Two items appear below:

1   Kitty Foth-Regner
2   John H Williams

Why "all" scientists seem to believe that evolution is fact

By Kitty Foth-Regner

(Investigator 134, 2010 September)


Take it from world-renowned evolutionary atheist Richard Dawkins: "One thing all real scientists agree upon is the fact of evolution itself," he wrote in the November 2005 issue of the American publication Natural History. "It is a fact that we are cousins of gorillas, kangaroos, starfish, and bacteria. Evolution is as much a fact as the heat of the sun."

Well, then, it's settled. All real scientists agree, after all. It must be so.

Just one problem, Professor Dawkins: It turns out there are literally thousands of real scientists who have publicly proclaimed their doubts about Darwinian evolution. And no doubt there are many thousands more who keep their doubts under their hats – for good reason, it turns out.

That reason is revealed in horrifying detail in Dr. Jerry Bergman's eye-opening book, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters (Leafcutter Press, 2008). In it, Dr. Bergman describes the discrimination experienced by more than a dozen Darwin-doubting American scientists, primarily in academia. And we're not talking insults delivered at the water cooler. These men and women have been denied tenure and awards, forced out, fired, blackballed, even subjected to death threats – not because of what they did or said, but because of what they believe.

Dr. Bergman experienced this sort of Orwellian discrimination himself in the late 1970s; he had become disillusioned with Darwinism, and lost his job at Bowling Green State University for saying so. Professor Dawkins would no doubt try to slap the "not a real scientist" label on him. But it wouldn't stick, because Dr. Bergman:

•    Has nine college degrees – two of them Ph.D.s – from the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University, The University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University.
•    Has taught college-level biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology for more than three decades.
•    Is currently adjunct associate professor and research associate at the Medical University of Ohio and professor of Biology and Chemistry at Northwest State Community College.
•    Has 800 publications appearing in 12 languages, including 30 books and monographs, and has contributed to dozens of textbooks.
•    Has presented over 100 scientific papers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

In fact, the "not a real scientist" label doesn't fit any of the Darwin doubters whose cases are presented in Slaughter of the Dissidents.

Some of these scientists have already gained recognition through the amazing documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed; Dr. Bergman picks up where Expelled host and narrator Ben Stein left off, delving more deeply into the cases of Caroline Crocker and Guillermo Gonzalez.  He also introduces his readers to many other highly qualified scientists who saw their careers derailed when their doubts about Darwinism came to the attention of their superiors.     

So aside from their personal sacrifices, what's the harm?

Dr. Bergman points out that so far, the majority of Americans still side with the Darwin doubters. Surveys indicate that at least 44% believe God created the earth and all the basic kinds of life, another 38% fall somewhere along the continuum between creationism and theistic evolution, and only 9% are pure evolutionists.

But as the product of the American public school system – including a journalism curriculum teaching, as far back as the ‘70s, that what we can't see is a figment of our imaginations – I worry about my own exhaustively educated generation, and those of the future. Now that atheistic Darwinism is the only subject that can be safely taught in our schools and universities … now that even a whiff of sympathy for Intelligent Design is punishable by immediate dismissal … and now that the God of the Bible has been booted clear out of public life … what will become of our biblically ignorant citizenry not only in this life, but far more importantly, in the life to come?

Dr. Bergman provides suggestions for supporting the fight to restore academic freedom in this country, but it seems like an uphill battle. The politically correct evolutionary worldview is championed by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State; such groups are always standing by, ready to snuff out any suggestion of a Designer with lawsuits that few schools can afford to fight.

Darwinism is also part of the mainstream news media's dogma, as readers of most daily newspapers can attest – and as Dr. Bergman demonstrates again and again.

Take, for instance, the case of Rod LeVake, a Minnesota biology teacher who was removed from his high school biology class because he dared to criticize Darwinism. Incredibly, at least one national news magazine felt compelled to weigh in on his case. "Time portrayed creation-believing scientists as an almost non-existent minority," Dr. Bergman reports, "claiming ‘reputable scientists who agree with LeVake can be counted on one hand' … Time went so far as to portray Mr. LeVake as a hillbilly."

No wonder we creationists and Intelligent Design advocates are so often mocked by the highly educated, who greet any suggestion of an alternative to Darwinism with some version of: "Real scientists believe in evolution!"

Now, thanks to Dr. Bergman's efforts, we can at last explain why that may seem to be the case: Darwinism appears to be the prevailing worldview because it is the only one that is allowed in our classrooms, on our campuses, on the pages of our mainstream newspapers and the lips of mainstream broadcast reporters.

I finished Slaughter of the Dissidents more convinced than ever that it's time for those of us who care about academic freedom – and about proclaiming the truth of the Bible – to fight this unconscionable censorship. Read this outstanding book, and you'll no doubt agree.

Kitty Foth-Regner is a freelance writer and the author of Heaven Without Her (Thomas Nelson 2008) – a memoir describing how, in the wake of her beloved Christian mother's death, creation science pointed her to the truth of the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  edgarsfan@aol.com

 

               
         
"MORE CONVINCED THAN EVER"
                 
John H Williams

(Investigator 135, 2010 November)


The review of Dr Jerry Bergman's Slaughter of the Dissidents by American contributor Kitty Foth-Regner (#134) is an example of confirmation bias — once we've formed a view we subconsciously emphasise information which reinforces it and downplay or ignore contradictory information. It's impossible to be totally objective and disinterested; confirmation bias is a subversive behavioral flaw because it may prevent us finding the truth about an issue, allowing us to remain in our preconceptions and prejudices.

