Slaughter of the Intellect
Yesterday we looked at the advertisement that crackpot creatard Kevin Wirth wrote to try to get us to buy his crappy Expelled knock-off, a book called Slaughter of the Dissidents. The book is written by non-expelled young-Earth creationist Jerry Bergman.
That right there is an interesting point. This whole “doubting Darwin” campaign is the brainchild of the “Intelligent Design” folks, such as the Discovery Institute and Kevin Wirth’s own adorable Access Research Network. These old-Earth creationists insist that their “theory” has nothing to do with religion. So what do they do? The Discovery Institute goes out of their way to promote Ben Stein’s movie, which directly links ID creationism to religion. Then Kevin Wirth goes out of his way to publish and promote a book written by a young-Earth creationist. These people are even incompetent at hiding the religious basis of their “theory”!
I took Kevin up on his offer of receiving a free chapter from the book. He sent me chapter 18: “The Peloza, Bishop, and Johnson Cases”. Apparently that’s all this book is, just a long, itemized list of all the alleged cases of “Darwin doubter discrimination”. What a scintillating read that must be! Well, let’s get scintillating!
As a result of attempts by Darwin skeptics to secure a place both at the table of scientific discussion and in the classroom…
These so-called “Darwin skeptics” don’t belong in the classroom until they secure a seat at the table of scientific discussion. And they don’t belong there until they actually come up with some evidence. Whining about being left out or going to court isn’t the way to remedy things. The answer is much simpler. Just give us some scientific evidence. They’ve had 150 years, and they’ve yet to provide any.
…the federal courts have put evolution “virtually beyond criticism.”1
That superscript leads you to the footnotes for this chapter. It’s five whole pages of footnotes! Almost every footnote is to document some quotation that they mined from elsewhere. There’s a total of 78 footnotes for this chapter alone! This book is just one giant Kevin Wirth quote dump!
Court rulings in cases involving those who are open critics of Darwinism have been blatantly discriminatory, dishonest, and unconstitutional. Indications now exist that the Supreme Court is aware of this and may try to correct this problem in future rulings.
So Bergman, a non-lawyer/non-Constitutional scholar, thinks that when his side loses, the ruling is unconstitutional. Protecting the First Amendment is the definition of a constitutional ruling, but Bergman is pouting that impartial courts clearly see that his guys are wrong. Then he tells us that the Supreme Court needs to step in. Why? So the activist judges can legislate from the bench?
In past cases involving Darwin skeptics, my research of over 100 cases over the past 30 years indicates that schools typically presented trumped-up and often obviously bogus reasons for dismissal or denial of tenure such as incompetence, erroneous claims that a faculty member falsified documents, or other allegations that were clearly proposed to cover up the real reason—religious discrimination.
Of course it never crosses Bergman’s mind that maybe those were the actual reasons! Remember that the movie Expelled presented just a few cases of alleged discrimination. You would think that those cases would be the strongest examples. Yet in every case, discrimination is not the real story.
Bergman then gets into the specific cases that this chapter is devoted to: The Peloza, Bishop, and Johnson Cases. I don’t have access to all of the materials that Bergman does, so I have no way of knowing what the real story is. It’s fair to assume that these cases are no stronger than those portrayed in Expelled.
The Bishop case is a possible exception to this. On its surface, and as portrayed by Bergman, it does appear that maybe the courts went too far. Allegedly, Bishop, a college professor, mentioned very briefly that he “doubted Darwin”, and that’s the extent of what he said. Supposedly he spent no more than 2–5 minutes out of the entire 2250 minutes of class time. I have no problem with a professor very briefly mentioning this. In fact, I would think it’s beneficial for the students to know what the professor’s biases are, so they can be aware of how they might color his instruction.
As we’ve seen from Expelled, cases like this are seldom exactly as portrayed by the creationists in their whine-fests. I would certainly be open to finding out more about this case, but I can’t take Bergman at his word here. His book has not managed to prove its credibility in the rest of this chapter.
Throughout Bergman’s discussion of these cases, he repeatedly makes two assertions: That evolution is atheistic and that creationism isn’t religious. Both of these assertions are false.
Evolution is atheistic in the same way that history is atheistic. Neither assumes a divine influence or guiding hand. What’s doubly puzzling is how Bergman can “see” the atheism in evolution, but he can’t see the obvious religion in creationism. He tries to frame the creationism as merely “anti-Darwin”, but this is a mere word-game.
Creationists like Bergman get so hung up on linking evolution to Darwin (apparently trying to paint biology as a cult of hero worship) that they get snagged on the many parts of evolution that are non-Darwinian. Darwin only proposed natural and sexual selection as the mechanisms by which evolution took place. Our understanding is much more complete now. The scientific literature is full of non-Darwinian articles. This fact alone puts the lie to everything Bergman writes in this book and Stein says in his movie.