From Pulitzer Prize to Creationist Mouthpiece in Five Short Years
(Image from Toledo Blade)
You might remember Jerry Bergman, who we first encountered a year ago. At that time, he had inked a deal with crackpot creatard Kevin Wirth (Kevin Wirth!) to publish his his latest fantasy novel, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters. Bergman is a young-Earth creationist who lost his job at Bowling Green University for not having sufficient credentials. Rather than accept this harsh fact, Bergman fantasized that he was fired for being a creationist. He took his case to court and lost. He’s been bitter about it ever since.
I see that today’s Toledo Blade has an article about Bergman in the (where else?) Religion section. This article is surprisingly gullible. It doesn’t adhere to any journalistic standards of investigation or reporting. Instead, it just parrots at face value whatever Bergman says. Humorously, the Blade tells us in its masthead that it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004.
Let’s take a look at their latest attempt to win the prize again. It’s an article titled “Ohio scholar reports bias against ‘Darwin doubters’. 17 cases are detailed in new book”:
Jerry Bergman is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and balding college professor, author, and member of Mensa – a group of people whose IQs are in the top 2 percent of the population.
Note the use of “mild-mannered” to imply that he’s a Clark Kent type. Actually, Underdog is more like it: an over-the-top parody even less believable than the original. Also note the Mensa reference, which is the Appeal to Authority fallacy. If he’s smart, he must know what he’s talking about!
He also is a man on a mission, going about his task with the same tenacity as a pit bull in attack mode.
He is Underdog! Just like Underdog, he spends his days pursuing fictional foes, in this case oppressive “Darwinists”, who are murdering the careers of God-loving creationists everywhere.
For the last 30 years, Mr. Bergman, 62, has interviewed hundreds of people in academia and documented cases in which he contends that careers were derailed because of doubts about evolution.
Anybody who would foolishly spend his time trying to disprove evolution is probably going to have a wasted career. It’s like trying to disprove gravity.
The results of his interviews and research are compiled in his latest book, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, published last fall by Leafcutter Press.
What they fail to mention is that “Leafcutter Press” is just Kevin Wirth. This is exactly what I’m talking about. If you can’t get published by a legitimate publisher, who has an established reputation, then you don’t deserve to be called an academic.
The students, professors, and scientists suffered not because they were advocating the teaching of biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design, he said, but for questioning or debating aspects of Charles Darwin’s famous theory.
In effect, they were demonstrating that they didn’t understand the material. Any loss of jobs is thus due to being unqualified.
Also, the whole reason for attempting to disprove evolution is to then be able to offer up their own version. Creationism and “Darwin doubting” are just two different faces of their fairy tale.
“In 1979, I was let go by Bowling Green State University openly due to my increasing disillusion with Darwinism,” he said in a lecture Monday night at WLMB-TV, Channel 40, Toledo’s Christian television station. The two-hour program was filmed before a studio audience of 60 and will be broadcast at a later date, according to Jamey Schmitz, WLMB’s president and CEO.
If Bergman can’t even get the facts of his own court case correct, then why does he think we’ll believe anything else he says?
He also made a gradual transition from atheism to Christianity after studying the Bible and comparing its explanation for human existence to that offered by scientific rationale – including evolution and neo-Darwinism, he said.
So this tells us that Bergman is so eager to be deluded that he takes a folktale as stronger evidence than all of the sciences. Didn’t they say something at the beginning of this article about Mensa?
When Mr. Bergman was denied tenure after seven years on staff at BGSU, he challenged the decision through the university’s own system and then in civil court alleging religious discrimination.
But his evidence for discrimination was as strong as the evidence for human origins in the Bible.
His appeals were rejected and Mr. Bergman said filing suit was the biggest mistake of his life.
Rejecting all of science and believing the Bible instead is a pretty big mistake, too.
University and court officials did not take his claims seriously and put shockingly little effort into reviewing or understanding his arguments, he said.
Obviously, the court’s standards of evidence are as high as the university’s. If only Mr. Bergman could learn to apply such standards to himself. But of course, that would mean giving up his comforting fantasy that he is a victim of discrimination.
The lawsuit turned out to be “the kiss of death” in academic circles, Mr. Bergman said, not only shattering his promising career but also ruining his marriage, which soon ended in divorce.
I’d guess that Bergman’s inability to produce any credible evidence to support his creationist claims is probably what killed his career.
Publicity over the lawsuit, however, led other academics to contact him with similar stories, he said. He has since compiled a list of 3,000 cases alleging discrimination due to religious beliefs, and personally has interviewed more than 300 people in such situations.
I have no way of knowing if any of those cases are legitimate discrimination. I do find it telling, however, that the creationists have been unable to publicly produce more than a couple of borderline cases out of all of academia. They had an entire crappy movie to make their case, and they failed.
That topic was brought to the mainstream’s attention last year when actor, comedian, and attorney Ben Stein released the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
And only managed to embarrass himself.
While Slaughter of the Dissidents explores 17 cases of alleged religious discrimination, it is just the first book in a five-volume series Mr. Bergman has planned. The second book is almost done and the third volume is 80 percent completed.
This came as a bit of a shock to me. The book is ranked #673,419 in sales on Amazon right now. They couldn’t have sold more than a few dozen. I guess if you’re deluded enough, you’ll continue on a dead end path forever. Come on, Bergman, don’t stop at five! Your fantasy is wilder than Harry Potter, and there are seven of those. Come on! We know you can beat J.K. Rowling!
Each book, true to form for academia, has about 1,000 footnotes.
Citing 1000 crackpots is no more credible than citing one.
When he tells people that doubting Darwinism can lead to discrimination in universities, Mr. Bergman said he gets two responses, neither sympathetic to his cause: “First, it’s not happening. Second, yes it’s happening and it should be happening.”
Both responses are legitimate. Creationists haven’t presented any compelling cases of discrimination yet, so it probably isn’t happening to any great degree. Secondly, if you think the Bible explains life better than science, then you have nothing to contribute to science. Go join a seminary and leave the fact finding to the big boys.
“It’s unlikely today that an out-of-the-closet Darwin doubter will survive in academia,” he said.
Meaning they aren’t fit for their environment and deserve to go extinct. If Bergman doesn’t understand this concept, BGU was right to fire him.
And there’s much at stake because a PhD requires a huge investment in time and money, averaging nine years of school and $300,000 and $500,000 in costs, he said.
So why would you waste all that pursuing something you aren’t qualified for?
Rather than risk losing everything over one’s personal beliefs, Mr. Bergman said he advises people to “stay in the closet until things change” and to seek change through legislation.
If you can’t prove your claims with data, just go where science is unheard of: The legislature!
In a question-and-answer session after his talk, he said one way to help bring about change is to propose a state constitutional amendment that would allow educators to raise questions about evolution.
Sure! Let’s take the science out of science. Anybody can make any wild claim, and the schools will have to teach it.
He predicted it would be overwhelmingly approved because free speech and scholarly debate in academia are being stifled by just a handful of “Darwinian fundamentalists.”
Wow! Just a few “Darwin fundies” are managing to oppress the entire educational system of the whole world! Because, after all, evolution is just an atheistic fantasy that has been perpetrated on the world, and millions of good scientists everywhere have mounds of evidence supporting the Biblical account of creation, but they can’t get published anywhere!
They love to feel persecuted.