In the post below Dr. Dembski brought the Abraham case to our attention and asked whether it is legitimate to fire an employee merely because of his beliefs as opposed to his job performance. The discussion rapidly deteriated into speculation about possible reasons Woods Hole might have terminated Abraham for poor performance. All of those speculations are idle and beside the point. Dr. Dembski asked, “Is it legitimate to fire someone because of their beliefs?” It is simply no answer to that question to say, “Well maybe they fired him for reasons other than his beliefs.”
The purpose of this post is to attempt to focus the discussion back on the issue Dr. Dembski raised, which is a very profound issue in my view.
A copy of Abrham’s federal court complaint is here. I would like to focus on the following sworn allegations:
16. Plaintiff’s work with Defendants focused on zebrafish developmental biology, toxicology and programmed cell death areas of reseach which required no acceptance, or application of , the theory of evolution as scientific fact.
17. Plaintiff at all times, before his employment began while helping to design and construct the lab and during his employment, performed exemplary work and was often praised and commended by [his supervisor] and other staff members for the quality of his research, commitment and scientific presentations.
20. Plaintiff assured Defendants that he was willing to analyze aspects of his research using evolutionary concepts if warranted . . . but his sincerely held religous belief did not allow him to accept the theory of evolution as a scientific fact.
30. Plaintiff was fired even though acceptance of evolution as scientific fact rather than theory (in contravention of his sincerely held religious beliefs) was in no way a bona fide occupational qualification of employment, was not previously mentioned or implied as a requisite for hiring, and was never listed among necessary critera for the advertised position by Defendants.
I am not saying these sworn allegations are true. We do not know if Abraham will be able to prove them at trial. However, in order to focus the discussion on the issue Dr. Dembski raised, all commenters to this thread should assume for the sake of argument that the sworn allegations are in fact true.
The debate question for this post is: “Assuming paragraphs 16, 17, 20 and 30 of Abraham’s complaint are true, Woods Hole’s termination of Abraham was wrong.”
71 Replies to “Abraham Redux: Please Focus on the Issue”
My answer: Yes. And so what?
Just as if the facts as Comer alleges are true, the firing of Comer was wrong.
Funny how nobody tried to rig that debate by excluding everything other than her account.
Barry, is it Abraham or Abrahamson?
This is an allegiance issue. Do scientists need to pledge allegiance to specified theories in order to gain and maintain employment?
pk4_paul, it is Abraham. The post has been corrected.
Abrahamson’s first name is not Nathaniel but either Ishmael or Isaac.
Getawitness writes: “Funny how nobody tried to rig that debate by excluding everything other than her account.”
I am not rigging the debate. I am focusing it. Now that the facts have been established at least for purposes of the discussion, you are free to take either side of the question. And as pk4_paul points out, it is a real question. I invite the Darwinists to argue for the negative.
You’re just mad because you can no longer indulge your postmodernist compulsion to wallow in factual incoherence and never resolve anything. If you are repulsed by clarity, you are free not to participate.
I love you too BarryA. XOXOXO
Seriously, why would “Darwinists” argue for the negative? It’s set up to be obviously in favor of Abraham. If we limit the facts to one person’s narrative, does that person have a point? Yeah. But that’s not the way things are in the world. That’s all I’m saying.
getawitness, all you need to do is justify the requirment of doctrinal allegiance on the part of scientists. If you establish that or its negation you will have addressed William Dembski’s larger point.
I would say it’s wrong to fire someone only on the basis of their beliefs. But I have some strange beliefs myself, so . . .
Whether it’s illegal is another matter, which I’m not qualified to comment on. As BarryA knows, first-year law students are regularly confronted with morally outrageous cases that are not legally actionable.
And yet, all the “skeptics” need to do is hear is a single narrative that a woman got fired for a emailing a talk by Barbara Forrest, and they’re all over wrongful termination.
And they don’t mind speculating on “what if” at the very least. As in what if Comer’s “insubordination” is only holding the line against ID.
By the way Barry, postmodern thinking isn’t so bad, you just have to apply consistency to the principles that you use, which I don’t find to be generally true of evolutionocrats.
If this holds then it should be OK to fire each and every atheist teaching religious studies.
Getawitness “As BarryA knows, first-year law students are regularly confronted with morally outrageous cases that are not legally actionable.”
Finally getawitness and I agree on something. That is part of the indoctrination (I use that word instead of “education” advisedly) one gets in law school. One wag once said that the closest American analogue to a Maoist thought reform camp is the first year of law school.
It might surprise you, getawitness, that the phenomenon to which you refer has its roots in Darwinism. Around the turn of the 20th century, Oliver Wendell Holmes touched off a revolution in American law when he decided to recast it on Darwinian principles. Part of that process was to get rid of the antiquated notion that law is based on an objective morality. That’s why law schools attempt to create a divide in their students’ minds between morality and law. I am not sure they are ever totally successful. I appear to have been immune; at any rate I was able to resist the brainwashing.
“If we limit the facts to one person’s narrative . . .” Your postmodernism is showing.
To your larger point, pk4_paul is right again. From their comments to the prior post I got the distinct impression that the Darwinists were willing to come on here and defend the negative. I guess not. I suspect the reason for this is that I’ve cut off their line of retreat. It’s easy to argue for a proposition if, when it is shown to be morally reprehensible, you can hide behind an assertion that you understood the facts differently.
