Skip to comments.Unintelligent Design Hostility toward religious believers at the nation’s museum
Posted on 08/18/2005 10:36:33 PM PDT by dervish
The Smithsonian Institution is a national treasure of which every American can legitimately feel a sense of personal ownership. Considering this, I'd imagine widespread displeasure as more Americans become aware that senior scientists at the publicly funded Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History have reportedly been creating a "hostile work environment" for one of their colleagues merely because he published a controversial idea in a biology journal.
The controversial idea is Intelligent Design, the scientific critique of neo-Darwinism. The persecuted Smithsonian scientist is Richard von Sternberg, the holder of two PhDs in biology (one in theoretical biology, the other in molecular evolution). While the Smithsonian disputes the case, Sternberg's version has so far been substantiated in an investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent federal agency.
A lengthy and detailed letter from OSC attorney James McVay, dated August 5, 2005, and addressed to Sternberg, summarizes the government's findings, based largely on e-mail traffic among top Smithsonian scientists. A particularly damning passage in the OSC letter reads:
Our preliminary investigation indicates that retaliation [against Sternberg by his colleagues] came in many forms. It came in the form of attempts to change your working conditions...During the process you were personally investigated and your professional competence was attacked. Misinformation was disseminated throughout the SI [Smithsonian Institution] and to outside sources. The allegations against you were later determined to be false. It is also clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the SI. Meanwhile, on the basis of the "misinformation" directed against him, Sternberg's career prospects were being ruined.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
Does censorship belong in science?
> Does censorship belong in science?
No, but then again neither does superstitious claptrap like ID. Consequently, "censorship" in this area is like an observatory "censoring" papers on astrology.
Sure. We censor things all the time.
Try to get a grant for a perpetual motion machine?
Or, better yet, for researching the demon theory of mental illness.
The Shell Game of Evolution and Creation
by Hugh Ross, Ph. D.
The many debates, court cases, letters to the editor, and talk shows on the subject of evolution and creation almost without exception demonstrate the shell game played with the terms creationism, evolution, science, religion, and faith. The game usually begins with a statement that evolution is a proven fact. Next, this claim is established by the presentation of voluminous evidence from the physical sciences and the fossil record for changes in the universe, the earth, and the forms of life on the earth over the course of the last several billion years. Therefore, it is then claimed (or implied) that the theory that lifeforms developed out of some kind of primordial soup and changed through strictly natural processes into more and more advanced species is unquestionably correct.
At some point in the game, creation is defined as adherence to Archbishop Ussher's chronology for the Bible-the claim that God must have created the universe and everything within it in the last 6,000 years or so. Then, more evidences are presented to show the ridiculousness of the 6,000-year time-scale. Finally, the reader is told (condescendingly) that he is free to believe in creation, if he insists, as an act of faith, but that our schools and educators must confine themselves to the facts. Meanwhile, we should exercise the tolerance to grant churches the freedom to teach their religious myths, but only to their own constituency, not to society at large.
What is the result of these shell games? Only one view may be presented to society at large: atheistic materialism (which is, by the way, a religion of sorts).
As an astronomer, educator, and evangelical minister, I concur that the normal physical science definition for evolution is well establishedthings do change with respect to time and in some cases over a time-scale of billions of years. Incidentally, this fact can be established not just from the scientific record but also from the Bible. The first chapter of Genesis is set up as a chronology documenting how God changed the world over six specific time periods. A literal and consistent reading of the Bible, taking into account all its statements on creation, makes clear that the Genesis creation days cannot possibly be six consecutive 24-hour days. They must be six lengthy epochs. Ussher's chronology represents faulty exegesis, as many Bible scholars affirm.
It is the common life science definition for evolution that must be questionedthe hypothesis that all the changes that take place in lifeforms, both in the present and the past, are by strictly natural processes. For the lifeforms of the present era, I would agree. We do see natural selection and mutational advance at work within some species. But, as biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich report, "The production of a new animal species in nature has yet to be documented. In the vast majority of cases, the rate of change is so slow that it has not even been possible to detect an increase in the amount of differentiation."
At the same time, as the Ehrlichs also point out, we are witnessing an extinction rate of about one species per hour. Even if the human activity factors are removed, one is still left with an extinction rate of at least one species every year. Yet, the fossil record reveals millennia of both a high extinction rate and a high speciation rate. The Bible offers a solution to the enigma. We are now in God's seventh day of rest; He has ceased from making new creatures. For six days (as seen in the fossil record), God created. On the seventh day (the present era), He rested.
