Saturday, May 26, 2007

Intelligent Design and academic freedom, part 2

How many unborn toddlers were murdered today because of the humanistic, paganish decisions of the United States Supreme Court?

Stop the
Murder of

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4: 17 (NIV)

On my last post, I wrote the following: I have just begun reading The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. I’m not a particular fan of the concept of Intelligent Design for one obvious reason—it does not specifically give praise, glory, and honor to GOD for HIS creation. On the front cover of the book, the following is printed:
“You think you know about Darwinism and Intelligent Design. But did you know:
1) The famous ‘ape to man’ species chart is based on guesswork, not evidence
2) Intelligent design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief
3) What many public schools teach about Darwinism is based on known falsehoods
4) Scientists at major universities see good evidence for intelligent design
5) Scientists who question Darwinism are punished—by public institutions using your tax dollars” (The numbering of the five “did you know” were by my addition) The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., Regnery Publishing, Inc., One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20001, © 2006, front cover.

This is certain: Intelligent Design is correct in that it argues that creation and man demonstrates design and that design requires intelligence. The problem, of course, is that the concept does not define the designer as GOD. Thus, Intelligence Design is correct but incomplete. That, of course, is certainly better than the nonsensical, unscientific concept of Darwin’s slime to man. Certainly, the best explanation is GOD CREATED as specifically declared in the WORD of GOD throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

I recently received my latest edition of World magazine, May 26, 2007. A short article on page 24 was entitled “Publish and perish” with the subheading “Iowa State denies tenure to an intelligent design advocate with impeccable credentials.” The article was written by Mark Bergin. I don’t think you will find another article in the mass media magazines covering this same story. I certainly did not see a newspaper story about it. Since one of the points quoted above was “Scientists who question Darwinism are punished—by public institutions using your tax dollars” and since Iowa State is one such public institution, I thought I would quote the article in its entirety. Here it is:

“Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez never anticipated becoming a test case for academic freedom. Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, the self-described ‘geek-scientist’ is heralded throughout his field for developing the concept of a Galactic Habitable Zone. Journals such as Nature, Science, and Scientific American have featured his work.”

Tonight, I originally planned on updating a list of references I had posted earlier in relation to creation. Besides reading The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel, I have read Refuting Evolution 2 by Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D., with Mike Matthews and, as I’ve said, am now reading The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. although I am just on page 37 currently. I had thumbed through Refuting Evolution 2 for references and was thumbing through The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design when I came across a section dealing with Guillermo Gonzalez and his situation before his denial of tenure which was mentioned in the World article.

Here is a portion of what was said in The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design concerning the Gonzalez case:

“Soon after Gonzalez and Richards published The Privileged Planet, Illustra Media produced a one-hour film based on the book. In October 2004, the film premiered to a standing-room-only crowd at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

The Discovery Institute in Seattle (with which Gonzalez and Richards were both affiliated) then approached the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. to arrange a showing there. The NMNH—the same organization that persecuted Richard Sternberg for publishing an article about intelligent design—routinely makes its auditorium available to outside groups in exchange for a donation. Following standard procedure, NMNH staff reviewed the film to make sure it complied with the museum’s policy excluding events of a religious nature. In April 2005, the NMNH agreed to co-sponsor a showing of The Privileged Planet on June 23, in exchange for a $16,000 donation from the Discovery Institute. In May, invitations were sent to several hundred people in North America announcing: ‘The director of the National Museum of Natural History and Discovery Institute cordially invite you to the national premiere and evening reception of The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe.’

When Darwinists learned of the upcoming event, they went ballistic. Their internet blogs, bristling with indignation, urged readers to send protests to the Smithsonian. The New York Times announced: ‘Smithsonian to Screen a Movie that Makes a Case Against Evolution.’ Yet the film (like the book) is compatible with cosmic evolution, and it says nothing about biological evolution.

After being hammered by enraged Darwinists the Smithsonian threw in the towel. Lucy Dorrick, associate director for development and special events at the NMNH, wrote to the Discovery Institute: ‘Upon further review, the Museum has determined that the content of the film is not consistent with the mission of the Smithsonian Institution’s scientific research.’ NMNH spokesman Randall Kremer told The Scientist: ‘The scientific content for the most part is accurate,’ but ‘the science is used to draw a philosophical conclusion.’

Discovery Institute’s Jonathan Witt pointed out that the Smithsonian had had no problem sponsoring ‘Cosmos Revisited: A Series Presented in the Memory of Carl Sagan’ in 1997. ‘Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ series,’ noted Witt, ‘is famous for its opening dictum, ‘The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.’ Why didn’t the Smithsonian have a problem promoting this little philosophical flourish?’ Witt concluded: ‘The Smithsonian has been given over lock, stock, and barrel, to Sagan’s metaphysical vision for decades. The one difference now is that they’re explicitly stating that not only do they privilege Sagan’s materialist metaphysic, they will block any scientific argument that suggests a contrary conclusion.’

But the Smithsonian had already signed a contract for the event. ‘Due to this fact,’ wrote Dorrick, ‘we will, of course, honor the commitment made to provide space for the event to the Discovery Institute, but the museum will not participate or accept a donation for the event.’ The NMNH returned $11,000 of the $16,000 donation to the Discovery Institute, keeping $5,000 for expenses.

