When it Comes to Darwin vs. Design Tolerance Not Tolerated in SMU Science Departments

Robert L. Crowther, II

The issue of academic freedom when it comes to intelligent design just won’t seem to go away. Darwinists are completely unable to tolerate any views of science that don’t completely align with their own. This past week saw the science departments at Southern Methodist University throw a tantrum because we rented an auditorium on their campus and plan to have pro-intelligent design speakers present their case for ID (see Darwin vs. Design conferences). You’d think we were sacrificing puppies with chainsaws, given the way they reacted.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting the current view of academic freedom amongst scientists protesting the conference:

While some who are leading the protest acknowledge the need for free speech and academic freedom, they say this event doesn’t qualify.

Some speech should be freer than other speech, apparently. The DMN also reports that “[o]ther biologists compared the conference to a presentation by Holocaust deniers.” Well, that settles it then, as we’ve quickly arrived at that productive point in the debate where one side accuses the other of being Nazis. So much for civil discourse on intellectual issues.

In another stellar example of their strong support for academic freedom and free speech, a letter allegedly sent to SMU’s Provost from the anthropology department says the ID conference should be run off campus.

They have no place on an academic campus with their polemics hidden behind a deceptive mask. We urge the University to recognize this and to withdraw its permission to use our facilities and our name.

In spite of their hollow proclamations that they support academic freedom, there’s no way you can read that statement as anything other than an attempt to shut down debate. It’s censorship, pure and simple.
It seems to me that if the Darwinists were confident in the strength and merits of their arguments, they wouldn’t need to censor other viewpoints and stifle debate.

Editor’s Note: In the third paragraph of the DMN story it was reported that the Darwin vs. Design conference “will say that a supernatural designer is the best explanation for aspects of life and the universe.” In fact, the conference will not do that. On the issue of whether the designer is supernatural we’ve been very clear that the scientific theory of intelligent design does not address metaphysical and religious questions such as the nature or identity of the designer. (see here) As the article is otherwise accurate, we’re hopeful this will be straightened out.

Robert Crowther

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.