled! I thought for a while. Our department head was a very political animal and cared far more about his status than he cared about truth, so I knew I had to weigh my words. But alas, I didn’t. “I will be judicious in my discussion about evolution, but I am sorry, I will continue to speak about evolution when appropriate unless you outright forbid me to, in which case I will make a complaint to the Dean of the school.”
My boss looked at me with surprise and anger — I guess he had not anticipated that response.
Four months later, I caught my boss [the department head] and other faculty helping students cheat on tests and would not support the cover-up. In retaliation, my boss asked the Dean to fire me. The Dean called me in to his office and said, “Sabio, your chairman wants me to fire you and he is making up reasons to make it happen.” He showed me, in confidentiality, the letter he received from my boss. It charged me with not being a team player, confusing the students in the way I taught alternative medicine and turning students against the faculty. After I read it, he said, “I know these are all lies, the students tell me they love you and you reviews to date are impecable. You are an incredibly good teacher and a huge asslet to the school. I will not fire you. But I must tell you that you will never get tenure in that department — they will obstruct you the whole way. So I’d like to offer you a job in the philosophy department.”
I was surprised. He was right, when it came to a tenure vote. But I had never finished my Ph.D. in philosophy and I did not want to be resented by teachers in the Philosophy department if I was brought in under these circumstances. Besides, I liked teaching medicine. So I thanked him for his kindness and support and told him I had actually already realized that tenure would not happen and had been looking for another teaching job and had found one. He asked if I could finish out the school year (another 6 months) and I agreed to. He said he was sorry to see me go.
Funny thing was, the Dean was a Mormon and all three Mormon students I had over the last three years in my classes had spoken very well of me to him. I guess they never minded the evolution issues and weren’t “confused” by the way I presented alternative medicine.
BTW, not only did I teach “Medical Genetics” in our program, but I also taught “Medical Research” and “Alternative Medicine” — all of these at the request of the department.
Other related posts: My Alternative Medicine Posts