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Friday, November 25, 2005

Physicist: "I was personally ridiculed and insulted" by braying herd of Darwinists

I received an e-mail from a physicist whom I will call Dr. Z, who agreed to participate in a forum discussing intelligent design, in order to help out a colleague whom he knows to be a worthy scientist. This is Dr. Z's account, with names left out at his request. (I know all the names and have all too little doubt that his account is a slice of life.):

I agreed to participate in a forum on ID here. I had expected better from the colleague who was the organizer, but I have since learned that he is a devout fan of the ACLU. What happened was very different from what I was told to expect.

I was personally ridiculed and insulted. One colleague, started his tirade saying that I had a lot of nerve as a physicist challenging him to a debate - of course he knew very well that what he was saying was not true.

I had been invited to the event and I had agreed on the condition that it was not a debate but a panel discussion where the emphasis would be on hearing the different perspectives and on responding to questions from the audience.

In contrast to the supposed plan, the two fundamentalist darwinists took all the time with their personal testimonies, ridicule and blasphemy, and a slide show showing how a combination of the fossil record and something close to "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" (he showed something akin to Haeckel's embryos) are ample proof of darwinism.

I was not given time to respond. I have never faced such blatant hostility and dishonesty at the hands of colleagues before. At the end Dr. X, for whom the mere fact that I am a Christian proves that I have nothing to say, came up just to gloat a bit. I have been in conflict with him since I spoke up in defense of Dr. Y.

Anyway, I evidently won a moral victory since several "freethinkers" emailed me after the event and said that the behavior of these colleagues, and the contrast to the way I responded, made them ashamed to be atheists. That was some consolation. During the Q/A I did get to
say a few things- just in case someone was listening.

Now I get phone calls from newspapers asking for comments. I am not sure where it will end because the dean of my college is an evolutionary biologist and is doing much to build up our biology department in that direction. I noticed a large segment of the biology faculty in the
"freethinker" audience. Several were verbally abusive.

The philosophical absurdity of Dr. X's petition [against Dr. Y] is recognized by some of my colleagues in various departments, but I guess I can't be surprised that none of them wants to challenge (or face) his tactics.

Actually, you should be surprised, Dr. Z. Or anyway, act like you are. People who put up with arrogant bullies when just a little effort would send them packing have only themselves to thank when they themselves are the next victims. Bullies don't just go away; they must be encouraged to leave. The best way to encourage them is to refuse to accept or reward their tactics.
If you like this blog, check out my award-winning book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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