Come on Darwinists (Barry said tauntingly). If you really think Abraham was disqualified to hold his job merely because of his beliefs and not his performance (which you clearly implied in the other thread), come in here and argue for the negative. I’m waiting.
I’m a big fan of diversity of viewpoints. I’ve got no problem with Kurt Wise, John Baumgardner, and that guy from Rhode Island whose name I forget (he was the subject of a NYT article earlier this year, and he’s now at Liberty U, where you can certainly get fired for your beliefs).
BarryA, I didn’t know that about Holmes. Thanks; that’s an interesting bit of history. The lawyers I know who went through that process found it very helpful in sharpening their ability to see the merits of a case on the law. I don’t think they found it undermined their morality.
There are pragmatic benefits to that training. For example, I bet it was someone who was appalled by such an example who got the first Good Samaritan law passed. (IIRC, a common hypothetical case used to be: Someone witnesses a person drowning. Can that person be arrested? And the answer was No. Good Samaritan laws change the answer.)
Also, the training helps you make good decisions. If you take cases based on morality rather than legal merit, you’ll lose a lot of cases.
I think it’s a good thing to separate law from morality to this extent: people find lots of things immoral that should not be illegal, simply because of the diversity of views in this country. I’m very glad, for example, that homosexuality and miscegenation are no longer illegal, though many people might still find both immoral.
jjcassidy writes: “By the way Barry, postmodern thinking isn’t so bad, you just have to apply consistency to the principles that you use, which I don’t find to be generally true of evolutionocrats.”
A consistent postmodernist jj??? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
Getawitness writes: “I think it’s a good thing to separate law from morality to this extent: people find lots of things immoral that should not be illegal, simply because of the diversity of views in this country. I’m very glad, for example, that homosexuality and miscegenation are no longer illegal, though many people might still find both immoral.”
You misunderstand the tenets of legal realism (the school Holmes founded). The legal realist would say there is no such thing as morality (at least in the sense of an objective standard of write or wrong) against which we can measure our legal precepts.
That is different from asserting that everything that is immoral should also be illegal. I don’t know anyone who believes that.
BarryA, thanks for that. I’m not a legal scholar by any means. I just have some relatives who went to law school. I’m like a prisoner who has access to a law library and files briefs from his cell. 🙂
Out of curiosity, where would John Rawls fall with respect to legal realism? His theory of justice isn’t really objective, but it seems to suggest something more or less universal.
For reference, the Constitution preserves these unalienable rights:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 1st Amendment, US Constitution
Requiring a belief in evolution would constitute “an establishment of religion”
See also Legal Annotations
I’ve never had much love for attorneys, Barry, but you make me want to take back some of those lawyer jokes I’ve told over the years. God bless you.
Gerry, I tell ’em too. What’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish? One’s a bottom dwelling scum sucker, and the other’s a fish.
DLH, Woods Hole is not a public entity, as getawitness pointed out earlier. Ergo, the constitution is not implicated.
Wow, this is becoming quite a hot topic!
But, for some clarification- it says he rejects Evolution – but this could mean macroevolution. Most hard-line YEC have no problem with microevolution- and it doesn’t seem evident to me that he had to subscribe to macroevolution to do his work. Evolution is not as simple as 1+1=3 (though 1 man and 1 woman together can equate to 3 :-P), the theory is a lot deeper. Saying he rejects evolution can mean alot, does he reject punctuated equilibrium, a definition of fittest, or simply humans’ descent. I mean, if I reject the notion of random in evolution, does this mean I reject evolution? Sure, evolution is a fundamental tenet, but what qualifies as evolution?
As far as I am concerned, there is no dispute between science and religion. And, anyone who subscribes to a god is a creationist (eg. god created it) despite the negative connotation. People who push the idea that science and god are mutually exclusive are voicing an opinion, not a scientific fact.
Bork, look at paragraph 20 again. Abraham was willing to accept evolution and work within the evolutionary paradigm even though he ultimately believed it was false. Therefore, it does not matter what the definition of evolution is. Whatever ya got; he was willing to work with it.
Thanks for the clarification that Woods Hole is not a public entity. However, the Constitution is the supreme law. For Abraham to file a federal suite, must not the relevant law be grounded on the constitution? It cannot be contrary to it. Does this rely on the commerce clause and/or the 14th amendment?
Well, it looks like everyone moved the party over here while I was out, so I will reiterate the comment I left on the other thread, though more succinctly.
To your question Barry, I will not argue against merely holding a belief being actionable. I would suggest that, to the extent that holding that belief causes the individual to act in such a way to negatively disrupts the productivity of the organization, or create a hostile work environment, then it is actionable. But merely holding the belief is not. And that is what Wood Hole will need to show, that Abrahams belief was disruptive to the productivity of the project. Given what I read of the case, it does not appear that Abraham was creating a hostile work environment.
