Jan 27 2011
"Science Says" Is Now Just Another Special Interest Claim
President Obama echoed an often-heard lament when he complained recently that, among Americans, "facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day." According to distressed cultural observers, public ignorance about science is evidenced by failure to accept global warming, "animal rights," euthanasia and Darwinian evolution.
The assumption is that doubting scientists' claims means you have divorced yourself from reality. Yet steadily accumulating stories from the scientific community itself suggest grounds for doubting that scientists all pursue truth without fear or favor. Last year's "Climategate" email leak from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit is the best-known case, but hardly the only one.
If there's any question on which science has spoken definitively, it's supposed to be the theory that an unguided material process of natural selection accounts for life's long development. A consensus of biologists appears to agree on this. Yet to what extent is that uniformity coerced -- specifically, by employment pressure?
For years I've collected accounts of scientists who voiced doubts about Darwin and ended up paying a high price. In February, the University of Kentucky will defend itself in court in a discrimination case brought by astronomer Martin Gaskell, now at the University of Texas. He argues convincingly that he was turned down to direct Kentucky's observatory because of remarks on his personal website noting reservations about Darwinian theory and an openness to intelligent design.
Gaskell's attorneys present records of email traffic among the faculty search committee. Professors falsely tarred Gaskell as a "creationist" while a lone astrophysicist on the committee protested that Gaskell stood to be rejected "despite his qualifications that stand far above those of any other applicant."
( Klinghoffer, Human Events, 01/06/2011)