Difference between revisions of "Suppression of alternatives to evolution"

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Revision as of 08:30, 14 November 2007

There exists widespread suppression of creationism and Intelligent Design, ideas which oppose the concept of evolution.

History

Until Charles Darwin popularised the idea of evolution in the middle of the 19th century, most people including the vast majority of scientists were creationists. Over the next 50 to 100 years, however, evolution came to be the ruling paradigm in the biological sciences in particular, and science in general.

In the early 1960s, creationism began a resurgence, followed a few decades later by Intelligent Design. Once these ideas had started to gain a degree of popularity, however, many people, committed to evolutionary thought, began to oppose these competing views of the history of life. (These people generally consider Intelligent Design to be creationism in disguise, although there are significant differences between the two ideas.)

However, this opposition has not been merely academic debate of the merits of the competing ideas, but a concerted effort to suppress creationism and Intelligent Design. This opposition has included keeping the ideas out of the education system and marginalising or ridiculing the ideas in the mass media.

It appears from various reports reaching this office, that a trend is developing in the halls of Academe … that Liberalism’s great contribution to American education, namely “Academic Freedom” has become a victim of incest, having been raped by its own sires … . [A] former Louisiana State Senator … said instances [of] … pro-creationism professors and teachers … being dismissed have begun to proliferate in the past ten years … highly-qualified educators denied tenure or otherwise discriminated against simply because they hold views or engage in activities which oppose the tenets of … [evolutionism].[1]

The movie Expelled by Ben Stein and due for release in February 2008 is being promoted as exposing the suppression of alternatives to evolution.

Ideology

The motivation for suppressing views opposed to evolution includes anti-theistic ideologies.

Richard Lewontin:
We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.[2]

Vilification

Anti-creationists have often openly vilified creation and creationists:

  • Isaac Asimov said that all "creationists are stupid, lying people who are not to be trusted in any way." and tat all of their "points are equally stupid, except where the creationists are outrightly lying."[3]
  • Richard Dawkins said that anyone rejecting evolution is "ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked—but I’d rather not consider that)"[4]

Cases of suppression

Employment affected

In many cases, individuals have been fired, threatened with being fired, demoted, moved, or not employed.

Lloyd Dale

Lloyd Dale was an award-winning and highly-qualified high school teacher in South Dakota who was fired in 1980 for teaching about both evolution and creation.[5]

Forrest Mims

Forrest Mims III is a science writer who, by 1990, had seen more than 500 of his articles published in 62 newspapers and magazines.

Science magazine Scientific American invited him to submit some articles for their Amateur Scientist column, and the expectation was that these would lead on to a permanent job.

The articles were published in 1990, and the editor described Mims' work as "first rate", but when he discovered that Mims was a creationists, Mims was denied further work with the magazine.[6]

Court challenges

Bibliography

Notes

  1. Haney, K., Academic freedom’s double standard, Christian Times, p. 4, 28 June 1985, quoted by Bergman, 1995.
  2. Lewontin, Richard, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997, quoted in Amazing admission, Creation 20(3):24, June 1998.
  3. Asimov, L., Is Big Brother watching? The Humanist 44(4):6–10, 1984, quoted by Bergman, 2005
  4. Barnes, 2007
  5. Bergman, 1986, p.61.
  6. Anon., 1991.