BarryA cited the case against AT&T Broadband referring to the Rutherford Institute:
Institute Secures Victory for Religious Employee Fired by AT&T for Refusing to Sign Certificate of Understanding About Homosexuality
Gays and Straights in the Work Force: Tolerance for Other Viewpoints
Christian Rights in the Workplace
Guidelines On Religious Exercise and Religious Expression in the Federal Workplace
Encourage readers to review these further to commenting on these issues. In particular to addressing the law involved, vs feelings or preferences. From the Steinberg, Gonzalez, and Abraham cases, it appears that it was the employer creating a hostile workplace, not the employee refusing to do the work.
DLH, you seem to have already answered your own question. Abraham’s case is a Title VII (statutory) case, not a constitutional case.
The ACLJ also provides the following:
Information Letter: Filing a Claim for Religious Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Against a Private or Government Employer
Filing A Complaint With The EEOC
[ The EEOC polices the workplace by enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964… So be sure to document any discriminatory acts that are committed against you in the workplace…] http://www.aclj.org/news/Read.aspx?ID=736
BarryA, I see what you mean- that he was willing to accept a premise for work’s sake.
However, I was just wondering how much his views differed- as in there might not have even been a problem to start with. But, I do understand that this is a non-issue.
I was thinking about the one that goes, “It’s a pity when a busload of lawyers goes over a cliff – with one empty seat!” But as I said before, your posts have changed my mind about that empty seat.
Peter Irons replied to me offline. I will reproduce his reply paragraph by paragraph followed by my response.
PARA 1: Since I’m also a lawyer, let me respond lawyer-to-lawyer to your comments about the Abraham case. First, as you have conceded, WHOI is a private employer, not a government agency, and thus would be covered (if at all) by Title VII in employment discrimination cases (which would require, of course, exhaustion of administrative remedies with EEOC before filing a federal suit, which Abraham hasn’t done. He did file a complaint with the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination, but it was dismissed.
So, whatever case he may have in state court, the federal courts don’t have jurisdiction (and Goodwin Procter, as WHOI’s lawyers, certainly will move to dismiss on this–and other–grounds). But enough about jurisdiction, although you know that’s the first big hurdle.
RESPONSE: Peter, your jurisdictional argument indicates to me that you don’t seem to have experience in Title VII cases. Like most states, the Mass. Commission has a “work sharing agreement” with the EEOC under which a filing with the Commission satisfies the exhaustion requirement. If Mr. Proctor has any idea what he’s doing he will not waste time and money filing an obviously futile motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. As for the Mass. Commission’s finding, it most probably means that this case is not within the agencies enforcement priorities. That is one reason it will have absolutely zero precedential value in federal court.
PARA. 2: I’ve read Abraham’s complaint (as I assume you have) and its allegations are pretty thin. He alleges that he is a “Bible-believing Christian” (as you know, he’s a flat-out “six-day” YEC believer). But he nowhere alleges that he was discriminated against by WHOI because he’s a Christian (of any denomonation) but rather that he doesn’t believe in evolution. I don’t understand, by the way, why Abraham wasn’t up front about this when he applied for the Woods Hole job.
RESPONSE: You don’t seem to have read the complaint very closely. You say he never alleged he was discriminated against because of his Christian beliefs. Paragraph 29 flatly states that Woods Hole discriminated against him on the basis of his Christian beliefs.
Are the allegations “thin?” I don’t know. The story is pretty simple. Also, under the “notice pleadings” provisions of the federal rules of civil procedure, they will almost certainly survive a motion to dismiss. This is not to say that I know he will be able to prove his allegations. I don’t know anything about the case other than the bare allegations of the complaint, and of course allegations are just that.
I did not know he is a YEC. I’ve never heard of him before this morning.
Why was Abraham not upfront about his Christian beliefs when he applied for the job? Surely you are not suggesting that a person’s religious beliefs are remotely relevant to his qualifications as a scientist. I assume Abraham did not mention his YEC beliefs because they had nothing to do with the job he was applying for.
PARA 3: You and I will disagree about this, but from the WHOI description of the research project he was hired to work on, belief in evolution (even of zebrafish and their reactions to marine toxins) was a BFOQ for this job. As you said yourself, Barry (a veiled reference to Guillermo Gonzalez, perhaps?), “A physics professor who asserts bad physics is not performing the essential functions of his job (i.e., teaching good physics).” What’s good (or bad) for Gonzalez, I submit, is equally good or bad for Abraham.
RESPONSE: For our lay readers, “BFOQ” means “bone fide occupational qualification.” Mr. Irons is asserting that a BELIEF that blind watchmaker evolution is a proven fact (as opposed to a willingness to accept it as a scientific theory and perform one’s work within that paradigm) was an essential element of the Woods Hole job. You are correct. What a person believes in their heart of hearts is never a BFOQ for a scientific job. The only qualification that is important was whether Abraham had the credentials necessary to do the job (it is undisputed that he did) and that he PERFORMED the job competently. Assuming he performed the job competently (again, I do not know if he did), the beliefs he harbored in his heart of hearts cannot be the basis for termination (if those beliefs are compelled by a sincerely held religious belief).
As for the physics example I gave, I did not have Gonzales in mind. I was responding to an example where someone was teaching the earth is a cube instead of a sphere. If a teacher’s job includes a requirement that he teach the earth is a sphere and instead he teaches the earth is a cube, then he has performed his job poorly and grounds for dismissal exist. Conversely, if the teacher had actually taught that the earth is a sphere, all the while holding a religious belief that the earth is a cube, then there would be no grounds for dismissal.
