form_srcid: Ben Franklin
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|Date: 2007/12/14 13:31:16, Link|
|Author: Ben Franklin|
I was posting on the expelled site, but my posts were considered "pathetic", so I figured that this was the place to come.
Let’s take a closer look at those who wrote in to the Shout Out section on the expelled website claiming to have been “expelled”.
Of the 43 postings (only 42 now, cos’s entry seems to have mysteriously vanished), there are 6 claiming to have been fired, or forced to resign. I think this is relevant, and will be discussed later.
Sixteen posts claim to have been denied something: Tenure (3), tuition/scholarship (2), membership at church (1), participating at a website (5) (note- 80% of those were banned from ID sites), a potential future as an academician (1), a potential future as a football player (1), publication (2) (note- both were later published), and that a library refused a subscription to an unnamed journal (1).
Eleven posts claim to have been not expelled, but mocked. These are some of my favorites. Sorry, but anyone who considers Kent Hovind a scientist deserves all the mocking one can muster.
Nine additional posts were from creationists who didn’t claim to have been fired, or denied something, but they just seem pi$$ed off that their creationist claims weren’t taken seriously enough for them, i.e. “my creation club challenged the high school science teachers to a debate and they refused.” And “everytime I talk about Creation Science my teacher makes me feel stupid”. Is this mocking? OK, it probably is.
One post was just a letter cautioning ID proponents to remain anonymous.
Here are some of my thoughts, and I would certainly entertain civil arguments and debate regarding them-
A great part of the problem we face here is - why does “Expelled” and the ID movement in general, while trying to make the case that “’Big Science’ has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom”, not distanced itself from the dumb, old, completely disproved ideas of literal biblical creation and a 6,000 year old earth? Does anyone think that Michael Behe will abandon all his research because Ken Ham says “You can’t prove anything, YOU WEREN’T THERE!”?
Simply put, that move would alienate way too much of the populist base the ID movement is trying to rouse into social and political action. Take for example, Don McLeroy, new chairman of the Texas State Board of Education. As is evidenced by this sermon that he delivered at his church about ID:
This man is clearly an inerrant bible literalist, who believes in a 6,000 year old earth, which was created in 6 - 24 hour days, and covered by a global flood, from which Noah, his kin and the animals on the ark were the only survivors, and from whom all animal life on this planet came to exist. Now, under it’s “big tent” philosophy, the ID movement is OK with having young earth creationists as supporters, and young earth creationists, for some reason that I don’t quite understand, are OK with the ID movement as well.
But will Don McLeroy be satisfied with Texas schools teaching science classes containing information that Michael Behe has publicly stated he adheres to – namely common descent and a 4.5 billion year old earth? I don’t think so.
I don’t think creationists like McLeroy will be happy until the book of Genesis is substituted for the textbooks currently in use in Texas science classrooms.
So, I don’t think that it’s possible for the ID movement to ever achieve the slightest legitimacy within the scientific or academic communities until it at least separates the science wheat from the creationist chaff, which, I am sure it is loathe to do because, as stated previously, it would alienate too many of its major financial contributors, and its most powerful and politically influential supporters.
Now, let’s revisit the “expelled”. The first thing that concerns me is that we are only hearing one side of the story, and in cases like these there are always at least two sides to be heard, although I feel confident in saying, based on pre-release info and interviews that when Expelled is released, the movie will also be decidedly one-sided.
But, six individuals have posted that they either lost their jobs, or were forced to resign because of intolerance. Of those, one was a musician for a church, who was asked to leave because he taught a song whose lyrics questioned some church doctrine. If true, this is certainly intolerant of the church, but clearly, it has been upheld, that some organizations, even when using Federal funds, may discriminate in their hiring decisions.
Another was a Sunday school teacher who claims he was forced to resign because he didn’t want to keep to the church’s “vague” lesson plan on creation. If true, then, again, intolerant of the church, but certainly within their purview to have taught what they desired to have taught.
The remaining four are Jerald, Ross, Jerry and Christopher.
Jerry claims he was fired because of his anti- Darwinist views at a Spring Arbor University, which is an evangelical Protestant school. He indicates that he was fired due to his doubts about Darwinism even though the President and Vice President of the school were openly creationist, although he does state in his post that he also experienced antagonism from “dogmatic Darwinists” at the previous University he taught at, Bowing Green State University in Ohio. Jerry taught psychology, not any field remotely related to evolution. It seems to me that something is missing from this story. How pi$$ed off could he have gotten the faculty of the biology department for them to have them call for his ouster? How does it serve “big science” to have him expelled?
Christopher was a teaching assistant who claims he was “let go for what he held to be true”. He also states “I also invited others (creationists) to come and speak with me about the issue during my Teaching Assistant time. … not a smart thing to do”. What is the moral here? Whatever you believe, when you are paid to do a job, if you don’t do the job, your employment is, as it should be, in jeopardy!
Jerald and Ross both claim to have been fired for their non-Darwinian views. If their stories are true and complete, it would seem they were treated unfairly.
Where does this leave us? Is there discrimination in our society? Undoubtedly,yes. Is there some discrimination amongst scientists and academicians? Again, yes. Are some scientists (and bloggers) hard-headed and unwilling to accept new concepts and ideas? Sure. But is this the major conspiracy Expelled claims it to be? Decidedly, NO. Just as the Discovery Institute’s constant assertion that evolution is a theory in crisis, so too the claim that ID proponents are being silenced is vastly overblown.
What can the ID movement do to gain credibility? First, state clearly what ID is, and what it is not. If the scientific heavy hitters of ID (Behe, Dembski, Denton, etc) all feel comfortable with an old earth, (I’m not aware of any of them who don’t) and some of them endorse elements of common descent, and speciation, let that be brought forth.
Second, come up with some valid research that isn’t 20 years outdated (Denton), or completely invalidated (irreducible complexity), and submit it for unbiased peer review.
But, as I contend that the ID movement is first and foremost a political and Dominionist Christian protagonist, the real science will always take a distant back seat.