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Journal editor attacked for publication of article on intelligent design

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  • arbible
    Attacks on journal editor raise questions about academic freedom and intelligent design Washington DC, Nov. 11, 2005 (CNA) - The editor of a small, scientific
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2005
      Attacks on journal editor raise questions about academic freedom and
      intelligent design
      Washington DC, Nov. 11, 2005 (CNA) - The editor of a small,
      scientific journal, loosely associated with the Smithsonian
      Institute, has come under tremendous fire recently, for his
      publication of an article supporting the theory of Intelligent
      Design--and he doesn't even believe the theory himself.

      Intelligent design, the burgeoning theory which suggests that the
      universe is too complex to have been created at random, and that an
      intelligent hand lies at its genesis, has garnered considerable
      attention in recent months.

      The attention largely comes from two U.S. school districts who want
      (or don't want) to include a note about the theory as an alternative
      to certain aspects of evolution in their biology classrooms.

      Richard Sternberg, a staff scientist at the National Institutes of
      Health, found himself at the center of the debate over science and
      academic freedom when he published an article by university
      professor and Intelligent Design proponent Stephen Meyer last year.

      Meyer, a Cambridge-trained professor at Palm Beach Atlantic
      University and Senior Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute, a
      think tank for determining the place of a creator in the universe,
      wrote the peer-reviewed article called, "The Origin of Biological
      Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories."

      According to National Public Radio, Sternberg published the piece,
      despite his skepticism "because evolutionary biologists are thinking
      about this. So I thought that by putting this on the table, there
      could be some reasoned discourse. That's what I thought, and I was
      dead wrong."

      Sternberg, who edits the small, Proceedings of the Biological
      Society of Washington, reports that not only were his colleagues
      furious, but some tried to smear his scientific reputation by
      accusing him of fraud and saying that the piece was not really peer-

      He filed a complaint with U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which
      protects federal employees, but after investigating--and backing up
      many of Sternberg's claims--they decided they could not take action
      because he was not technically an employee of the Smithsonian.

      While Sternberg's critics say that no real harm was done to him, the
      incident highlights what many see as a hypocritical attack on
      academic freedom from strict evolution proponents.

      Many supporters of intelligent design hold and admit that while it
      is widely accepted and largely unquestioned, Darwin's theory of
      evolution contains serious holes which defy explanation.

      Terry Mattingly, a religion writer for the Scripps-Howard news
      service recently criticized an article in the Columbia Journalism
      Review which suggested that "all the [evolution] critics are
      religious nuts and there is no need to take their claims seriously
      or present their arguments accurately."

      Earlier this year, Vienna's Cardinal Christof Shoenborn wrote in a
      New York Times editorial that, "Any system of thought that denies or
      seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in
      biology is ideology, not science."

      Evolution, in the sense of common ancestry may be true, the Cardinal
      wrote, but neo-Darwinism, or what he describes as "an unguided,
      unplanned process of random variation and natural selection", is
      completely false in the eyes of the Church.
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