PARA 4 AND 5: So, having read his complaint, here’s my take; it’s a piece of crap. He’s alleging “severe economic loss to date and future economic losses” (to the tune of $500K); “injury to professional reputation and future employment opportunities”; and “mental anguish and emotional distress” (he alleges he had to send his wife back to India after he lost the WHOI job and missed the birth of his first child).
You must be a good enough lawyer to realize these are bogus claims. First, he wasn’t out of a job long, and he’s now an associate biology professor at Liberty University (the late, unlamented Jerry Falwell’s fundie school), so we can assume he’s got a steady income. That also takes care of the “future employment opportunities” claim, and what proof could he offer that his “professional reputation” has suffered, if he got a full-time university job? He was an “at will” employee at WHOI and had no expectation of long-term employment, beyond the expiration (typically one or two years) of his post-doc position.
RESPONSE: All of the issues you bring up in these paragraphs go to damages, not liability. As such, they do not interest me in the slightest.
PARA 6: Since I’m a lawyer who looks past the “four corners” of complaints, here are some pragmatic factors. When Abraham filed his MCAD complaint, he was represented by Mike Johnson of Alliance Defense Fund, which is (despite my distaste for its gay-bashing) a firm with half-way decent lawyers. But Johnson bailed out after MCAD dismissed the complaint, probably smelling a loser case. So Abraham is now lawyered by David Gibbs of Christian Law Associates in Seminole, Florida (a sinkhole if there ever was one). Gibbs went down in flames in the Terry Schiavo case, and is, quite frankly, a terrible lawyer. Plus, the case is now before Joyce Alexander, a federal magistrate judge in Boston. She’s an African-American, highly experienced civil rights lawyer, placed on the bench by Jimmy Carter, and there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hades that she won’t dismiss this case.
RESPONSE: The stuff about the lawyers does not interest me. Your comment about the judge again suggests to me that you do not practice in the federal courts. Magistrate Alexander is, as you say, a MAGISTRATE judge. IOW, she’s an Article I judge, not an Article III judge. As such, she does not have the power to dismiss the case. For our lay readers, roughly speaking, a magistrate judge is kind of an assistant federal judge. The mostly deal with the procedural issues for a case as they make their way to trial. The do not get to actually decided the cases unless both parties agree.
PARA 7: You tell people on UD (some with very good questions) that they should assume the highly non-specific allegations in Abraham’s complaint are true. Okay, on a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (which the Goodwin Procter lawyers will promptly file) judges are required to assume the allegations are true. But what are these allegations? Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of “religion.” Perhaps Abraham’s “Bible-believing Christian” religion (whatever it is) tells him not to believe in evolution. But that’s irrelevant in this case. It was his professed lack of belief in evolution that led to his sacking. Devout Christians can (and do) believe in evolution just as much as atheists, and can work at WHOI, as I’m sure some Christians do.
RESPONSE: This is truly staggering Mr. Irons. You seem truly to believe that an employer should be able to fire an employee on the basis of his sincerely held religious beliefs even if those beliefs have absolutely no impact on his job performance. Well, I disagree. More importantly, that is clearly not the law.
PARA 8: But you can’t disbelieve in evolution and fit within the guidelines of Hahn’s research objectives, which his website lays out clearly: “The overall objective of research in our laboratory is to understand the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that underlie the interactions of marine animals with their chemical environment. Our general approach is to examine these mechanisms from a comparative/EVOLUTIONARY perspective….” (caps added).
RESPONSE: You assert your claim as if it were self evident. It is not. The very fact that Dr. Abraham was able to obtain a Ph.D proves that he is able to work within an evolutionary paradigm even though he does not believe in it.
PARA 9: You and Dembski raise the question of whether you need to believe in something to work on it (like a doctor who doesn’t believe in germ theory but treats patients with infectious diseases). IMO, this makes doing a good job awfully hard, particularly if the WHOI research culminates in papers that Abraham would join as co-author. If he were just a lab tech, washing beakers, that might be one thing, but to be a post-doc research scientist is another.
RESPONSE: Neither I nor Dembski used the “germ theory” example, which is, of course, so absurd that I will not bother responding to it.
As for the rest of what you say, in paragraph 17 of the complaint Abraham swears that his work at Woods Hole was praised and commended until this employer found out about his belief. If this is true, it certainly undermines your assertion does it not.
Its not that difficult to make up imaginative stories based on facts you doubt. You don’t have to believe your own stories to make them comport with with the imaginary facts.
Lemme see if I understand this correctly… a scientific research firm has canned a scientist because that scientist will not presuppose what the firm asks him to presuppose. Is that about it?
First of all, to directly answer the question asked, my answer is NO.
Now, I’m imagining what the classified ad would look like advertising for this position… seems like it might end with this:
“Objective scientists need not apply.”
Question is, how seriously should anyone take the research done at Woods Hole when it’s so obvious that, well, they’ve already got their minds made up about things, and aren’t open to any other possibilities?
Ironic, isn’t it?
