ID proponents are making their case in the mainstream scientific literature, but some Darwinists have sought to stifle the debate by pretending that teaching about ID—or even raising mere scientific challenges to evolution—contravenes the scientific method and brings religion into the classroom.
In 2005, such Darwinists even managed to convince one federal judge to ban ID from a school district and rule that ID is not science. Darwinists today continue to cite this wildly inaccurate and activist judicial ruling as if one federal judge can settle this entire scientific debate.
Unfortunately, the bluffs and authoritarian tactics of Darwinists create a climate of intolerance that leads to discrimination against academics and educators who dissent from neo-Darwinism.
The latest example took place last week when economist, comedian, and Darwin skeptic Ben Stein withdrew from offering the spring commencement address at the University of Vermont because, as the Chronicle of Higher Education put it, "his invitation drew complaints about his views on biological evolution."
The main instigator of complaints against Stein was University of Minnesota Morris biologist P.Z. Myers, who in 2005 demanded "the public firing and humiliation of some teachers" who support ID or doubt Darwinism. This time, Myers incited his blog's followers against Stein, proclaiming that "it's a real slap in the face for the university to drag in this disgrace who has been a figurehead for a movement that is trying to replace science with superstition."
The truth about Stein's withdrawal has leaked out in media interviews where UVM's President Dan Fogel made it clear that ID proponents deserve second-class treatment. Parroting Myers's rhetoric, Fogel was quoted saying, "It's an issue about the appropriateness of awarding an honorary degree to someone whose views in many ways ignore or affront the fundamental values of scientific inquiry."
Fogel's statement is simply a pretext for discriminating against scholars who hold a minority scientific viewpoint. The reality is that Fogel has demonstrated plain old intolerance for academics that support ID.
Like many persecutors, Fogel appears blind to his own prejudices. He thus added, "This is not, to my mind, an issue about academic freedom." But Fogel's actions refute his own words: The very fact that he won't give an honorary degree to a scholar because of that scholar's support for ID demonstrates the lack of academic freedom for ID proponents in the academy.
People who have the evidence on their side don't behave like this. Science and education are suffering because Darwinists are using bluffs about the evidence, fear-mongering about religion, and discrimination against minority viewpoints to stifle the debate over evolution.
Let's drop the pretexts, the intimidation, and the strong-arm tactics, and let freedom once again reign in academia on Feb. 12, 2009.