Defending Evolution?! Science is about defending an unproven hypothesis? Now, why do you suppose we have an organization that must do this? Stop and think, do we have sites that do the following?
The American Physical Society is the pre-eminent academic organization of American physicists, and supportive of the global warming fraud, which has generated billions of dollars in research funding for Big Science. In an extraordinary act, a prominent scientist has resigned from the APS, in protest of its forsaking of genuine science. Generally, scientists do not voluntarily separate themselves from such honors as membership in the APS.
Harold Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, sent the following letter to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society, an act Anthony Watts likens to Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral. The letter speaks for itself, laying out the problem of corruption of big science:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence-it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d'être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer "explanatory" screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind-simply to bring the subject into the open.<
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members' interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.
APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people's motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don't think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I'm not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President's Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety
Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)
Evolution's Glass Ceiling
February 26, 2008
Experienced scientists who support intelligent design theories literally have to disguise themselves in order to perform their research.
A biologist I know recently bleached his hair and changed his appearance in other ways so as to be almost unrecognizable. I'm being deliberately vague about his looks and identity because he was going undercover. When I last saw him, he was ready for a stint of researching and lab work on intelligent design at a university that he declined to name. On returning to the lab after winter break, he said he would adopt a different disguise.
I asked how he planned to alter his appearance this time. "If I told you," he answered mildly, "that would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?"
The purpose is to avoid being spotted by scientists hostile to intelligent design (ID). If Darwinists realized that this stealthy biologist was working in their midst, as the guest of a professor at the same university, they could make that host professor pay a heavy career price.
Welcome to the underground world of Darwin-doubting scientists, who say they fear for their professional future. The challenges faced by these academic nonconformists have implications that go far beyond the faculty lounge.
A criticism often leveled at intelligent design is that ID theorists haven't done the research or the writing in peer-reviewed scientific journals that would make their view a serious contender to overturn Darwinism. This proves-say ID's opponents-that intelligent design is nothing more than religion masquerading as science. If such "pseudo-science" were taught in public schools, that would amount to the establishment of a state religion.
What is ID, exactly? In brief, it asks whether unguided material processes alone were sufficient to produce the history of complex life on earth. ID argues that an intelligent cause, operating in nature, is the best explanation for the scientific evidence agreed on by Darwinists and Darwin critics alike. Much of the work being done on ID is organized by the Discovery Institute, where I work.
Evolution is hot these days, even showing up in the 2008 presidential election. Candidate Mike Huckabee has faced frequent questioning from reporters about his critical but vaguely expressed opinion on Darwinian theory. Meanwhile, Democratic contender Hillary Clinton declared in a New York Times interview: "I believe in evolution, and I am shocked at some of the things that people in public life have been saying," referring to her Republican rivals.
I asked leading ID-critics whether Darwin-doubters face any hurdles, beyond the strength or weakness of ID itself, to researching and testing their ideas. Kenneth Miller, a Brown University biologist, emailed me with a withering reply: "The conclusion of 'Design' should follow from well-done research on comparative genomics, molecular biology, gene expression, and biochemistry. There is, as you surely know, no barrier to such research."
Francisco Ayala, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, was emphatic: "I cannot imagine any serious scientist or academic administrator trying to dissuade anybody else from carrying out any well-designed research project."
However, ID-sympathizers in academia say they face disturbing limits on scientific inquiry. Those limits work a bit like an invisible pet fence, popular with suburban homeowners who want to keep their dog from wandering out of the front yard. The pet wears a special collar. If he tries to cross over an underground wire around the perimeter of the yard, he gets an electric shock. Dogs and scientists learn quickly.
This April the feature-length documentary 'Expelled' will open in theaters, telling stories of scientists whose colleagues punished them for questioning Darwinism. One evolutionary biologist featured in the film, Richard Sternberg, was penalized by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History for editing an article favorable to ID in a technical peer-reviewed biology journal housed at the Smithsonian.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigated the case in 2005 and reported that Dr. Sternberg's Smithsonian colleagues created a "hostile work environment" for him "with the ultimate goal of forcing [him] out of the [Smithsonian]." His supervisor questioned others about Sternberg's political and religious beliefs, with a view to discrediting him. The museum confiscated his key to the facility and obstructed his access to research specimens.
Even a peripheral association with Darwin-doubting can destroy a scholar professionally. Take Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer at Iowa State University. He lost his bid for tenure in 2006 because he co-wrote a book, The Privileged Planet (Regnery), making a scientific case for the intelligent design of the cosmos. The book wasn't about Darwin or about biology.
Was Dr. Gonzalez qualified for the job? Actually, Gonzalez outperformed the tenured members of the astronomy faculty in basic measures of scientific reputation and scientific productivity. He exceeded his department's tenure standards, which measure "excellence" in terms of publications in refereed science journals, by more than 350 percent. Yet his department chairman flatly instructed the faculty voting on his tenure request that intelligent design is a litmus test, "disqualify[ing] him from serving as a science educator."
