Do anti-science bigots...censor scientists and stifle science?
The central and very powerful thesis of Expelled, is that it is not just God who has been expelled from
the reigning intellectual worldview, but also, sound science and those pursuing
it are being expelled from the academic enterprise. This involves, as ID advocate Bill Dembski
claims, suppression of ideas by a strategy of widespread persecution --
destruction of livelihoods, careers and reputations.
All negative personnel decisions are messy and are almost
invariably interpreted or overtly spun in diametrically divergent ways. In 27 years of academic work, I have never
seen someone lose their job - including for reasons of clear moral breech - who
did not remonstrate with charges of impropriety. Conversely, in cases of demonstrably unsound
and subsequently overturned negative decisions - including some recent
nationally prominent examples - those making the initial decision never fail to
argue for it in light of institutional policy.
Termination is a bit like divorce.
Sometimes theres a clear villain, usually there is not; those on the
inside typically claim it is the other party, and those on the outside better
be careful about taking just one partys word.
Complexity notwithstanding, a couple of things about the
academy are clear to anyone who is not, in Richard Dawkins phrase about
evolution-doubters, ignorant, stupid, or insane. One, there is surely a leftward ideological
tilt in academic life. It is simply not
intellectually svelte to be a Bush supporter, a pro-life advocate, a Rush
Limbaugh dittohead...or an evangelical Christian.
Two, it is absolute professional suicide to be a young earth creationist
in a geology department or an anti-evolutionist in a biology department at any
institution outside of a few parochial colleges. And it may be just as bad to be an ID
advocate in any science department. The
question is, is the latter due to the suffocating influence of the former: does
the exclusion of ID and other criticisms of evolution represent the ugly
specter of academic suppression imposed by anti-science bigotsenforcing a materialist ideology? The
films crucial assertion is: Yes. It
makes this allegation by addressing two questions:
ID advocates expelled, and if so,
there proper grounds for doing so?
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