Monday, March 21, 2005

Science's new heresy trial

Science's new heresy trial: "Mr. Meyer submitted his paper to the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a scientific journal affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of Natural History. The editor, Rick Sternberg, a researcher at the museum with two Ph.D.s in biology, forwarded the article to a panel of three peer reviewers. In scientific and other academic scholarship, submitting research to the judgment of other experts in the field ensures that published articles have genuine merit. Each of the reviewers recommended that, with revisions, the article should be published. Mr. Meyer made the revisions and the article was published last August.

Whereupon major academic publications—Science, Nature, Chronicles of Higher Education—expressed outrage. The anger was focused not on the substance of the article, but on the mere fact that a peer-reviewed scientific journal would print such an article.

So the wrath of the Darwinists fell on Mr. Sternberg, the editor. Although he had stepped down from the editorship, his supervisors at the Smithsonian took away his office, made him turn in his keys, and cut him off from access to the collections he needs for his research. He is also being subjected to the sectarian religious discipline of 'shunning.' His colleagues are refusing to talk to him or even greet him in the hallways.

His supervisors also staged an inquisition about Mr. Sternberg's religious and even political beliefs. Mr. Sternberg, who describes himself as a Catholic with lots of questions, has filed a case alleging discrimination not just on the grounds of religion but 'perceived' religion."

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