Evolution in the News - October 2008
by Do-While Jones

Reiss Expelled

Ironically, just as Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” comes out on DVD, another example of persecution comes to light.

You probably missed seeing Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed when it was released to theaters last spring because not too many theaters chose to show it. I drove 90 miles to see it last spring because that was the closest theater showing it. It was worth the drive.

Now it is out on DVD. That means you can watch it in the privacy of your own home, without having to put up with other people clapping and cheering at various points in the movie.

The movie claims that academic freedom is being threatened by censorship of the science curriculum. Stein interviews several scientists who lost their jobs because they dared to question the theory of evolution.

We tend not to write about scientists who are persecuted by the scientific establishment (unless it is a high profile case) because we prefer to focus on science. But we do occasionally get email questions that basically ask, “If science is against evolution, then why isn’t the scientific evidence against evolution taught in schools?” The short answer is, “Because of censorship.”

When Ben Stein’s movie came out, the predictable response from evolutionists was that it was all lies. They say there is no persecution of anyone who questions evolution. Anyway, that’s what they tell the public.

But, behind the scenes, it is a different story. Let us share with you an email that we got last month from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

British Royal Society Official Resigns Over Creationism Controversy.

Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society in London, resigned from his position last week after some comments he made were construed as being supportive of teaching creationism as science. Reiss said that "when teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have...[and] have a genuine discussion. The word ’genuine’ doesn’t mean that creationism or intelligent design deserve equal time." He also said that the approach to teaching evolution in this way depends on the "comfort of the teacher...I don’t believe that such teaching is easy." Despite his caveats, some British media outlets and scientists accused Reiss of advocating the teaching of creationism in science class, and the Royal Society subsequently put out a statement saying that Reiss resigned because his comments were "open to misinterpretation" which "has led to damage to the Society’s reputation." 1

Technically, he resigned. He wasn’t really fired. But notice that he was “accused” of advocating the teaching of creationism, and that his comments damaged the Society’s reputation. And even though he tried to backpedal by saying that creationism doesn’t deserve equal time, he still had to go.

This was gleefully reported to all members of the AAAS, to assure them that any questioning of evolution would not be tolerated by the British Royal Society. It also conveyed the message that if any AAAS members were thinking of being so foolish as to express any doubts about the theory of evolution, it could happen to them.

There wasn’t even any kind of charade. They didn’t say Reiss resigned because he wanted to spend more time with his family, or he wanted to spend more time doing research. They admit he was forced to resign because he advocated academic freedom. He wanted students to be able to “raise doubts” and have a “genuine discussion” about the theory of evolution.

So, keep this in mind as you watch Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Academic freedom really is being threatened in America and Britain. Ben Stein isn’t making it all up.

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Footnotes:

1 AAAS Policy Alert, 25 September, 2008