Friday, November 11, 2005

The Darwin Police

A scientist who publishes a relatively obscure scientific journal has been getting harassed by the Smithsonian because of a peer reviewed article on Intelligent Design (ID) he published in the journal.

      Last year, he published in the journal a peer-reviewed article by Stephen Meyer, a proponent of intelligent design, an idea which Sternberg himself believes is fatally flawed.

      "Why publish it?" Sternberg says. "Because evolutionary biologists are thinking about this. So I thought that by putting this on the table, there could be some reasoned discourse. That's what I thought, and I was dead wrong."

Sternberg files an account with the US Office of Special Council because he was afraid of reprisals.

      (Special Council James) McVay declined an interview. But in a letter to Sternberg, he wrote that officials at the Smithsonian worked with the National Center for Science Education -- a group that opposes intelligent design -- and outlined "a strategy to have you investigated and discredited." Retaliation came in many forms, the letter said. They took away his master key and access to research materials. They spread rumors that Sternberg was not really a scientist. He has two Ph.D.'s in biology -- from Binghamton University and Florida International University. In short, McVay found a hostile work environment based on religious and political discrimination.

I’m not really surprised by this.  I’ve been hearing and reading reports of this sort of thing in Universities and other aspects of academia.  Opponents of ID want you to believe that people holding that worldview are religious luddites, but their actions betray their inability to confront the theory of ID in an intelligent manner.  Since this is NPR doing the reporting, I wasn’t surprised to see this sort of statement:

      The Sternberg case is probably the best-documented battle in the war between the vast majority of scientists and a tiny insurgency promoting intelligent design.

Ruining an otherwise good piece of journalism.
So, what other group of people do left leaning media types refer to as “insurgents?”  The bottom two paragraphs of the article do their best to paint the ID movement as a micro fraction of the scientific community, while the truth is that there are a great many Christians and religious people in the scientific arena, and the proportion of those who at lease take ID seriously are greater than NPR would like you to believe by using descriptive terms such as “tiny” for ID proponents and “vast majority” for ID opponents.

Hat tip Instapundit.

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