Saturday, February 17, 2007

A critic of censorship....

Michael Egnor, neuroscientist and ID supporter commenting to a journalist:
One of the things that has flipped me to the ID side, besides the science, is the incivility of the Darwinists. Their collective behavior is a scandal to science. Look at what happened to Richard Sternberg at the Smithsonian, or at the sneering denunciations of ID folks who ask fairly obvious questions that Darwinists can't answer.

The most distressing thing about Darwinists' behavior has been their almost unanimous support for censorship of criticism of Darwinism in public schools. It's sobering to reflect on this: this very discussion we're having now, were it to be presented to school children in a Dover, Pennsylvania public school, would violate a federal court order and thus be a federal crime.

I know what you're going to say: 'but criticizing Darwinism from the perspective of ID in schools violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause'. The Establishment Clause was written to prevent the establishment of a national denominational church, such as the Church of England, that would suppress other denominations. Do you honestly believe that this discussion we're having now, which is just the kind of discussion of Darwinism that Judge Jones banned in Dover, establishes a national church? Which denomination? It's a vapid argument.

In distorting the Establishment Clause beyond recognition, Judge Jones ignored the First Amendment clause that most of us (and especially journalists) feel is at least as important as the Establishment Clause: the right to freedom of speech. Jones censored this discussion in public schools, using the enforcement power of the federal government. Not a peep from science journalists about freedom of speech. Not a peep.

The discussion we’re having now is obviously scientific, not religious. Journalists and scientists should be the first to speak out against criminalization of scientific discussion in any arena. In this debate, they seem to have no problem with it. You (Mike Lemonick) should be ashamed of your silence about (or even support for) this kind of censorship.

Not a single notable Darwinist, to my knowledge, stood up for freedom of speech. If things were reversed, I and most of my ID colleagues would strongly oppose criminalization of this discussion in any forum, even if it would further the ID point of view. Censorship, enforced by criminal sanctions, never has a place in science, in any venue. All scientists, and journalists, should agree that.

If you want us to all get along, stop making discussion of our side of the argument in schools a federal crime.
(From the science blog of TIME)

He argues well in the thread.

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