“If they value their careers, they should keep quiet about their intelligent design views”- What Abuses in the Scientific Community Tell Us About Science And Our Souls

Often when trying to share something new, it involves challenging something old. In the case of science now pointing more to God than random processes, to design instead of Darwinism,[1] many have a hard time even considering that this could be true. People typically aren’t interested in the evidence surrounding such a claim because Darwinism has built such strong trenches around their epistemology. They reason that if anything even remotely like this was true, the scientific community would readily agree and grant everyone their rightful prizes. But is this necessarily true? In fact, it’s patently not. Many scientists in recent years have seen the wrath of the “consensus” when trying to either offer sound critique of Darwin’s ideas or highlight how God’s Hand appears to be very evident within the natural world; the necessary conclusion to their observations. Aside from discussing the false supposition that science cannot include talk of God, I felt it important to highlight what kind of reactions are occurring in the academic community when scientists want to offer alternative opinions. This discussion is important not merely for science, but because it highlights much deeper issues contained within the human psyche. These issues in turn point towards our eternities because our reaction to new, potentially different kinds of knowledge often serves as a barometer for the status of our souls.

Dr. Gunter Bechly, Paleontologist: Dr. Bechly is a distinguished academic in his field, publishing 150 scientific publications, writing for Cambridge University Press (on evolution from his former evolutionist standpoint) discovering 160 new species and 10 new biological groups, and has served on the editorial board for two scientific journals. Bechly originally set out to mock Intelligent Design and Creationism in a public display at the Museum of Natural History he was curating (Naturkunde Stuttgart) for a celebration of Darwin’s bi-centennial birthday. However after exploring through some of the literature he says his former understanding of the field proved to be a gross mischaracterization. Ultimately he became convinced of Darwin’s shortcomings and Intelligent Design’s more persuasive arguments but this development proved hazardous to his position. He soon lost access to necessary workspace and control over his exhibitions. He says he was  told he was “no longer welcome, and that it would be appreciated if I would decide to quit …  (so) I decided that it did not make sense anymore to continue working in a hostile environment that makes productive research and collaboration with colleagues impossible.” Bechly was forced to resign after serving for 17 years. In 2017 his “long- standing” Wikipedia page was taken down sparking controversy in the scientific community. His story is available here – https://freescience.today/story/gunter-bechly/

Dr. Richard M. Sternberg, Evolutionary Biologist: While serving as editor of the Journal “The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington” Sternberg received an article from Dr. Stephen C. Meyer entitled ““Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” While Sternberg himself was not a proponent of Intelligent Design at the time, he felt the article deserved to be published and subsequently did so. After pressure from the Smithsonian the Biological Society of Washington decided to retract the article, despite the fact that it had gone through the normal peer review process (a fact which has been confirmed and documented but is often lied about to attack Sternberg’s credibility). Sternberg then began to face severe persecution at his workplace, the Smithsonian Institution. He lost access to necessary workspaces, his keys and office were taken away, his research Associateship was not renewed; he was demoted and put under a hostile supervisor. The National Center for Biotechnology Information was also urged to fire him. Sternberg filed complaints with the US Office of Special Counsel, but due to jurisdictional issues, his pleas went unanswered. They did however respond by saying: “It is also clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the SI (Smithsonian Institution).” Due to the hostilities he consistently faced, Sternberg ultimately resigned from his position.  Dr. Sternberg’s story is available here https://freescience.today/story/richard-sternberg/ as well as being featured in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, Astronomer: Holds an impressive research record, including the discovery of  several planets. After publishing “The Privileged Planet” which argues that the universe is intelligently designed a petition was circulated among his peers trying to denigrate his work. They were concerned about him sharing his opinions in an upcoming presentation on campus. Although the petition doesn’t mention him by name it is well known that trepidation about his upcoming speech was the cause for the petition. Soon after his application for tenure was denied and Dr. Gonzalez says this: “I have very little doubt that I would have tenure now if I hadn’t done any work on intelligent design.” And then gives this advice to other scientists … “If they value their careers, they should keep quiet about their intelligent design views.” Dr. Gonzalez story is highlighted in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Dr. Robert J. Marks II, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, first president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: During an interview with Pro Intelligent Design filmmakers Marks said he was academically safe, with tenure, but complaints were subsequently made to Baylor faculty. He had his research website shut down by the university and was told to return the grant money he had received. “I have never been treated like this in my 30 years of academia … no doubt that the center of this is my work in intelligent design.” Dr. Marks story is highlighted in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Dr. Caroline Crocker, Immunopharmacologist: After criticizing evolution and mentioning intelligent design in her cell biology class at George Mason University, Dr. Crocker faced severe discipline. After being confronted by her supervisor she was suspended from teaching her class and reassigned to labs. When her contract expired shortly after it was not renewed and she says her academic career came to a halt. She says she never had trouble finding employment before the conflict but because potential employers are now aware of what took place she has had considerable difficulty finding work in her field:  “I was only trying to teach what the university stands for which is academic freedom.” Dr. Crocker’s story can be found here https://freescience.today/story/caroline-crocker/ as well as being featured in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Dr. Michael Egnor, Neurosurgeon: After writing an essay stating that doctors didn’t need to study evolution in order to practice medicine, he was subsequently pressured to resign and became the target for what he calls “a lot of very nasty, nasty comments” with “unprintable words that were printed.” He also says he was surprised by the “viciousness and baseness” of the comments he received. Dr. Egnor’s story can be seen in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”

