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Slaughter of the Dissidents Paperback – April 8, 2011
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Of the 3 focal points in this book, the third was the most interesting to me. No matter how promising the career, no matter how impressive the publications, and no matter how significant the research, a failure to abide by Darwinism is a career killer in almost any academic field. Those who defend "evolution" usually claim that their opponents are not "scientists" so perhaps the most important contribution of this book is to show what an outrageous lie that claim is. Not only are the critics of Darwinism scientists, but they are often top flight scientists who make important contributions in the field. Among the hundreds of examples Dr. Bergman provides, the cases of E. Norbert Smith, a pioneer in the development of radio telemetry for zoology, Raymond Damadian, inventor of MRI technology, and Guillermo Gonzalez, a prominent physicist formerly of Iowa State University, all provide sound evidence that subscribing to a belief system is of more importance than scientific accomplishments in today's academic environment. Indeed, the main value of this book is that it demonstrates the most common claim of Darwin defenders (DDs hereafter), namely that no scientists oppose their view, is not a fact. It is rather a statement of intent.
But Bergman's book is on somewhat weaker ground when it comes to explaining why those who disagree with Darwinian thought are the objects of discrimination. Bergman seems to feel that antipathy towards traditional western religions is a major culprit. And it is hard to argue with this conclusion, so far as it goes. Anyone who has spent any significant time in higher education is aware of the shockingly ignorant nonsense that passes for intelligent conversation when religion is the topic. And certainly, it is fun to watch Dr. Bergman skewer the hypocrisy of the DDs as they simultaneously maintain that no one could oppose "evolution" except on religious grounds, and then deny that they are engaging in religious discrimination (patently illegal) when they destroy the careers of those with whom they disagree. But I think the real problem is deeper, and if anything even more pervasive, than what Dr. Bergman describes, and the reasons are as much structural as they are based on the secular ideology that currently pervades academe.
In the first instance, it is hard to find a "religious" perspective on Darwinian thought. Yes, some fundamentalist groups are wedded to a literal interpretation of Genesis, and this puts them at odds with a lot of contemporary science. But anyone even remotely familiar with the literature on the subject knows that opposition to Darwin goes far beyond this sort of knee jerk defense of Genesis. On an NPR Science Friday debate, catholic biologist Kenneth Miller tried to get catholic biologist Michael Behe to agree with the proposition that "God" could have created with evolution. Behe, to his credit, was utterly uninterested in such blatant theological speculation. Yes, he noted, God could have created that way, but the evidence suggests He did not. For Behe, and I would add, having read many of the ID writers in this debate, theological concerns are somewhat secondary. Indeed, one could go further and suggest that in fact, certain trends in 18th century Anglican theology lay the groundwork for evolution, and it is unlikely Darwin's speculative findings would have ever been accepted but for this prior theological speculation. Today, of course, the only "religion" that is absolutely wedded to a position on Darwinism is atheism, which cannot allow for any non natural cause, no matter what the evidence may suggest, be it in cosmology, biology, or anywhere else. And as for the rest of us skeptics, our position is well summarized by agnostic David Berlinski. There are really only two reasons to doubt Darwinian Evolution: 1. It makes very little sense and 2. It is supported by very little evidence.
But if viewpoint discrimination is not fully adequate to explain the discrimination Darwin skeptics face, what is the best explanation? I think the answer here lies in an area Bergman never considered, namely the public funding of science and science education itself. Scientific progress is a good which many people in society think merits funding. It is one of the least controversial areas of government funding, along with "education" in general. The idea is that government is somehow a neutral arbiter of good science and good thought, and that public funding will promote these values. The problem, however, is that government is not neutral, and funding always comes with strings attached. Indeed, it is very easy for special interest groups to seize control of education and research funding just as special interest groups seize control of other regulatory features of government and use them to promote their own agenda. And criticism of Darwinian thought is hardly the only area where this happens. Left wing critics hoping to remake American culture have had great success tampering with, and often destroying, the literary foundation of the language arts class. 'The Language Police' by Diane Ravitch details this sorry state of affairs as classic literature has been systematically replaced with outright drivel as pressure groups try to influence young minds above and beyond state standards that they understand the proper pronunciation of vowel dipthongs. The result, people, especially recent graduates from the public education system, read less and less. No wonder. And one could go on and on. I personally know someone who, interviewing for a math position, was asked how they would use math to promote "cultural inclusion." The person was not asked how they would explain fraction concepts to children. In short, public education and publicly funded research is always open to manipulation by special interst groups. That some of these groups find Darwinian thought particularly useful to their own ends is hardly a surprise.