This is an excellent point. And how much faith should we put in any research — no matter how many peer-reviewed papers are published — which presupposes that the blind-watchmaker thesis explains all of biological reality, when there is virtually no evidence that it does, and plenty of evidence that it doesn’t?
And how much faith should we put in any research — no matter how many peer-reviewed papers are published — which presupposes that the blind-watchmaker thesis explains all of biological reality, when there is virtually no evidence that it does, and plenty of evidence that it doesn’t?
Pay no attention to this annoying question. From now on job applicants shall be required to sign a doctrinal affirmation of faith. Not the Christian kind. No that will not do. Rather let them pledge their belief that blind forces of a mother nature not created by God generated that first putative cell oh so many billions of years ago through an unknown process about which we can explain virtually nothing. Let them further pledge their belief that evolution was not front loaded and gives no evidence of design or purpose. And finally let them pledge that no research efforts can possibly be interpreted as falsifying central tenets of abiogenesis or a belief that ID lies outside the boundaries of science. No amens are necessary.
I don’t believe the issues is “what the firm asks him to presuppose.”
It is “you must personally hold to that personal belief” regardless of your ability to objectively make that presupposition and perform and analyze accordingly, whether you believe that presupposition or not.
I can make a presupposition of materialistic naturalism and see if we can find a natural law that leads to DNA.
However, if I know about codes, and the requirement that material can only be encoded to the degree codons are freely interchangeable, and have evidence of intelligent agents using codes, then when I see DNA with its appearance of encoded information and apparent design, then I may realize that the materialistic assumption ensures that one cannot test for the existence of an intelligent agent, and that those who make such a presupposition cannot meaningfully comment on what they have excluded and cannot test.
I can then look at the efforts to find natural law that resulted in DNA and realize the futility of such testing. However, I could still objectively run the tests and analyze the results from a materialistic naturalism presupposition and get paid for it without personally believing that is possible.
However, if something does incorporate a code, and it has the appearance of such a code, then to test that hypothesis I logically need to allow for the possibility of an intelligent agent.
Correspondingly, I can still logically make that presupposition and test for evidence of intelligent causation, whether I believe such exists or not.
Conversely, if I hold to philosophical naturalism that there is no intelligent causation, then I probably would never dream of testing for intelligent causation. However, that would not prevent me from conducting the research and testing for that if told to do so.
The problem with Woods Hole is that they appear to have equated “being able to take data, and then analyze the results from an evolutionary viewpoint” with “a personal belief that evolution happened,” and consequently have wrongly dismissed Abraham due to that logical fallacy.
And how much faith should we put in any research — no matter how many peer-reviewed papers are published — which presupposes that the blind-watchmaker thesis explains all of biological reality, when there is virtually no evidence that it does, and plenty of evidence that it doesn’t?
Well stated, Gil. We need to start voting with our feet and eschew all but the medical advances that come from application of the ID paradigm.
BarryA quoted from the complaint,
Since presumably he would try to do the best job possible no matter what he does, he should have been taken at his word when he said that he was “willing to analyze aspects of his research using evolutionary concepts if warranted.”
Using evolutionary concepts might have required no more than, say, using an evolutionary tree to depict relationships between different organisms.
Was it necessary for him to tell the defendants that “his sincerely held religious belief did not allow him to accept the theory of evolution as a scientific fact” ? Maybe there should be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in biology labs.
Also, it has been suggested that he could hold a research paper “hostage” by refusing to be listed as a co-author if the paper supports evolution theory. IMO being listed as a co-author should not be interpreted as meaning that one agrees with everything in the paper.
A lot of scientific papers pay lip service to evolution theory when the theory contributed nothing to the research.
I say “no,” assuming that the word “wrong” means more than just “legal.” There is already far too much government intrusion in our lives.
The more interesting point is the disconnect between what Woods Hole actually does and its pro-evolution culture. This case clearly shows that science can get along just fine without Darwin.
No medical advances are the result of NDE theory. If I’m wrong, name one. Everyone accepts microevolution, and Darwinists are unjustified in trying to take credit for the discovery that bacteria develop resistance to drugs.
Darwinists are unjustified in trying to take credit for the discovery that bacteria develop resistance to drugs.
Wow. I did not know that. Who did discover it?
Poachy, you are right. I posted rashly in response to your sarcasm, which is never a smart thing to do. Certainly, we would never have discovered drug resistance to bacteria (or its causes) without the insights of Darwin’s theory. Can you post a URL that describes how NDE guided researchers in this discovery? Thanks.
Russ, You really don’t need to get all prickly. I am asking you a serious question.
The thing is, Title VII 42 U.S.C. §§2000e, which you cite, is unconstitutional on its face.
The 1st Amendment says, as plain as the nose on my face, Congress shall make no law… It restricts no one else. Not the states, not private citizens.
This is borne out by the 10th Amendment, which states, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
If Woods Hole is a private company funded by private resources, it should be able to hire and fire anyone it pleases for any reason whatsoever. I don’t care what the statute holds or what the Supreme Court has upheld. I can read English.
Poachy, I realized my post might have sounded prickly, but it was unintentional. Actually, my backtracking was sincere. I actually would like to know if there’s an account of how the discovery of antibiotic resistance was guided by NDE, since its offered up so often as a triumph of NDE.