Dr. Scott Minnich, Geneticist: While serving in Iraq as a scientist in the Military survey group looking for biological weapons, became hesitant about the paper he was going to co-publish paper with Dr. Stephen Meyer on how the Bacterial Flagellum is best explained by intelligent design. He remembers thinking “what are the consequences, am I going to lose my job and be able to support my family?” During this particular moment of trepidation right before the deadline of his paper, mortar rounds were going off near his location, the Perfume Palace. He realized that they were becoming substantially closer with each round states that he thought: “I may not be here tomorrow” and pushed the send button on his email. Complaints from anonymous faculty about him followed, and he says his peers tried to get him fired by labeling him as incompetent: “I was censored.” Dr. Minnich’s story can be seen here https://freescience.today/story/scott-minnich/ or in the documentary http://www.Revolutionarybehe.com

Dr. Michael Behe, Biochemist: After becoming disillusioned with Evolution’s explanatory power Dr. Behe published his now landmark “Darwin’s Black Box.” Soon after he received hostile reactions, ridicule and subversion from his faculty peers and believes that if it weren’t for his tenure he would be in danger of losing his job. He’s often accused of trying to bring religious views into his science (as if this were actually detrimental to his work), but says this: “I don’t have a theological dog in this fight. I’m just trying to do my job as a biochemist” – https://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_384626.html

This statement is further justified by his welcome attitude toward common descent, but his refusal to believe Darwinian mechanisms could play a role.

In the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” 5 scientists were interviewed who chose to disguise their physical appearance for fear of losing their jobs. They all voiced similar concerns about the dangers of publicly questioning the evolutionary paradigm. One said “you use intelligent design to get the research done, but your not allowed to speak about it in public.”

In 2009 a non-profit group called the American Freedom Alliance, signed a contract with the California Science Center regarding their use of the Imax Theater. When it was discovered that they were going to screen the documentary “Darwin’s Dilemma” which critiqued evolution and portrayed Intelligent Design in a favorable light, the CSC cancelled the event and disregarded its contractual obligations. When the matter was taken to court, the AFA won their suit and it was revealed that the CSC cancelled the event after severe pressure from the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and other local academics. https://evolutionnews.org/2011/08/evidence_revealed_in_californi/

This list is not exhaustive, it was compiled through memory and only a few hours of online research. If one were to direct more effort, even scholarly research into this area, I’m sure more stories wouldn’t be hard to find. I’m well aware that this information is going to be hard to digest for some, and will be met with various methods of circumvention, nevertheless the pattern is clear. Many scientists feel unsafe in discussing what they believe to be valid scientific thoughts, ideas they claim actually help their research and provide more explanatory power than certain standard paradigms. Many I’m sure will say that these institutions were simply trying to protect science, but keep in mind the science here was never discussed. Distinguished scientists were simply harassed, abused and forced to resign for disagreeing with the status quo. Their reasons for disagreement were never addressed, just that they disagreed. And so we see a different kind of dynamics that doesn’t simply involve good science doing away with bad science, but spiteful people doing away with dissenting, potentially groundshifting opinion. Hopefully in the future more and more people will begin to shoot directly for the science itself and be wary of blindly adopting the idea that “it’s true because everyone else believes it.”

M.B. Foster, an Oxford Philosopher during the 1930’s writes about how our presuppositions about God ultimately trickle down into our study of the natural world. Our heavenward thoughts direct our earthly scientific views. That’s why this discussion transcends the data itself, it, as the bible says of scripture “penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). In other words our position in the search for scientific truth will also be indicative of the nature of our souls. A virtuous heart will find no frustration in being proven wrong, as scripture says, “rebuke the wise and they will love you” (Proverbs 9:8).  but an immoral one will often flee from truth in the form of denial, ignorance or abuse. Are our hearts thirsty for knowledge, or are we simply interested in confirming our own biases?  An honest answer to this question, especially in relation to the natural world and its impact on our understanding of God and the Bible, often points towards our inner, eternal habitation.

This Blog owes much to the documentaries “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” which is available for free on youtube, and “Revolutionary”  which is also available for free at http://www.revolutionarybehe.com

[1] Darwinism here simply refers to the idea of macroevolution, or large changes in animal forms thought to take place through mutations and natural selection.