David Hillis, a professor of biology at the University of Texas, was recently going through the list of charities that are approved for state employee donations when one group evidently separated itself from all the rest. This Dallas-based nonprofit group, according to the Austin American-Statesman, is the Institute for Creation Research. According to it's site, the Institute for Creation Research believes "Science strongly supports the Bible’s authority and accuracy” and charitable donations fund research into the subject. Upon learning of this outrage, Hillis garnered the support of many of his fellow University of Texas intellectual elite and demanded that the charity be removed from the list when the oversight committee, known as the State Policy Committee, meets this Friday.
In a quote given to The Statesman, Hillis states, "The Institute for Creation Research is an anti-science organization. They work to undermine the mission of the university and of science in general, and especially the science that is the very basis for health and human services. How could such an organization possibly be listed as a charitable organization to be supported by state employees?"
Now if the donations made to the institute were mandatory withdrawls from the University of Texas' employee's paychecks, Hillis might just have a point. However this is far from the case. The State Employee Charitable Campaign is a system in which all state employees have the option of donating to 1524 different charities of their choosing, if they choose to donate at all. The campaign simplifies donating by allowing the option of drafting the donations directly from the employees pay. Participation is not mandatory, and participants can pick and choose which charities on the list they wish to donate to.
So when Hillis claims that the Institute for Creation might try to undermine the university (specifically his department), he disregards the possible wishes of the other full-time state employees in every line of work, which number more than 284,000. Donating to the institute is merely an option, but it is an option that opposes Hillis' life work and this is unacceptable.
His technical argument is that the charity in no way promotes health and human services, but as the website texaswatchdog.org reports the list is filled with charities in which the health and human services angle is shaky at best. Charities include PETA, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Herbal Medicine Institute, Vegan Outreach and according to the website even "something called Population Connection, working to stabilize population growth to “achieve a sustainable balance of people”. Evidently Hillis has no opposition to any of these groups or how they promote health and human services.
It all boils down to Hillis wanting to restrict the choice of over 284,000 people over an opposing theory which he deems to be garbage. Because, after all, any person of higher learning knows that professors, such as himself, have explained every aspect of the creation of life and man without missing a beat. Henceforth, any research into opposing views is completely unnecessary and Hillis is just saving poor uneducated souls from donating their money as they see fit. Evidently in all of his research, he has discovered that the human brain has not evolved enough to make it's own decisions.
This is not, and should not be an argument for or against evolution or creationism, as it should not be about how anyone views a specific charities' world views. It is about personal choice and people like Hillis who would restrict a person's abilities to give their money to any charitable organization that they deem worthy.