Can a University Discipline Atheist Professor for Sexual Impropriety?

“To us in Asia, an individual is an ant. To you, he’s a child of God. It is an amazing concept.” — Lee Khan Yew, Senior Minister of Singapore1

Lawrence M. Krauss is a renowned cosmologist and professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including the best-selling The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe From Nothing that includes an Afterword from Richard Dawkins. Krauss is an outspoken atheist, evolutionist, and anti-Christian.

Krauss has stated that “Science is only truly consistent with an atheistic worldview…” I’m sure Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Lister, James Young Simpson, Samuel F.B. Morse, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Werner von Braun, Raymond Damadian (inventor of the MRI), and many other scientists would be surprised to know this since modern scientists stand on the shoulders of these Christian scientists. These same scientists would vehemently disagree with Krauss’ assertion that “teaching creationism to children is child abuse.”

The New York Times is reporting that “Arizona State University has suspended Lawrence M. Krauss, a prominent theoretical physicist, while the university investigates accusations of sexual misconduct over a decade…. BuzzFeed reported that several women have accused Dr. Krauss of inappropriate behavior including groping women and making sexist jokes.”

Please explain to me how it’s appropriate for a university to suspend a professor who believes and teaches that we are accidents of exploding stardust. There are no moral precepts in stardust.

In a talk based on his book A Universe From Nothing, Lawrence M. Krauss said the following:

Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements — the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life — weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.2

This is the most ridiculous thing a scientist of any reputation could make. Neither Krauss nor any other scientist could know such a thing. This is religion, plain and simple, based more on the line “We are stardust, Billion-year-old carbon” from Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” than actual science.

Like Mitchell, who mentions getting “back to the garden,” a reference to creation by a personal God, Krauss rhapsodizes about the poetry of physics. Physics isn’t poetry. Men and women created in the image of God make poetry. Nothing else does. There’s no way to account for either poetry or morality from “the nuclear furnaces of stars.”

Arizona State University does not have a case if they take the teaching of Krauss seriously. Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for Krauss’ evolutionary worldview have no regard for morality. Science is not about morality. The first chemically formed life that supposedly emerged from Charles Darwin’s “warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity … present” had no regard for morality. After reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, Herbert Spencer described “natural selection” more accurately as “the survival of the fittest.”3

Krauss must consider himself fitter than his academic rivals. While he denies many of the charges leveled against him, there is no need for him to do so.

Evolution advances as the strong dominate the weak, and that includes sexual advances. Sex is the means by which genes perpetuate themselves. Krauss should refuse to bow to the hypocrisy. Does Arizona State believe and support what Krauss has been teaching and publishing?

Krauss could bolster his defense with a great cloud of evolutionary witnesses. For example, atheist William Provine (1942-2015), who stated in a debate with Christian author Phillip E. Johnson at Stanford University, April 30, 1994, the following:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.

Krauss could also call on biologist Randy Thornhill and anthropologist Craig T. Palmer, authors of A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion (2000), “which maintains that human males are by nature rapists, murderers, warriors and perpetrators of genocide, and The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of male Violence (1999), in which the authors argue that rape is an adaptation to increase the reproductive success of men who would otherwise have little access to women.”4 Rape was good for evolutionary progress with no consideration of morality. A person’s genes were doing what genes do to propagate the species.

Michael Ruse and E.O Wilson believe that “we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day.” Instead, they claim,

Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence the basis of ethics does not lie in God’s will…. In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding…. Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place.5

Should we trust the evolved brain of monkeys? Charles Darwin didn’t:

With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?6

Those Monkey convictions would include monkey “morality” that would include rape and cannibalism.

Evolution, as taught by Krauss and others and approved by Arizona State University, does not regard sexual harassment, assault, and even rape as moral issues since materialism cannot account for morality. “Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference.” DNA (something that evolution also cannot account for) neither knows nor cares except to advance the genetic makeup of a species forward come hell or high water.

On what basis, then, do officials at Arizona State University believe they are justified in investigating charges of inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature against Dr. Krauss? Certainly not based on materialistic assumptions of evolutionary science. When it comes to morality, rarely does one find a consistent atheist.

Image result for arizona state mottoThe officials at ASU must leave the materialistic confines of evolution and look elsewhere to borrow moral capital. And where is that moral capital found? “[W]ithin the Western tradition [that] follows the pattern set by … religious teachings,” as the evolutionist and atheist James Rachels admits.7 And what is the source of morality in the Western tradition? Christianity.

Arizona’s state motto is Ditat Deus, Latin for “God Enriches,” not Darwin Enriches. If Dr. Krauss has done anything ultimately morally wrong, ASU is going to acknowledge God, and in doing so will undermine the worldview of evolutionary “science.”

  1. He was responding “to the outcry in the West over the sentence of flogging of a certain Michael Fay for vandalism. []
  2. A shorter version of the quotation can be found in his book A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing (New York: Free Press, 2012), 17. []
  3. “This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called ‘natural selection,’ or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.” Principles of Biology (1864): 1:444. []
  4. Denis Alexander, Rebuilding the Matrix: Science and Faith in the 21st Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 369. []
  5. Michael Ruse and E.O Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics” in Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement, ed. J.E. Hutchingson (Orlando: Harcourt and Brace, 1991), 310-311. Also see Michael Ruse, “Evolution Ethics: A Phoenix Arisen,” in Issues in Evolutionary Ethics, ed. Paul Thompson (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995), 225. []
  6. Charles Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, 5 vols. (Boston: Elibron, [1897] 2005), 1:285. []
  7. James Rachels, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 87. []
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