Posted by David Klinghoffer, Thursday, May 10th
From the diaries.
The serious problem of bullying in junior high and high school has received some overdue attention lately. Lee Hirsch’s documentary Bully is in theaters and highly recommended.
But don’t think that bullying in academic settings is exclusively a phenomenon of adolescence. Adults also bully adults. That’s what is happening now at Emory University in Atlanta.
You can be a brilliant, innovative pediatric neurosurgeon at a sky-scraping top medical school, in addition to being a generous philanthropist with an inspirational up-from-dire-poverty personal story, plus a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and a best-selling writer whose memoir was turned into a TV movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
But in the hands of academic bullies, if you once shared your critical thoughts on evolutionary science and its moral implications — well, everything else about you suddenly dwindles to very little.
Dr. Ben Carson of Johns Hopkins University is today’s target. He’s scheduled to give the Commencement address and receive an honorary degree at Emory this coming Monday. But close to 500 faculty members, students and staff protested, drawing up a gravely formulated letter to the Emory Wheel, the student newspaper, expressing their “concerns.” Over what? Carson had no intention of speaking about evolution but someone dug up an impromptu interview he once gave to a publication associated with his Christian denominationon that subject.
The protestors – lead by Professors ArriEisen, Jaap De Roode, Nicole Gerardo, andIlyaNemenman — distorted Dr. Carson’s position on the moral implications of Darwinian materialism and insinuatingly questioned his grasp of the science behind evolution. Emory hasn’t withdrawn the invitation and the letter’s signatories don’t demand that. But they try to make him sound like a fool, putting in his mouth the absurd opinion that “those who accept the underlying principle of biology and medicine are unethical.”
Carson in fact explained that he’s not impressed by the evidence for Darwinian theory. He also commented on why a materialist philosophy is at odds with free will and how that makes it tough to offer a coherent account of moral principles.
The academic bullying that Emory’s faculty has visited on Dr. Carson is not an isolated episode. Scientists who ask tough questions about evolutionary theory are routinely intimidated and silenced by advocates of Darwinian orthodoxy.
Journalists and courts of law have documented a variety of other, far more disturbing cases of bullying for Darwin, at academic institutions including Jet Propulsion Laboratory at CalTech, the University of Kentucky, Iowa State University, the Smithsonian Institution, and elsewhere.
Emory’s spokesman, meanwhile, has struggled to explain how a Darwin-critic could possibly have received such an invitation.”Our leading life scientists would define our views on evolution,” he sniffed, “and the number of signatories on that petition would probably speak to that.” This is a shameful, and shaming, way to welcome a guest.
The onus is on university officials now to defend Dr. Carson’s right to hold a dissenting view, and to promptly reaffirm that Emory is pleased and honored to have him. Discovery Institute is gathering signatures on a petition making exactly that point. Please sign.
Dr. Carson’s unwelcoming welcome sends a message to less renowned and therefore less bullet-proof scholars. If they open their mouth to question Darwin, fellow academics will not only disagree but will hurt them by misrepresenting their opinions.
Imagine the results if he were someone else: a young scientist seeking a strong start to his career, a not so young but still untenured scientist with his livelihood to protect, even a tenured academic worried about his reputation and the future careers of his own grad students.
This is how Darwinists maintain the fiction that the scientific community has reached a freely determined “consensus” in favor of Darwinian evolution and against intelligent design. The consensus is maintained by intimidation, by bullying.
It’s a farce, but for vulnerable people in academic life, a scary farce.
David Klinghoffer is Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News & Views, Center for Science and Culture