Christofer Bang is a lecturer at Arizona State University who teaches biology and ecology courses. According to his academic profile page, his areas of “expertise” include ecology, evolution and plant biology.
According to news reports last week, Bang mocked biblical creation and Christianity during a lecture in his biology class. A student who wished to remain anonymous shared information on Bang’s lecture with Campus Reform.
According to the student, Bang began his lecture by showing a slide titled “Evolution vs. Creationism.” The slide featured two cartoons—one depicting Charles Darwin with the words “genetics,” “adaption,” and “natural selection,” along with images of an ape-like creature gradually evolving into a man. The other cartoon showed a caricature of Jesus creating a man, with the words “zap!” and “magic!”
Bang reportedly showed the evolution vs. creation slide in his BIO 100 class, which covers basic principles of biology. The student who anonymously captured the picture and sent it to Campus Reform explained that “the actual presentation itself, beyond that slide, didn’t really discuss creationism.”
According to the student, several students thought the slide was inappropriate.
“Quite a few students in the lecture hall were bothered by the picture, and it didn’t contribute to the lecture besides adding spite,” the student said.
Sandy Leander, manager of media relations for ASU’s School of Life Sciences, told Campus Reform that the slide was intended to stimulate discussion about evolution and creation.
“The image you are referring to is on the title page of a [PowerPoint] and sets the stage for a discussion about the extremes of the public discourse on evolution/creationism,” she stated.
Bang describes himself as “an open-minded skeptic” on his Twitter profile. His personal Twitter page features Tweets mocking pro-life groups, Fox News, and various conservative political figures.
On his personal blog, Bang says he tries to cultivate “sound skepticism” in his students.
“In my teaching, I try to engage students using examples from familiar surroundings to increase their awareness of nature,” he states. “We are constantly exposed to examples of bad science in media, so by exposing flaws in ‘sciency’ products I try to teach my students sound skepticism and critical thinking.”
After reports of Bang’s lecture surfaced last week, many people expressed dismay and concern, saying the disparaging of Christianity in a public classroom was grossly inappropriate.
“All the professor needed to do was state the facts about evolution and move on,” one commenter opined. “There’s no need to attack Christianity in the process.”
“Professors’ opinion on religion has no place in the discussion,” another asserted. “Their only stake should be in the presentation of data and facts. Let students draw their own conclusions about how it will interact and intersect with their faith and understanding of their religious doctrine.”
“Instead of ridiculing the absurdity of Christianity, perhaps Professor Bang should learn a little more about the U.S. Constitution, read the Federalist papers, or take a religion class,” a third commenter suggested. “At the very least he could cite a verse from Genesis in his next presentation.”
Photos: Campus Reform