Some campuses are forthright in limiting academic freedom. In 2005, at the University of Idaho, biologist and ID proponent Scott Minnich was the target of a ban on challenging Darwinism in science classrooms. The university's president, Timothy White, rejected any view other than the orthodox evolutionary one as "inappropriate in our life, earth, and physical science courses or curricula."
Apart from these high-profile cases, scholars who have felt the effects of evolution's Invisible Fence fall into three categories: the untenured who fear professional ruin; those who have already been ruined; and tenured scholars who, in principle, can research freely.
The untenured will, as a rule, speak only on the condition that neither they nor their institution be named. I asked one such scientist if he felt free to pursue his ID-related research interests. He said, "No, absolutely not. It presents a problem for me."
Part of his problem is that, before he felt the shock of the Invisible Fence, he wrote some things critical of Darwinism that are still on the Internet. He's now most of the way through a six-year tenure-track process. But in seeking work before he got this job, "I was told directly [at another university] that the views I had expressed were the reason I was no longer being considered there for a research position."
Another biologist told of how, immediately after his interest in intelligent design became known, he had his lab space withdrawn. The assistant to the director of the facility emailed him that, due to an unexpected "space crunch," he had to be out in two weeks.
Asked about the statements of ID-critics that research critical of Darwin may be conducted freely, the biologist looked amused. "That's a huge joke," he said. He explained that professional science is "prestige driven and [scientists] don't want a knock to their prestige. You do well by impressing your peers, so you are reluctant to jeopardize that."
Being thought of as sympathetic to ID represents a blemish on a scientist's reputation. Thus an academic department or a scientific journal will be very reluctant to sponsor or publish research or writing that challenges Darwinism. A sort of intellectual paralysis results.
Caroline Crocker, a biologist with a specialty in immunopharmacology, can speak openly because she's given up hope of returning to academia. In 2005, Dr. Crocker discussed the scientific critique of Darwinism with the students in her cellbiology course at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va. When colleagues got wind of it, she was first forbidden from teaching either evolution or intelligent design. Then her contract was allowed to expire.
"I was absolutely shocked," said Crocker, "I was careful to let no one know what side [of the evolution controversy] I was on."
Her story was written up in the Washington Post and the science weekly Nature. When she later sought a research job at the National Institutes of Health, her reputation preceded her: "A friend, someone with connections at the NIH, told me, "Don't bother applying. You're blacklisted now.""
"There are so many bodies by the side of the road that people get the message," said Robert Marks, who teaches engineering and computational intelligence at Baylor University. One of his research interests is simulating evolution on computers. Without additional information (a/k/a design) being included in the simulation, he finds, the evolutionary process doesn't produce results as Darwin promised.
Dr. Marks has tenure and was lured away from the University of Washington in 2003, in an attempt by Baylor to upgrade its academic image. His latest book will be published by Oxford University Press. You might think he'd feel secure. Yet when I asked to interview him, he agreed only on the condition that his attorney listens.
At Baylor, Marks said, he has suffered "viewpoint discrimination, violation of academic freedom, persecution." In 2006, Baylor canceled a $30,000 grant Dr. Marks had received, which was intended to let him hire a famous ID theorist, mathematician William Dembski, to assist him. In 2007, the university disconnected a website Marks had put together about "evolutionary informatics," featuring ID-related work done by Dr. Dembski and himself.
As it happens, Dembski had been booted from Baylor once before. That was in 2000, when Baylor's faculty got him fired as director of an academic center on campus. It was Dembski's criticism of Darwinian evolution that roused the other professors' ire.
Dr. Dembski probably won't be invited back to Baylor soon. Robert Marks remains, but describes the campus atmosphere in dark tones that would, it seems, apply equally well to universities elsewhere. "I know a number of people here who are interested in ID," he said, "but I've advised them to stay away. It would destroy their tenure chances. It's a career-killer.""
Ben Stein starred in the movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed that was an audio and video treatise on the censorship and prejudice that exists in the world of science and academia right now and it's ties to atrocities of the past. You think this is not an everyday fact of life? Even at the highest level of science...
Intelligent Design Demoted
David Coppedge v. Jet Propulsion Laboratory et al.
Liberty Legal Journal
September 7, 2010
Link to Original Article
Like many of his colleagues at NASA’s taxpayer-funded Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Ca., David Coppedge is a mild-mannered, technically-minded employee. He began working at JPL in 1996, and in 1997 he joined the Cassini mission, one of the most ambitious space exploration missions ever planned. It successfully sent an unmanned robotic spacecraft to explore Saturn and its moons.
In 2000, Coppedge received a promotion to “Team Lead” system administrator, serving as a high-level system administrator, overseeing a wide range of computer networks vital to the Cassini mission with “super-admin” access. He has been a faithful, highly regarded JPL employee, leading occasional tours of the lab. As an outreach speaker, he presented Cassini’s findings to astronomy clubs and civic groups.