Since the 1986 Origin of Life Conference in Berkeley, the primordial soup hypothesis has been acknowledged by many leading scientists as utterly lacking in factual support. Even the self-proclaimed atheist Robert Shapiro, professor of chemistry at New York University, proclaims that no natural explanation for the origin of life exists. Interested readers may want to check out his book, Origins: A Skeptics Guide to the Origin of Life on Planet Earth (New York: Summit Books, 1986). An extensive bibliography on this subject is available from the organization I work for, Reasons To Believe.
Science is never religiously neutral. Science deals with cause and effect. Unless one makes the dogmatic presupposition that causes can only be natural, it must be said that causes can be either natural or supernatural. In the case of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the appearance of most, if not all, new species, science can show us no natural causes. In the case of the universe, direct proof now exists that the cause, or causer, must transcend matter, energy, length, width, height, and time. In other words, the causer must be supernatural.
Similarly, faith is never scientifically neutral. It can dogmatically presuppose that natural processes had no part in creation. The New Testament, however, defines faith as belief and action based on established facts. The established facts, for example, tell us that stars, like raindrops, evolve under natural processes. As a physicist, I have never seen a fundamental particle called a neutrino. But I have faith in its existence and act accordingly because of certain well-established facts. As a Christian, I have never seen God. But I have faith in His existence and act accordingly because of certain well established facts.
This kind of stuff just cracks me up.
The "Intelligent Design" folks have been loudly proclaiming for years now that they're not "really" creationists, and they're not "really" trying to get religion into schools, they're just an "alternate scientific hypothesis", and the (unnamed, unspecified) "designer(s)" might well be space aliens or who-knows-what.
...but look at an "IDer" the wrong way, or reject an "ID" paper as poor science, or give a hard time to someone who lets a shoddy "ID" article get published, and suddenly they all yell, "RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!!"
Gosh, guys, I thought ID wasn't *about* religion...
Thanks for that post. The questions I want answered cannot be answered by evolution or science, which leads me to the same inescapable conclusions so eloquently described by you.
And there is a huge Amen corner right here on FR for this sort of thuggery.
It's pathetic and harms real sceintists and biologists.
Perhaps you missed this in the article:
"One disturbing element in the affair concerns Sternberg's allegations that his supervisor, Zoology Department chairman Jonathan Coddington, called around the museum to check out Sternberg's religious and political affiliations. "
Who made it about religion?
The creationists did.
Richard von Sternberg, the holder of two PhDs in biology (one in theoretical biology, the other in molecular evolution).
"The article was "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," by Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge University PhD in the philosophy of biology. He's currently a senior fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute. In the essay, Meyer reviewed the work of scientists around the world at places like Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, and the University of Chicago who have cast doubt on whether Darwinian evolution can explain the sudden infusion of genetic "information" and the resulting explosion of between 19 and 34 new animal phyla (body plans) about 530 million years ago the Cambrian Explosion.
Hows many PhD's do you have? These are scientists from notable universities around the world.
The "theory" of evolution may yet go the way of the following other iron clad science of its day:
More to the point, what are these guys so afraid of. Supression is not Debunking.
Lying about your fellow Freepers only harms your own credibility.
But you must be used to that by now.
"Only one view may be presented to society at large: atheistic materialism (which is, by the way, a religion of sorts). "
I agree. The heirs to the supressors of Galileo are now the secular fundamentalists.
Your first comment here is representative.
I have enough knowledge to spot the fallacies in Meyer's paper, including the ways in which he has misrepresented a numbef of the scientists he claimed as "support".
The "theory" of evolution may yet go the way of the following other iron clad science of its day
Dream on. For the past 150 years, evolutionary biology has only gotten stronger and stronger, as ever larger mountains of evidence, along growing numbers of lines of independent confirmation, have continued to strengthen the validity of the theory.
More to the point, what are these guys so afraid of.
What they're concerned about (not "afraid of") is the way in which creationist pseudoscience has used organized propaganda campaigns in order to undermine legitimate science, and sow dishonest confusion and doubt among the public and students about large numbers of fields of science. This is the kind of road that the Soviet Union went down when it embraced Lysenkoism, which led enormous human suffering and death.
Of course you do -- your delusions and fixations are well known.
