I received an email today that brings up a curious decision by Lund University: they have appointed a new head of the university who seems to have a few bats in the belfry, and there is some concern that they may be rabid. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that this newly appointed head, Per Eriksson, refuses to discuss some of his beliefs, even though these beliefs may well affect his performance on the job.
I’m hampered by the fact that all the news about this selection is in Swedish, and I can’t read a word of it. Here’s the short summary I was sent.
The Lund University board ignored the recommendation of an examination committee consisting of 90 university professors, students, and other concerned parties and appointed a renowned creationist Per Eriksson with strong connections to the Baptist movement in Sweden. When interviewed concerning the appointment the appointed headmaster candidate proudly pronounced publicly that he faithfully consulted his bible on a daily basis. Although religious freedom should be adhered to, the appointed headmaster candidate made a clear and conscious gesture by displaying his biases. The public pronouncement of his personal beliefs may be an indication of how personal convictions may influence and bias the Prof Eriksson’s judgement in his influential position controlling the largest seat of learning in northern europe.
If he is a creationist, this is big trouble, and ought to be grounds for tossing him out on his ear. You cannot properly administer a modern university while simultaneously believing that the science disciplines are fundamentally in error because they do not bow down to your bronze age myths. However, I haven’t yet found anything in which his creationism is made explicit. Mainly, I’m finding news stories where Eriksson is pretty cagey about avoiding any association with the tenets of his church.
For instance, here’s a story in which the science faculty unanimously oppose his appointment (google translation), explaining that he is a member of a pentecostal church which is “connected to the Swedish Baptist community and the Evangelical Free Church”—that’s a nice stew of crazy right there. This is an anti-science church with the stated belief that homosexuality is wrong, but nothing about creationism, other than that they say the bible is literally true.
Anyway, it’s a strange situation. The Lund University board has selected a candidate who was strongly opposed by a committee of university faculty, and who has very suspicious affiliations with pentecostal/fundamentalist/evangelical religion. That’s all I know at this point, but perhaps some of our Scandinavian readers can dig a little deeper than I can and report back.