Coppedge also happens to be an avid supporter of intelligent design (ID), a scientific theory which holds that some aspects of the universe and life are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected cause, such as natural selection. The theory takes a strictly scientific approach and is not based upon any religious argument.
Coppedge is actively involved with the ID movement. He sits on the board of directors for Illustra Media, a Southern California-based documentary production company that produces high quality films expounding the science supporting design in nature. These films include Unlocking the Mystery of Life, which presents the case for ID from biological complexity, and The Privileged Planet, which argues that the universe and our solar system support design because their “fine-tuning” allows life to flourish. The films, widely available on DVD, contain only scientific content and feature credible Ph.D. scientists arguing for ID. Yet, it was Coppedge’s support for these two DVDs that led to a serious conflict at JPL.(2)
For years, Coppedge offered these pro-ID videos to co-workers at JPL in a non-aggressive, respectful manner. If his colleague declined to watch the DVD, he dropped the matter. But in early 2009, one of Coppedge’s supervisors learned of his distributing pro-ID videos among JPL employees. After yelling at Coppedge and accusing him of “pushing religion,” his supervisor ordered him to cease distributing the DVDs.
Coppedge felt singled out and harassed, and he expressed this to his supervisor. Coppedge later learned that JPL’s human-resources department had started investigating the matter. But the investigation was not what he expected.
In April 2009, Coppedge was called before two different JPL supervisors, who informed him that rather than investigating Coppedge’s supervisor for harassment, Coppedge was the target of an investigation that charged him with creating a hostile work environment. The company’s investigation guidelines grant employees certain procedural rights. Coppedge, however, was advised of the nature of the accusations, the investigation procedures, the outcome of this investigation, and the verdict all at the same meeting – a gross violation of JPL’s Procedures for Investigating and Resolving Unlawful Harassment Complaints.
In the end, Coppedge was demoted and threatened with losing his job if he persisted in purportedly “unwelcome” and “disruptive” discussions of intelligent design. He was condemned and punished without being afforded a genuine opportunity see the evidence and respond to it. To this day, JPL has refused to inform Mr. Coppedge of the specific factual basis of their allegations. In effect, it was a trial of secret evidence.
Notably, taxpayer-funded JPL permits a wide-range of informal communications among employees on controversial topics, including the expression of viewpoints hostile to ID. But it was Coppedge’s non-hostile, friendly communications about ID that were singled out for censorship.
On April 15, 2010, Coppedge filed suit against JPL and California Institute of Technology, which manages JPL, in California State Superior Court in Los Angeles, alleging religious discrimination and retaliation, harassment, and wrongful demotion.(3) He is represented by William J. Becker Jr., a Los Angeles-based First Amendment attorney from The Becker Law Firm.
JPL is affiliated with NASA, a government entity, but it is managed by California Institute of Technology, a private entity. Coppedge’s case does not implicate the First Amendment, however, because his suit was filed in California State Court under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which allows more relief than federal law and protects against religious discrimination. Coppedge’s amended complaint lists all causes of action under the California Constitution and California code.
The case is peculiar because Coppedge holds, quite correctly, that ID is a scientific viewpoint and not a religious one, and yet he is alleging religious discrimination due to JPL’s restrictions on his pro-ID speech. But the epistemological status of ID is not at issue in the case; rather, the lawsuit looks into the mind of the employer, which openly charged Coppedge with “pushing religion” and creating a hostile work environment by discussing ID. In essence, since JPL deemed that ID is religion and then punished Coppedge on the basis of that belief, the suit argues that protections against religious discrimination under FEHA.
The case is not entirely dissimilar from an asymmetry in the law explored in a recent article I published in Liberty University Law Review:
The reality of course is that ID is not religion, but science. How much more, then, should Coppedge’s speech advocating ID be protected at a top taxpayer-funded scientific institution like JPL, whose mission includes studying the origin of life and the universe? Whether ID is deemed science or religion, Coppedge’s speech is protected. Either way, advocating for ID is apparently a bridge too far for a NASA agency’s administrators.
(1) Luskin is Program Officer in Public Policy & Legal Affairs for the Discovery Institute. In addition to his law degree, Luskin holds a Master’s in Earth Science and has been published in multiple law reviews; Journal of Church and State; Geochemistry, Geophysics, and Geosystems; and Progress in Complexity, Information and Design. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(2) Facts of Coppedge’s case are derived from the First Amended Complaint, available at www.liberty.edu/libertylegaljournal/ … .pdf.
(3) David Coppedge v. Jet Propulsion Laboratory et al., Case No. BC435600.
(4) See Casey Luskin, “Zeal for Darwin’s House Consumes Them: How Supporters of Evolution Encourage Violations of the Establishment Clause,” Liberty University Law Review, Vol. 3(2): 403-489 (Spring, 2009).