Your first comment here is representative.
...and not a hint of "thuggery" in it anywhere. Amusement is not thuggery, son.
Try again when you're less paranoid.
Oh, complete horse manure. Try that ridiculous charge again if scientists ever get around to arresting someone for "heresy". Until then, burnings at the stake, inquisitions, arrests for violating dogma, and all that are still the province of the fanatics of the religious variety, including using force of law to outlaw the teaching of evolution in years not-too-distantly past. And you know very well that many would still like to do the same today, if they thought they could get away with it.
"For the past 150 years, evolutionary biology has only gotten stronger and stronger"
"What they're concerned about (not "afraid of") is the way in which creationist pseudoscience has used organized propaganda campaigns in order to undermine legitimate science, and sow dishonest confusion and doubt among the public and students about large numbers of fields of science. This is the kind of road that the Soviet Union went down when it embraced Lysenkoism, which led enormous human suffering and death"
You have contradicted yourself -- is evolution theory getting "stronger and stronger" or is it in danger of being undermined by second rate misrepresentors with little science to back them up? You can't have it both ways.
Second, the practical applications of evolution such as genetic modification, evolving resistance, etc. can be accepted by all without ever reaching the concept of a Prime Mover.
It is the religion of secularism that insists on putting its stamp of closed on that one. Further my point is that a closed mind is dangerous from whichever direction it comes.
If Meyer's article was so faulty why wasn't that the subject of the criticism and rebuke?
You play light and loose with someone else's job.
The modern day academic equivalent of Galileo's heresy was the job harassment Dr. von Sternberg got. Sorry, we don't burn at the stake today.
If the doctor worked in Political Science and espoused conservative views for which he was then harassed, would you feel the same way?
This article is pretty close to that, what happened to this fellow and he is not even an advocate of "Intelligent Design."
His great sin was apparently not working hard enough to suppress the heresy.
What you don't understand is that science is not religion and your religious fanatcism is as detrimental, or more accurately trivial and superfluous, as the heretics you live to, and love to, battle.
There are you religious fanatics like you arguing about how many angels dance on the head of a pin. You say 13, they say 14. So one guy in the 14 camp lets one of the heretics write 14 angels can dance on a pin in an obscure and unimportant magazine that usually only publishes from the 13 view and the 13 camp decides to blackball him and destroy his livlihood.
It's all so pathetic. It reminds of libertarians, Ann Rand worshippers and also Cindy Sheehan type freaks.
And there are those who are actually study the pins and learn and discover things. Look in to it.
If someone who doubts evolution dared respond that the system is prejudiced to prevent such publication, the snickers began. As can be clearly seen in this case, that prejudice not only exists, but exists and is acted upon with academic/scientific brutality. The evolutionists set out with clear intent of a career assasination of this man, and he's not even an ID proponent. He was simply the overseer of a magazine who, after the article was reviewed and deemed fit for publication by renowned scientists, dared to let those evil words of dissent be printed.
The reaction he encountered is of course identical to what we see playing out on the issue from the non-scientist evolutionists, as well. A tiny sticker hidden in the front of a textbook must be shut down. A thirty-second statement designed to be read in a class room must be silenced. Any deviation at all from the Darwin Dogma must be crushed quickly and without mercy.
Back to the world of scientific publishing for a moment, there is no reason at all to believe that the attitudes uncovered here are somehow magically isolated to the Smithsonian. In fact, it's a total and utter violation of common sense to believe such a thing. It's starkly clear, and has been for a long time to many of us, that dissent is not welcome, indeed not tolerated. To even entertain the notion that evolutionists have it wrong is career suicide for the vast majority of scientists. Thus they keep their mouths shut, no matter what they believe, and the facade/lie of virtual unanimity is preserved.
Thankfully, more are speaking out and this is a welcome case of fighting back against the ridiculous scientific tyranny that has existed around this issue for so very long. As I've pointed out before, if evolution (as commonly taught) were a truly defensible theory, its proponents would welcome the opportunity to publicly humiliate the other side through plain old debate and discussion of the issues. It's not, so they behave exactly the way liberals behave regarding race or any other sensitive issue: Shout down the opposition, make them out to be fools for daring to offer up their ludicrous thoughts. Chuckle, chortle, and point, so the rubes will slink quietly away and think long and hard before daring to open their mouths again. If that doesn't work, scorch the very Earth they walk on.
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