I am teaching at a relatively large, public institution in the United States. I have assigned my students a research paper related to the thermodynamics of human biology. I have asked the students for a project summary including several anticipated citations, and one student has included a paper from the journal "Creation Research Society Quarterly" as an anticipated citation.
As far as I can tell, this is a reputable journal in the sense that it is not predatory. However, I'm concerned that the perspective of the journal, including "Fresh perspectives on science and society as impacted by origins" will not be compatible with accepted scientific theories (and here I use theory in the rigorous, scientific sense that means established according to all scientific evidence, rather than in the colloquial sense that means hypotheses). Moreover, the "Statement of Belief" published by the Creation Research Society explicitly states the religious motivations of the organization, whose viewpoints are generally considered incompatible with accepted scientific theory.
I have not read the article that the student intends to cite, so I do not know the information contained within that article and its perspective on the subject required for the assignment. Nevertheless, my general questions are:
Should I encourage this student to seek out alternate sources for this assignment? Before doing this in my specific case, I should obviously read the paper the student will cite, but consider the case that I have read the paper and I am concerned about the scientific validity of the article.
If so, how can I do that without encroaching on his freedom of religious expression?
Finally, how can I fairly grade the scientific content of an assignment that presents a viewpoint opposed to established theories, such as the Theory of Evolution?
(It is not my intention here to begin a discussion on the merits of various hypotheses/theories related to religion and science, and I would note that this question could very easily be posed from the other direction. This is obviously a very complicated and fraught area, and I hope I have not caused offense in my presentation.)