The event itself was a huge success. On June 23, 2005, a capacity crowd filled the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium. Afterwards, Gonzalez and Richards answered questions from scientists, students, journalists, and legislators, then hosted a reception in the museum’s Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals.

The controversy also had its lighter moments. When he first heard of it at the end of May, atheist James Randi offered to pay the NMNH $20,000 to cancel the event. Randi’s clumsy attempt to bribe the Smithsonian to censor the film amused mathematician David Berlinski, a critic of Darwinism and fellow of the Discovery Institute living in Paris. Berlinski wrote to Randi and threatened, tongue in check, to show The Privileged Planet in Europe unless Randi also paid him $20,000. For ‘the right price’ Berlinski said, the Discovery Institute would make sure the film ‘disappeared itself, if you catch my drift. You get to keep the negatives, we keep the director’s cut in our safe for insurance. Is this some sort of deal, or what?’

Randi did not respond.

In 2001, Guillermo Gonzalez had left his postdoctoral research position at the University of Washington to take a job as an assistant professor of astronomy and physics at Iowa State University. Things were going well there until the June 2005 screening of The Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian.

Soon after the Smithsonian event, Iowa State professor Hector Avalos circulated a faculty petition to ‘reject all attempts to represent intelligent design as a scientific endeavor.’ The petition, which was signed by nearly 120 Iowa State professors, criticized ‘advocates of intelligent design’ for claiming that ‘the position of our planet and the complexity of particular life forms and processes are such that they may only be explained by the existence of a creator or designer of the universe.’ Within a few weeks, many faculty members at the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa had also signed the petition.

‘We want to make sure the public and the university start to voice their opposition to intelligent design,’ Avalos told the Iowa State Daily. He also told the Chronicle of Higher Education: ‘We certainly don’t want to give the impression to the public that intelligent design is what we do.’ And he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: ‘A lot of people were concerned that Iowa State could become a place being marketed where intelligent design research was taking place and that it had some validity in school curricula.’

Although the petition did not mention Gonzalez by name, it was obviously aimed at him. Yet he has never taught intelligent design in his classes. He does assert that ‘it properly falls within science’ because its methods are scientific and it does not start with religious assumptions, but he also considers it too new and controversial to teach without the support of his astronomy colleagues. Like Michael Behe and Scott Minnich, Gonzalez defends intelligent design only outside the classroom, on his own time. Yet he, like Behe and Minnich, is condemned by colleagues who in other situations boast about their commitment to academic freedom. (Academic freedom as long as it is academics that they support. It is the same attitude found in the tolerance movement. Tolerance for everything that they are tolerant of; no tolerance for anything they disagree with. So much for both tolerance and academic freedom!!!—my addition)

Avalos accuses Gonzalez of having a hidden religious agenda. Others have accused him of academic fraud. ‘I didn’t expect this level of vitriol, this level of intense hostility,’ Gonzalez told the Des Moines Register. At the University of Iowa, about a hundred miles east of Iowa State, physics professor Frederick Skiff agreed to discuss intelligent design in a campus forum with three Darwinists. Skiff was ridiculed and insulted, and he was given very little time to respond. (The usual tactic by people who can not defend the indefensible. Take control by insult and injury rather than by the weight of the facts.—my addition) ‘I have never faced such blatant hostility and dishonesty at the hands of colleagues before,’ he said afterward.

Someone unfamiliar with Iowa State might think that Avalos is a scientist—perhaps, like Gonzalez, a physicist or astronomer—concerned with defending the integrity of his discipline from attacks by religious fundamentalists. But Hector Avalos is a professor of religion! In this bizarre drama, it is the scientist who is arguing for design in the universe, and the religious professor who is trying to silence him. The irony was not lost on Iowa State sociology professor Davis Schweingruber, who wrote to a local newspaper: ‘What is Avalos’ objection to Gonzalez’s work? He told the Des Moines Register that he knows ID is religion and not science because ‘I’m a Biblical scholar,’ So Iowa State has one thing in common with unaccredited Bible colleges and medieval heresy tribunals: Our Bible scholars think they can tell our astronomers how to do their jobs.’ Schweingruber concluded: ‘A witch hunt is a poor model for scientific inquiry.’

But the irony doesn’t stop there. Religion professor Hector Avalos is a militant atheist. He is the founder and faculty advisor of the Iowa State University Atheist and Agnostic Society, which ‘is intended to provide an educational and support system for students who believe that one can live a fulfilling, productive, and ethical life without religion.’ (And they can. If they redefine fulfilling, productive, and ethical to suit their humanistic desires.—my addition) So Iowa taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year on an institution that entrusts the teaching of religion to someone who tells students they’re better off without it—and who thinks it’s his job to tell an astronomer how to do science. (Not, at all, hard to believe. What is hard to believe is that we allow this nonsense to go on in almost total silence!—my addition)

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., Regnery Publishing, Inc., One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20001, © 2006, pages 124-129.

Again, it must be asked. Where is the academic freedom that academics claim is so important for learning? If there were real academic freedom, wouldn’t academics push for a plethora of views, rather than only one, attempting to stimulate discussion and honest intellectual debate? What are they afraid of? THE TRUTH!!!


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