I did find this counter-argument to the Darwin-gets-credit-for-AB-resistance-discoveries. I welcome rebutting evidence.
Here’s the URL for the above. Its been discussed here before, I think. http://www.theoryofevolution.us/
poachy- please read the following articles:
Is Bacterial Resistance
to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?
The “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” Myth:
An Empirical Study and Evaluation
Russ, that is interesting, but it doesn’t answer the question I asked. You said that Darwinists are unjustified in trying to take credit for the discovery that bacteria develop resistance to drugs and I asked who?
Poachy, here is another site that you may find interesting:
Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology
By: Philip S. Skell
Of special note:
Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
Please note this Poachy:
“such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides.”
neo-Darwinism is great at explaining any evidence you can throw at it after the it is discovered and is notorious for being unfalsifiable by any evidence that is discovered (need I say Cambrian). But as far as providing insights that lead to breakthroughs, this is just a another fairy tale that Darwinists use to prop up their empirically bankrupt theory in the face of the tax paying American public.
ID would be very interested in experiments that discover the exact limitations of Darwinian mechanisms when considered separately, and as combinations. How ‘s that for an ID research program?
A lot of science is not research but is philosophizing. For example, so far as I know, the theory of punctuated equilibrium was not based on any new research — it was just a new interpretation of old information.
This website is for scientists, scholars and clinicians working at the interface of evolution and medicine. While evolutionary biology has long provided a foundation for studies of antibiotic resistance and population genetics,
“Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.”
— Thomas Henry Huxley, 1885:
Can you enlighten me as to how “punctuated equilibrium” is not just an evolutionary gloss on an ID event – by those who recognize the evidence, but do not have the guts of Abraham to declare its true cause?
“OK, all I want to know then is, what does ID contribute to experimental biology?”
The TRUTH Dizzy,,, The TRUTH!
Although the scientific method and advances in technology are the main and primary force responsible for the majority of significant breakthroughs in science, having a more complete understanding of the truth enables breakthroughs to happen at a more rapid pace than when you have a false hypothesis leading you down wrong paths and wasting money, as neo-evolution is currently doing for science.
I have stated before that quantum non-locality is at a advanced enough stage, technologically, to allow many major breakthroughs in eradicating many pathogenic diseases by targeting specific “entangled” complex molecules of pathogens in the entire body of the victim at one time and thus destroying them all non-locally in one fell swoop.
The interpretation, of this coming breakthrough in treating diseases, will be severely clouded by the “materialistic” philosophy, But in the ID camp it will provide much food for thought in how the complex specified information was implemented into life in the first place.
Will either ID or neo-Evolution be able to take credit for the breakthrough? Although both camps would probably love to have this feather in their cap, the truth is that technological advances in man’s ability to manipulate large complex molecules, non-locally, is what will be the driving force to this breakthrough. Plus the very human desire to eradicate suffering will be the primary driving motivation to do as such quickly as possible.
It truly is funny, we always here about the scientist who make breakthroughs, but we never really here about the nameless engineers who enabled the breakthrough in the first place, by designing a state of the art piece of scientific equipment. In my opinion the engineer who designs the cutting edge scientific equipment should at least get as much billing as the scientists does for the breakthroughs he makes.
Russ & Poachy
Here are some clues: D’Alessandro and Buttiëns report :
History and importance of antimalarial drug resistance D’Alessandro U.; Buttiëns H. Tropical Medicine & International Health, Vol. 6, Nr. 11, Nov. 2001 , pp. 845-848(4)
The CDC states:
Happy hunting on who discovered it first.
Regarding Evolutionary Medicine, evolutionists need advocate evolution in medicine is remarkable. It is evidence of how unimportant evolution actually is in medicine.
See: Skeptics of the claims of Darwinian evolution, especially considering only 40% of medical doctors believe in evolution with no intelligent intervention.
Abraham’s case reveals how absolutely intolerant evolutionists are of any dissent or questioning of their dogma. Firing Abraham also reflects evolutionists deep insecurity.
PS “Plasmodiumfalciparum from SubSaharan Africa started showing resistance to this drug in late 1950s which was followed in other parts of the World1-4.” Genetic alteration in drug resistance markers of Plasmodium falciparum, Indian Journal of Medical Research, Jan 2005 by Sharma, Y D
* 1. Payne D. Spread of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. Parasitai Today 1987; 3 : 241-6.
* 2. Moore DV, Lanier JE. Observations on two Plasmodium falciparum infections with an abnormal response to chloroquine. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1961; IO : 5-9.
* 3. Wellems TE, Plowe CV. Chloroquine-resistant malaria. J Infect Dis 2001; 184 : 770-6.
* 4. Wongsrichanalai C, Pickard AL, Wernsdorfer WH, Meshnick SR. Epidemiology of drug-resistant malaria. Lancet Infect Dis 2002; 2 : 209-18.
I get it now. Since evolutionocrats don’t generally have mental dexterity, they don’t really believe it exists. That would explain a lot. So, you have to believe the stuff, because that’s the only way they know how to do it.
