Office of Special Counsel Concludes Smithsonian Created a “Hostile Work Environment” In Effort to Oust Biologist Skeptical of Darwinism

Staff
Discovery Institute
August 19, 2005
Seattle, Aug. 19 – In a letter to Smithsonian biologist Dr. Richard Sternberg, the United States Office of Special Counsel writes: “it is... clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the [Smithsonian Institution].”

Dr. Sternberg, who holds two PhDs in evolutionary biology, was persecuted by Smithsonian colleagues for allowing the publication of an article skeptical of Darwinian evolution and advocating intelligent design, in the peer-reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published out of the Smithsonian. The article was written by Discovery’s Dr. Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge educated philosopher of science.

According to the Washington Post: “Within hours of publication, senior scientists at the Smithsonian Institution -- which has helped fund and run the journal -- lashed out at Sternberg as a shoddy scientist and a closet Bible thumper.”

The OSC letter, made public by Dr. Sternberg, states that “retaliation came in many forms,” and says that the OSC was able to find support for many of Dr. Sternberg’s allegations, including:
  • A hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing him out of the Smithsonian.
  • Sternberg’s religious and political affiliations were investigated.
  • Sternberg’s scientific education, background and writings were investigated.
  • Attempts were made to deny Sternberg workspace within the Smithsonian.
  • Misinformation was disseminated through the Smithsonian and to outside sources.

“These self-appointed defenders of the theory of evolution are waging a malicious campaign to demonize and blacklist anyone who disagrees with them,” said Bruce Chapman president of Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank dealing with scientific challenges to evolution and supporting research of intelligent design. “Unfortunately, Dr. Sternberg is not alone. There are a number of scientists under similar attack across the country.”

Free speech and academic freedom are cherished principles in America,” added Chapman. “They are too important to be sacrificed to the intolerant demands of extremists on any issue.”

It was determined that Sternberg “complied with all editorial requirements of the proceedings and the … article was properly peer-reviewed by renowned scientists.” Furthermore, allegations against Sternberg were later proven to be false, but no retractions were ever issued.

The OSC investigation also revealed that not one single e-mail examined during the investigation showed that a manager attempted to halt retaliatory actions or administer any admonishment for those that had taken place.

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