ID folk, Michael Egnor says, know how to survive Cancel Culture while doing meaningful work. Now the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis has intensified everything for everyone else. Can we help them understand?:
Perhaps the most terrifying characteristic of this collapse is the precipitous loss of ordinary civility and ordinary conventions of interpersonal conduct. Diversity of opinion is not tolerated, and dissenters from the mob are routinely hounded out of their jobs. Groupthink is mandatory in many sectors of our society, particularly (ironically) in academia. Simply to speak up to question orthodoxy is to invite professional and even personal ruin. It is undeniable that there is a totalitarian flavor to this forced orthodoxy.
For those of us in the intelligent design movement, this is not new. This emerging Orwellian society is just a grand version of the Orwellian science we ID folks have been dealing with for the past couple of decades. In science, and especially in evolutionary biology, there has been a progressive loss of ordinary civility and ordinary conventions of scientific conduct. Challenging Darwinian groupthink in the biology community — merely asking questions about the adequacy of Darwinian theory to explain all of life — is professional suicide. Diversity of scientific opinion is not tolerated, and dissenters from the Darwinian mob have been hounded out of their jobs. Simply to speak up to question Darwinian orthodoxy is to invite professional and personal ruin — subjecting Darwinian orthodoxy to an objective discussion of the evidence is unthinkable in most public schools — and scientists — professional colleagues who should be devoted to academic freedom and open discussion — will testify that you should be silenced by legal force.Michael Egnor, “A Note from the Canaries” at Evolution News and Science Today
Of course Darwinians want legal force! At this point, their diktats have little relevance to nature.
Tenured Darwinian mediocrities now flourish best when doubt is forbidden and punished. Intellectual freedom is to them what bleach is to microbes. Can’t have too little of it.
Egnor goes on to stress the importance of recommitment to intellectual freedom and he is right.
But there is another dimension that we may not have examined and I (O’Leary for News) would welcome a discussion of it:
At one time, a university education was a prized opportunity to be part of an intellectual elite. Academic freedom was a club rule because it served well in the days when Einstein and Bohr, to name just two, provided us with a much better understanding of physics by overturning all that we thought we knew in certain areas. One could multiply examples.
To end various types of discrimination, we decided to make university education available to a much larger group of people. Overall, the results have been good. Surely no one would want to go back.
But a difficulty has arisen: Once university education becomes a simple requirement to hold down a job somewhere, intellectual freedom wanes as an important commitment.
For example, the dull, union-protected science teacher just wants to bark Darwin in peace. He is glad for a court judgement that creates a legal obligation to bark at his class in peace. Intellectual challenges have always frightened him and he has now acquired a right not to be challenged. Count on it, he’ll be out on the barricades to protect that right.
And he honestly believes he is advancing science…
Sure, it works for him. But for the history of ideas, not so much. Protecting intellectual freedom is protecting our future as a civilization based on ideas. One must choose.