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INTELLIGENT DESIGN: A PRIMER

Do ID Proponents Get Persecuted in the Academy?

Caroline Crocker

Evidence shows that intelligent-design (ID) proponents, from first-year students to tenured faculty, are persecuted in academia.

A report in The Washington Post Magazine said that numerous undergraduates expressed fear of repercussions if they were found to doubt evolution. Two told me that on the first day of their Animal Biology class, they were expressly forbidden to discuss ID. Another student, after openly speaking about her views during a senior seminar class, was so seriously attacked by her professors that she no longer dared to communicate with me; the message was passed through another student.

Being known as an ID proponent is also dangerous for graduate students. I witnessed a graduate student having to drop his studies and change universities because his doubt of evolution became known. Similarly, Bryan Leonard finished all of his graduate work, including writing his dissertation, at The Ohio State University. But three days before he was to deliver his doctoral defense it was indefinitely postponed. His crime? He had taught the scientific evidence for and against Darwinism to high-school students.

Those who hold a Ph.D. and need to get started in science or teaching would be advised to not speak about doubting evolution. An adjunct teacher who just got a fulltime teaching position told me she teaches evolution, even though she does not believe it to be scientifically valid, because it was the only way to get and keep the job. Her job interview was mostly about her views on evolution; she lied.

Even after a person has secured a fulltime teaching position, job loss is a very real possibility, as was discovered by chemistry teacher Nancy Bryson at Mississippi University for Women—and by me at George Mason University. Both of us lost our fulltime teaching posts shortly after teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution.

Even an impressive record of research and publications will not shield a person from the consequences of "coming out” about believing that there is scientific evidence for ID. In 2007, Guillermo Gonzalez, who has received countless fellowships, grants, and awards, and who has over 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals, was denied tenure at Iowa State University, mostly because he accepted ID.

Another untenured professor spoke to NPR about doubting Darwin, but declined to give his name because it would be the "kiss of death” to his career. William Dembski, an outspoken ID proponent, kept his university job but was not allowed to teach for five years. I have been told by many, too late, that I should never have admitted to having doubts about Darwinism until I was in a tenured position.

However, having tenure, while giving a person relative job security, does not prevent persecution. Richard Sternburg, holder of two Ph.D.s and an employee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was hounded by colleagues after allowing the publication of a peer-reviewed and approved ID-friendly paper. This was confirmed by a US House Subcommittee, but he is still suffering the aftereffects.

There is an unwritten rule in science that because only the natural can be measured, only the natural exists. Therefore, all evidence of intelligent design (and intelligence is a measurable natural phenomenon) must be ignored because the source of this intelligence might be supernatural, and that, by definition, cannot exist. This naturalism falls in the realm of philosophy, not science, but woe to those who teach or study science and dare to challenge it!

So, do ID proponents get persecuted in the academy? You be the judge.


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More articles from Intelligent Design: A Primer

The Last Days of Darwin? by James M. Kushiner
What Does Information Tell us About ID? by William A. Dembski
Can ID Explain the Origin of Evil? by Jay Richards
Has ID Been Banned in Public Schools? by Casey Luskin
What Happens When You Challenge a School's Science Curriculum? by Larry Caldwell
What Happens When You Write Positive Blog Posts About ID? by Mike Egnor

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