Here is one that shocked me out of my wits: Paul R. Gross, a former head of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, is a co-author — with Barbara Forrest — of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design and is also the lead author of the fanatically pro-Darwinist Fordham Institute Report on State Science Standards. As most of us know, Creationism’s Trojan Horse promotes the preposterous theory that Intelligent Design is part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA. Even though evolution education accounts for only 3 points out of 69 in the Fordham report’s rating system, Gross threatened to drop Ohio’s overall grade from a B to an F because of Ohio’s evolution lesson plan — see
The Fordham report has been used to pressure states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist science education standards.
So it should come as no surprise that this incident happened at Woods Hole. Small world, isn’t it?
The fact that Gross is a co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse and the lead author of the Fordham Institute report is one of the worst conflicts of interest that I have ever seen. Has anyone else been aware of this?
The other shoe drops:
Birds of a dishonest, abusive and oppressive feather, flock together!
Great catch Larry!
[And I notice you carrying on the good fight in the evo mat spin zones, charging straight up the mouths of the fast-fire evo mat spin guns.]
GEM of TKI
PS: If you doubt Larry, just Google the name of the book and that of the report, and see what that turns up. Larry is right as rain, and has been on the ball for a long time on this.
It appears that Mr. Irons is not only a smarmy lawyer, but a religious bigot to boot. I wonder whether he has made the trek to Virginia and danced on Falwell’s grave. As a quid quo pro, one might suggest that there’s still an empty seat on that bus full of lawyers.
I looked up the Alliance Defense Fund; it’s a family values law firm, which opposes homosexual marriage, and “gays in the military.” Presumably, gay bashing now means that one may not seek to preserve an institution that has served the human race well, albeit in a variety of forms, at least since Abraham was called out from Ur of the Chaldees, and when one is keeping an eye out for incoming lead, you have to cover your back also.
You have made the allegations drafted by an attorney and attested to by Abraham into Abraham’s own allegations. I think this is unfair to Abraham, but I will play along for the sake of argument.
For Abraham to frame the allegation in such terms is a sure sign that he is a scientific and philosophical cretin. In the language of scientists, a scientific fact is no more than a well-supported scientific theory. Whether or not the instruction sticks, most Americans attending public schools are told repeatedly that the “fact” in “scientific fact” does not have the plain-language meaning of “fact.”
If Abraham cannot demonstrate that his religious beliefs dictate that he diverge from his scientific colleagues in the meanings he assigns to two terms of art, scientific theory and scientific fact, then he has demonstrated low competence by harping on a distinction without a difference.
I emphasize that this may well be unfair to Abraham. The words are clearly his attorney’s, and not his. I would not guess that the attorney is a scientific cretin. He or she probably caught on to the meaning of scientific fact as a child, and is likely using the term fact equivocally to stir up a cloud of dust. My attorney friends admit to doing such things.
It appears that Woods Hole has reached the apogee of the fanaticism begun by Galileo in his joust with the Church. Prior to that incident, hypotheses were commonly seen as mere reasoning and/or calculating devices used to “save the appearances”, a philosophical position nowadays called instrumentalism. Note that “saving the appearances” had nothing to do with truth, it was nothing more than an intellectual game that did have practical consequences: for instance, you could predict eclipses. This instrumentalist approach had been used for millennia (for example, see Ptolemy’s Almagest, dated around 150 Anno Domini). This is exactly what Dr. Abraham in fact did; he treated Darwinian evolution ex hypothesi, operating within a tradition millennia old. (I think lawyers do the same kind of “for the sake of argument” thing in court on a daily basis. Barry could affirm or deny, I would accept his authoritative judgment.)
Now, Galileo sought to replace this instrumentalism with the notion that a hypothesis that “saves all the appearances” is the Truth (big T). Woods Hole seems to have called Galileo and raised him one. You are expected to believe the Truth of Darwin without any demonstration that the appearances are saved. I call this Gnosis, not science and it’s a science stopper.
Galileo dispute with the Church had nothing to do with science or any resistance to a change in thinking by the Church. Galileo undermined the authority of the pope who was in the midst of the 30 Years War and trying to deal with conflicts between two Catholic Powers, France and the Hapsburgs who were on opposite sides in the war.
As such Galileo had to be squelched because not for scientific reasons but for political ones as he took it upon himself that he knew best how scripture should be interpreted and this made it difficult for the Catholic Church in handling Protestantism which places a much higher importance on literal reading of the scriptures than the Catholic Church did.
Most fail to recognize that many of Galileo’s astronomy predictions were actually wrong as was a lot of his other theories. Kepler made better predictions and he preceded Galileo. The heliocentric theory was not fully supported till about 200 years later when the parallax problem was solved. What Galileo did best was formalize thinking on gravity which led to Newton’s laws some 30 years after he died. One could even argue that without Galileo’s work on gravity, we would not have had Newton’s laws so quickly.
It’s nothing but pedantry to say there is no such thing as a fact in science. Do you think it’s just a strong theory that water can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas? That’s a scientific fact. Science is chock full of what anyone but a pedant would call facts. Historic biology is really hypothetical if you want to be precise about it – it doesn’t even rise to the level of theory to say nothing of considering it to be a fact such as the solid, liquid, and gas phases of H2O.
Galileo’s run-in with the Church had everything to do with the Aristoleans at the universities who did not want their world-view challenged. It was those academics who convinced the Church that their world-view and the Bible were in-sync. And it was they who had the Church go after Galileo.
