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PZ Myers: Academic Freedom for Me, but Not for Thee

Casey Luskin

The latest issue of Salvo magazine has an amusing fake advertisement for the “The Skeptical Requirer.” Parodying Skeptical Inquirer magazine and Animal Farm, the fake ad states:

All skeptics are equal (but some skeptics are more equal than others).

To be a Certified Skeptic you must question only the right things.

The ad makes a perfect response to PZ Myers’s recent post titled “Academic freedom isn’t always honored in the breach,” in which he defends (yes, defends) academic freedom for a skeptical scientist.

Of course, this scientist isn’t skeptical of Darwinian evolution — he was skeptical of a seminar at his university that was promoting a controversial test for prostate cancer. The scientist was apparently threatened with losing his labspace (among other things) for criticizing the seminar. And PZ completely agrees with this scientist’s views. PZ calls it “a rather chilling story of academic freedom getting trampled.”

Good for PZ Myers for standing up for this scientist’s academic freedom. But this is the same PZ Myers who said:

I get to vote on tenure decisions at my university, and I can assure you that if someone comes up who claims that ID “theory” is science, I will vote against them.

So Myers doesn’t really believe in academic freedom — he only defends the freedom of scholars to agree with him. But without the liberty to dissent, the whole idea of “academic freedom” is pretty meaningless.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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