Nonetheless, many people reading this book will be shocked. There are basic principles involving fair play and censorship which are systemically violated in the attacks on dissenters. For my part, I am always on the side of those who find their academic freedom, speech, and livlihoods threatened by their political, scientific, philosophical, or religious views. Increasingly, these dissenters are from one or another part of the political right, if only because the political left finds it easier to work within the institutions of government to impose their ideology. But not always. I am personally on the side of Noam Chomsky whenever he gets a death threat for telling the truth as he sees it. I am even sympathetic to global warming fearmonger James Hansen when he gets an occasional public rebuke from his employers for falsifying data. I think people like Hansen are easier to expose when their views can be found in a public forum. And I am very skeptical of those who would try to systematically remove dissenters from academe. The implication is that the DDs cannot win in a public debate so they hope to avoid one instead. Hence the repeated insistence by Darwinists that "there is no debate" and my continued skepticism of any and all such proclamations. It is a skepticism that this book has furthered considerably.
Indeed, the question before us is simple: Is this truly an activity of "higher" education or actually a deliberate process chosen to dumb down our students? Dr. Bergman has answered that question in his excellent overview of the serious problem before us. There is a "religious" war being waged on our university campuses. It is a war against intelligent design advanced by those of the secular cult-like "religion" of the Darwinists.
Why have a policy of squashing academic discussion with those who dissent from the Darwinian cult--unless there is fear that the dissenters are gaining ground. How? By presenting the facts! As one who is fact-oriented, I believe Dr. Jerry Bergman is a leader in exposing the plan to destroy "independent thinking" in the academic community. If you want the truth, you've come to the right place.
Founder of Expert Custody Consultants
Award Winning Author of The Watchtower Files
Jerry Bergman's Slaughter of the Dissidents takes dead aim at assaults on the careers of Darwin doubters by institutions of higher learning. Bergman, a respected scholar and prolific science writer, represents more than the views of an unbiased observer---he himself is a battle-scarred survivor of academic trench warfare.
Dr. Bergman experienced academic discrimination by being denied tenure and ultimately suffering dismissal from a college faculty. He believes his academic "crime" to be tied to his questioning evolution theory, a dogma Darwin himself admitted to be "...a mere rag of an hypothesis ... I am quite conscious that my speculations run beyond the bounds of true science with as many flaw[s] & holes as sound parts."1
In the realm of politics and religion, a majoritarian power base doesn't take kindly to dissent whether in the realms of politics or religion, where off-message "heretics" have been silenced by the rack, the screw, the cross, hanging or burning at the stake.
Bergman's case study analysis suggests academia is not immune to suppressing dissent by figuratively "killing" careers of skeptical scholars who doubt Darwinian tradition. His 478-page treatise documents a litany of cases where scholars articulating intelligent design or the Genesis account of life's origin have suffered the sting of less-than-subtle intolerance in the form of blocked research funds, denial of admission to graduate programs, derailed earned degrees, blocked tenure, and unwarranted demotions.
In the context of academic freedom, has the science establishment "become so insecure" that it "can't bear a person who stands on principle" questioning evolution's suspect dogma?2 Is evolution's premise so shaky that it can't stand classroom comparison with alternate views? The scientific method lacks credibility where free and open investigation challenging tradition's status quo is denied.
Attempts to stamp out dissent expose power base insecurity, at sharp odds with academic freedom. Evolution theory has reason to feel insecure!
Darwin recognized his theory's "flaws and holes" by sheltering flimsy ideas in elaborate equivocations such as: "if we may trust these inferences...it is probable...if this has occurred...I think...best of my judgment...if this had been effected... perhaps..."
"Evolutionist G.A. Kerkut identified seven assumptions anchoring evo theory. Opinion built on assumption requires faith, and evo is faith-based, out-of-context with testable science."3 Reliance on "assumption" and "surmise," built on luck-of-the-draw coincidence, absent corroborative evidence, resembles obeisance to a faith-based religion.
"Assumptions" provide no cover for Darwin 's confession that "Science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life."4 Nor do "assumptions" explain just how DNA, corrupted by mutations, delivers entirely new and original genetic information essential to the "evolution" of millions of transitional life forms.
Bergman's studiously documented analysis provides chapter and verse confirming that intolerance is alive and well in intellectual sanctuaries where academic discretion reigns!
So what's with trampling on dissent and suppressing the adventure of exploration and discovery that might suggest the emperor has no clothes? What's to fear?
Serious scientists don't dispute the obvious that personal computers were designed by human brain collaboration. Then why would an enlightened academia censor an agenda open to discussion as to the possibility that an intelligence superior to mortal minds designed all things?
The judicial system offers a level playing field for the presentation of evidence advocating conflicting views. Should centers of higher learning do less? University forums betray academic freedom when they become knee-jerk propagandists for unproven assumption!
1---Charles Darwin letter to Asa Gray, cited by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin, (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1991) pp. 456 & 475.
2---These phrases paraphrase Anna Quindlen's comments in "This Is Important," Newsweek, September 29, 2008, p. 70. These comments were expressed by Ms. Quindlen in the context of current national politics and without any reference to academic freedom or to evolution.
3---Warren LeRoi Johns, Beyond Forever (CreationDigest.com, 2007) p. 10.
4--- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, p. 637.
Warren L. Johns, Esq. (ret.)
Author, Beyond Forever