Academic Persecution of Scientists and Scholars Researching Intelligent Design is a Dangerous and Growing Trend

For Immediate Release, Dec. 7, 2005

“There is a disturbing trend of scientists, teachers, and students coming under attack for expressing support in the theory of intelligent design, or even just questioning evolution,” said Robert Crowther director of communications for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “The freedom of scientists, teachers, and students to question Darwin’s theory, or to express alternative scientific hypothesis is coming under increasing attack by people that can only be called Darwinian fundamentalists.”

Discovery Institute hosted a briefing for the media on academic freedom at the National Press Club today, featuring a prominent astronomer persecuted for his views on intelligent design, Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez of Iowa State University.

According to the Institute, self-appointed defenders of the theory of evolution are waging a campaign to demonize and blacklist anyone who disagrees with them.

  • University of Idaho president Timothy White, issued an edict recently proclaiming that it is now “inappropriate” for anyone to teach “views that differ from evolution” in any “life, earth, and physical science courses.”
  • Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings, III, delivered a polemic speech denouncing intelligent design and scientists and scholars researching the theory.
  • Chemistry professor Nancy Bryson lost her job at a state university after she gave a lecture on scientific criticisms of Darwin’s theory to a group of honors students.
  • Three days before graduate student Bryan Leonard’s dissertation defense was to take place Darwinist professors at Ohio State University accused Leonard of “unethical human-subject experimentation” because he taught students about scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory.
  • High school teacher Roger DeHart was driven from his public school simply because he wanted his students to learn about both sides of the scientific debate over Darwinian evolution.
  • Biology professor P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota, for example, recently wrote this about anyone supporting intelligent design or even just questioning modern evolutionary theory: “Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many school board members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.”

Discovery Institute is the nation’s leading public policy center that defends “teaching the controversy” about the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution. The Institute recently launched a national campaign to defend the rights of scientists, teachers, and students who are being threatened because they dare to raise critical questions about evolution.

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

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.