I'm convinced about the vast majority of what comprises good science while acknowledging the 'known unknowns', the likelihood of misconceptions, and of changes brought by challenging new data. I admit to some confirmation bias, but I watch out for bad science or pseudoscience, await discoveries and renewed scientific debate, and invite rebuttal.

Ms Foth-Regner, a (Young Earth) creationist believer in Intelligent Design (ID), states that "real science confirms Genesis, not Darwin" but it "doesn't get a hearing in our schools, which have been teaching anti-science worldviews", with students "learning only evolutionary fairy tales". One wonders what she means by "real science" and presume that it's different to what is generally understood as science, which is inherently secular, doesn't indulge in fairy tales, and is demonstrably dogma-free.

She's a writer, journalist and copywriter, and her review is pitched to a Christian readership. She's unhappy about a 'subject' she calls "atheistic Darwinism" and is sweepingly dismissive of those who give "Darwin-doubters" (creationist scientists) a hard time. If she'd had some familiarity with Darwin's life she'd know that he was the 'greatest' of the Darwin-doubters! He independently presented the same theory involving natural selection as Alfred Wallace, one still valid especially now that we know so much more about evolutionary biology and what's known as the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis.

Her very first line set the tone, describing Richard Dawkins as an "evolutionary atheist", when he's a world-class biologist, ethologist and evolutionary scientist, whose job, until 2008, was Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science – hence his role in taking on creationism – and who also happens to be a well-known atheist.

By contrast Dr Bergman is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) and promoter of ID first and foremost, while his alter ego operates as a scientist: this is what Dawkins alludes to in his quoted phrase, "all real scientists agree".

Long-time Investigator readers are quite familiar with Dr Bergman, a prolific writer and degree-collector. Since the late 1990s he's had ample opportunity to explain his version of a 6,000 year old world for this magazine, but when repeatedly challenged by me (the latest in #127) to do so, no response has been forthcoming. If the scientific evidence for creationism is so abundantly clear, why is it conspicuous by its absence?

Bergman leads a 'double life' as a "biologist, geneticist, chemist, biochemist, anthropologist and microbiologist" and as a relentlessly active, heavily involved creationist. He's teased skeptical Investigator readers by promising explanations but not following through, given examples of creationist scientists (Galileo, von Braun) or a former atheist (Flew) who's become a deist, and misrepresented natural selection as "survival of the fittest" (in #129).

Several years ago Dr Bergman contributed a chapter as a biologist for In Six Days, and quoted biblical passages to support his belief that a mythical 'Adam' was "instantaneously" created. Is this behaviour consistent with the 'real scientist' that Ms Foth-Regner extols? For those not au fait with the science of the supernatural, could the 'biologist' bit of Dr Bergman please provide evidence for that miraculous event?

Ms Foth-Regner regards Dr Bergman as an elite scientist (yet to be demonstrated) and a hero-apologist of creationism and 'creation science' (which he is). Her review was first published online in Discerning Reader (19/5/2010), a self-confessed Christian site, which is "dedicated to promoting books that bring honor to God", while "it tries to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring God".

The statistics she quotes ("at least 44% of Americans believe God created the earth and all basic kinds of life") are irrelevant, and constitute argumentum ad populum. She may be aware of a Gallup poll which reported that "57% of Americans also believe in UFOs, 54% in angels, 51% in ESP, 39% in the devil, 29% in astrology and 10% in ghosts and witches", and a recent poll has shown that 20% of Americans believe that their President is a Muslim!

A review writer ought to be impartial and disinterested, which in this case doesn't apply since Ms Foth-Regner was a "guest reviewer" who was guaranteed to give a fulsome tick of approval. Discerning Reader is pro-creationist, anti-evolution and pro-God, so it's no surprise that she found herself "more convinced than ever"!

I've not read Slaughter of the Dissidents or seen Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, so am unable to critique them. However, I'd advise a healthy dose of skepticism, having begun researching the case of Minnesota biology teacher Rod LeVake. There is substantial criticism of Expelled on the net such as Expelled Exposed. I strongly recommend a few hours on the Amiable Atheist and Bay of Fundie websites for insights into Bergman's book and into Ms Foth-Regner's beliefs — especially illuminating when she enters into a dialogue with 'Mr Amiable'. Bergman's dissertation-size (thus disallowed) blog reply to Bay of Fundie is a classic!

The truth behind the fiction promoted by Dr Bergman and Ms Foth-Regner is not about the scientific validity of creationism, but part of a culture war being waged, primarily in the USA, between the conservative/fundamentalist right and the liberal left. The former characterise evolutionary science ("Darwinism") as akin to atheism, communism, fascism and societal decline, in attempting to return the Christian (Designer) God to classrooms, thus saving America sliding down "the path of doom". The strategy is to attack 'Big Science' persistently, distort it, produce anti-science propaganda such as Expelled, dumb down the debate, cry foul over academic freedom, and pursue a non-rational agenda.

Apropos her conspiracist whinge about the "unconscionable censorship" of creationism, I refer Ms Foth-Regner to a salient example: the 2005 Dover School debacle. Following its defeat the on-going spin of the Discovery Institute and its "real scientists" applies the polish of faith, while having at core the misrepresentation of science, history-denial, loaded and emotive language, pseudoscience, substitute logic, fake ‘evidence' and the crushing burden of being comprehensively wrong.


REFERENCES

Amiable Atheist:
http://amiable-atheist.blogspot.com/2008/08/response-to-kitty-foth-regner.html
Bay of Fundie: www.bay-of-fundie.com/archives/410/how-the-fallen-have-fallen
Discerning Reader: http://www.discerningreader.com/about
Expelled Exposed, Michael Shermer, Scientific American, May 2008


http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/