googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Responding to Anonymous Comments

Monday, March 24, 2008

Responding to Anonymous Comments

An anonymous reader of this blog took exception with my last post and made a lengthy reply in the comments outlining his objections to the movie “Expelled.” Of course, I encourage everyone to read the comment for himself, but I wanted to respond briefly to some key points.

Mr. Anonymous said,
What I object to is that the films' main thesis, that anyone in the science community who believes in God is being "expelled" is false at its core.
So Mr. Anonymous clearly says he objects to the premise of the movie. I’m a little confused by this since he seems to argue that the movie is dishonest in the examples that it uses. Of course, the two ideas aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive – it could be that the premise is wrong and the movie uses dishonest examples to prove a false premise.

Honestly, I haven’t seen the movie. I remind everyone again that I have highlighted it as an opportunity to bring the creation/evolution debate more into the mainstream. The movie has gotten a lot of press (coincidentally, critics of creationism unanimously criticize the movie as well) but I won’t comment on the merits of the movie until I see it myself. Instead, I’ll spend just a minute discussing the premise of the movie – that is, scientists who believe in creation are often persecuted by evolutionary scientists.

First, I politely remind readers of my December 8, 2007 blog, Your Bias is Showing, where a marine biologist was fired from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution because he believed in creation. You can read the entire story in the Boston Globe here. While my take on the story was not one of religious persecution, we see here a de facto example of a scientist being “expelled” because of his beliefs in creation.

Then there is Dr. Michael Dini, a biology professor at Texas Tech University, who created a stir a few years ago saying he will not write letters of recommendation to any student who did not believe evolution: never mind how good of a student he/she might be; never mind how relevant evolution is/isn't to the student’s chosen career; if he doesn’t believe evolution, he would get no recommendation from Dr. Dini.

Of course there’s also the conspicuous absence of creationists’ papers published in mainstream science journals. Now, creationists have often published papers on topics not related to evolution – but editors aren’t interested in creationists’ papers specifically discussing creation/evolution. In 1985, a creation-believing physicist, Dr. Russell Humphreys, wrote to the journal Science, asking if there was a hidden policy to not publish creationists’ papers. Christine Gilbert, the letters editor, candidly admitted, ‘It is true that we are not likely to publish creationist letters.’ Scientists’ careers – both those who teach and those in the field – revolving around being published. The old saying is “publish or die.” Being published is the lynch pin of receiving grant money, tenure, or accolades of any sort. How sad it is that creation-believing scientists are blackballed – not because of their credentials - but because of their beliefs.

There are many more examples, some of which may already be included in the movie, but what I’ve shown here is fairly straightforward and indisputable. If the makers of the movie used dishonest examples, then shame on them. I’ll be the first to criticize them for that. But the premise that creation scientists who share their beliefs jeopardize their careers is spot on.

2 comments:

Quintin said...

Hey there fellow creationist!

He's made the rounds with the same comment. He was challenged and responded here, you can check it out there.

Happy blogging!

NP said...

Doctors who support voodoo medicine should also expect their careers to be jeopardized. Academia is a meritocracy, not a free-for-all.