I am sorry but that is not in sync with what happened. The pope was a personal friend of Galileo and approved the printing of his book and supported his work if he would make the stipulation that it was a hypothesis yet to be proven. That way there would be no pressure on how scripture should be interpreted at the moment which was in the middle of a major war between Catholics and Protestants. In the book Galileo had a dialog between three people and one was portrayed at a simpleton and that is where the pope’ hypothesis stipulation went, into the mouth of a simpleton.
There was a fight between the French and the Hapsburgs going on at the time and The French wanted to replace the pope and were using this dispute as part of their campaign to replace the pope. The French Catholic were helping the Protestant Germans fight the Catholic Haspburgs. It was all about power and politics and nothing about science. Galileo’s book came out in the midst of this fight and made the pope look like a simpleton when in fact the pope had supported Galileo in his scientific efforts.
The theory of the day that fit the data the best was that of Tycho Brahe which was geo centric. Brahe data was better than Galileo’s data. Kepler’s data was even better but not as well know. Galileo knew of Kepler but did not use it. He also knew of Brahe’s data which was better than his. Also no one could solve the parallax problem nor the wind problem. A rotating earth had to be spinning a 1000 miles per hour at the equator and this should have generated huge winds but there were none and these two phenomena supported a geo centric solar system. Eventually these would be solved but not for a long time. The parallax problem was solved in 1838. So until that time Galileo’s ideas were just a hypothesis and his particular one was a bad one.
Galileo was very smart but an arrogant a–hole who was full of himself and pushed the wrong way too hard and was justifiably shut down. He essentially thought he could undermine a pope during a major war. He was sentenced to a cruel life in the comfy chair at his luxurious estate.
We owe a lot to Galileo including his finding of Jupiter’s moons and that they revolved around Jupiter and thus supported the Comperican theory. However, Galileo’s greatest achievments were in gravity.
The following is from The Crime of Galileo:
“It has been known for a long time that a major part of the church intellectuals were on the side of Galileo, while the clearest opposition to him came from secular ideas.”
The following is a review of the book:
See also Galileo and the Church:
Wow it looks like what I originally stated is in-sync with what happened. Go figure…
Solid, liquid, and gas are labels scientists have assigned to observed states of matter. A defunct scientific fact is that all matter is in exactly one of those states. Physicists have found it useful to designate various other states. Given the proliferation of names for states of matter, it is conceivable that there will come a day when physicists find it useful to adopt a simpler nomenclature. The states might be defined as properties of fundamental stuff like strings (not to say that string theory is viable). We have no basis for saying that solid, liquid, and gas will have any more scientific utility over the long term than earth, air, fire, and water.
People know the fact (in the plain-language sense of fact) that water may be solid, liquid, or gas by a process that stands outside of science proper. The scientific fact is a matter of definition, but the corresponding fact is taken as reality. Interestingly, the scientific fact that most matter in the visible universe is in the plasma state has no reality for most people. It used to be that stars were made of gas, but now they’re “really” made of plasma. People often believe facts that derive from outdated scientific facts.
These considerations should not seem like mere pedantry to Nathaniel Abraham, whose doctorate is in philosophy.
That happened in 1615. He was given a mild censure in 1615. Galileo was sentenced 18 years later by the Inquisition in 1633 to house arrest for a book that was written that year and was in the middle of the 30 Years War and purposely made the pope, his friend, look bad. It turns out a lot of the science in his book was bad but he wanted to reinterpret scripture anyway which was a source or real tension then.
I suggest you get two courses from the Teaching Company by scholars in the History of Science. Most are available form local libraries. Each debunks the claims that Galileo was hounded or unfairly sentenced. He was told to not claim his ideas were theories but hypotheses. The popes and most of the powerful cardinals were his friends and he repaid them by disobeying them on how he was to present his ideas.
The two Teaching Company courses are “Science and Religion” by Lawrence M. Principe from John Hopkins. and “Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It ” by Stephen Goldman of Lehigh and probably one of the most knowledgeable professors in the country on the history of science. He is a fountain of information about just everything having to do with science. Goldman spends a half hour on Galileo and Principe spends an hour on the controversy.
Goldman on the Teaching Company website says about Galileo; “But the church was actually correct that he had no basis for claiming the heliocentric theory was true, rather than simply an interpretation of experience.”
Here is what is said on Principe’s Teaching Company website “Moving from the early centuries of the Christian era and the Middle Ages to our own day, he exposes the truth about the Galileo Affair…”
As I said Galileo was an arrogant a–hole. In England they would have had him beheaded for making the king look bad. In Florence he only got house arrest during a time of major crisis.
—–Jerry, writes, “As I said Galileo was an arrogant a–hole. In England they would have had him beheaded for making the king look bad. In Florence he only got house arrest during a time of major crisis.’
This is true. He pushed the envelope almost to the point of a dare, stepping out of his role as scientist and claiming theological expertise. He even presumed to reinterpret the meaning of scripture so that it would harmonize with his yet-to-be-confirmed theory, even as the Church was fending off charges about not taking scripture seriously. He was doing the very thing that he had promised not to do. The politically correct versions of this event are spectacularly misleading.