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+--Forum: After the Bar Closes...
+---Topic: Smithsonian "discriminated" against ID scientist started by MidnightVoice


Posted by: MidnightVoice on Jan. 05 2007,09:04

< http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/38440/ >


A recently released Congressional report accuses senior officials at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) of having harassed, discriminated against, and retaliated against research associate and journal editor Richard Sternberg for allowing publication of a scientific paper supporting intelligent design (ID) in 2004.

According to the report, NMNH officials sought to discredit Sternberg and force him out of his unpaid RA position after he allowed an article by Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, to be published in the August 2004 Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a peer-reviewed journal of which he was managing editor at the time. While legally separate from the NMNH, Proceedings is governed by a council that includes NMNH scientists and receives public funds from the museum.

Meyer's article, which used information theory to support the argument for intelligent design in biological complexity, sparked controversy. It was the first pro-ID article to be published in a refereed publication, raising concern among some scientists that it might be used to enhance the academic argument for intelligent design.

The Congressional report, prepared by the staff of Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources and released Dec. 11, supports Sternberg's claims that NMNH supervisors investigated his political and religious beliefs, sought to discredit him, and aimed to force his removal as an RA by creating a "hostile work environment" after the article was published.

The report suggests legislation is needed to protect the free speech of scientists at the Smithsonian and other federally funded institutions.

"While the majority of scientists embrace Darwinian theory, it is important that neither Federal funds nor Federal power be used to punish or retaliate against otherwise qualified scientists merely because they dissent from the majority view," the report states.

Sternberg, who is also a staff taxonomist at NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information, said he is "thinking hard" about whether to file a discrimination lawsuit. "I do not think any Federal government employee should be discriminated against on the basis of their outside activities or their intellectual views, concerning theories of evolution or any other subject," Sternberg told The Scientist in an email.

The report says NMNH officials and scientists discussed among themselves in emails whether Sternberg "was a Republican," "was a fundamentalist" or "was a conservative."

It also references an Aug. 26, 2004, email from Hans Sues, NMNH associate director for research and collections, to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) seeking help in trying to determine whether Sternberg had misrepresented himself as a Smithsonian employee, as opposed to an RA, because doing so would have constituted grounds for his dismissal.
Posted by: Russell on Jan. 05 2007,09:18

Oh, fercrissakes. What a load of horse manure.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Sternberg, who is also a staff taxonomist at NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information, said he is "thinking hard" about whether to file a discrimination lawsuit.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


I hope he does. Then we'd have to examine and cross-examine all these claims, rather than just floating self-serving spin and innuendo.*

*EDIT: needless to say, I predict he won't.

The imprimatur of "Congressional Report", considering which Congress we're talking about - the 109th, the most disgraceful, irresponsible, corrupt, internationally embarrassing, wing-nut dominated Congress in my memory - fails to impress me, at least in any positive way.
Posted by: MidnightVoice on Jan. 05 2007,09:35

Quote (Russell @ Jan. 05 2007,09:18)
The imprimatur of "Congressional Report", considering which Congress we're talking about - the 109th, the most disgraceful, irresponsible, corrupt, internationally embarrassing, wing-nut dominated Congress in my memory - fails to impress me, at least in any positive way.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Do we have a ROFL smiley?

:D
Posted by: guthrie on Jan. 05 2007,10:39

I think it was torn to shreds in the PAndas thumb in December, wasnt it?
Posted by: Wesley R. Elsberry on Jan. 05 2007,11:30

Ed Brayton has done several critiques.

< http://scienceblogs.com/dispatc....ber.php >

< http://scienceblogs.com/dispatc....icu.php >

< http://scienceblogs.com/dispatc....g_1.php >

< http://scienceblogs.com/dispatc....nti.php >
Posted by: Chris Hyland on Jan. 05 2007,11:40

Am I right in thinking that the worse thing that actually happened to him was that some staff said he should be fired but the staff who were in the position to disagreed?
Posted by: stevestory on Jan. 05 2007,14:29

Quote (Chris Hyland @ Jan. 05 2007,12:40)
Am I right in thinking that the worse thing that actually happened to him was that some staff said he should be fired but the staff who were in the position to disagreed?
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


More or less.

Or if you've had a full frontal lobotomy and you believe the Discovery Institute version, he was an acclaimed scientist who objectively followed the rules until it lead him to publish a paper the Darwinist Conspiracy couldn't tolerate, whereupon he was vandalized, beaten, fired, spied on, and blackballed out of science.
Posted by: deadman_932 on Jan. 05 2007,14:47

Plus they called him, like, ..stuff...and then looked at him all weird-like.
Posted by: "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on Jan. 05 2007,17:58

Quote (Russell @ Jan. 05 2007,09:18)
Oh, fercrissakes. What a load of horse manure.
 

---------------------QUOTE-------------------
Sternberg, who is also a staff taxonomist at NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information, said he is "thinking hard" about whether to file a discrimination lawsuit.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------




I hope he does.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------


Me too.  I'd LOVE to see him argue in court that he is the victim of "religious discrimination" when, uh, ID isn't religion.

And of course it's always entertaining when the fundies add yet another court case to their unbroken string of losses.
Posted by: Kristine on Jan. 05 2007,21:24



---------------------QUOTE-------------------
And of course it's always entertaining when the fundies add yet another court case to their unbroken string of losses.
---------------------QUOTE-------------------

Oh, yeah, my thought exactly! :D

He won't file. He'll just keep "thinking" about it. As I said in another thread, a lot of the "news" is gossip and rumor. Gossip and rumor can sell issues for months. Then he'll enter the realm of the urban myth. (Maybe people will even come to believe that he did file and lost to those elitist louts in the court system!;) He'll get on Snopes.com...maybe threaten to sue them, too...

Gee, I'd love to work at the Smithsonian, Richard. And I'd love to have a Ph.D. in mathematics, Bill (now I'm plugging through Trig for Dummies, gawd how humiliating). And I'd love to have someone else pay for me to study Biology, Jonathan. Yeah, you ID dudes are so oppressed!  :angry:
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