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Bari Weiss Knows What ID Scientists Already Knew

Photo: New York Times HQ, by Adam Jones via Flickr (cropped).

New York Times opinion journalist Bari Weiss submitted her very public resignation today. It’s a must read, and it will remind you at once of the world scientists in the intelligent design community have long occupied. 

“Forays into Wrongthink”

Some excerpts:

[A] new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else….

I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist….

New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action….

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong….

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at The Times…. [S]elf-censorship has become the norm.

… If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets. 

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired….

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril….

I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing.

What ID Scientists Knew

“Orthodoxy,” a “predetermined narrative,” smears, lies, vicious application of false labels, “bullying,” “online venom,” “fear of the digital thunderdome,” an increasingly narrow field of what constitutes acceptable thought, “Speak your mind at your own peril,” the “best ideas…need a hearing.” What she describes, piercingly, is exactly the experience that scientists like Richard Sternberg, Günter Bechly, Douglas Axe, Eric Hedin, Granville Sewell, Scott Minnich have had in academia.

Read some of them on the Free Science website. Writing about Dr. Sternberg’s treatment by the Smithsonian was my own introduction to how corrupted our finest institutions had become by thought control. Already in 2004, Sternberg could have echoed Bari Weiss’s words: “Unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.” Read his story here. Oh boy, do I hope she sues.

We Were the Canaries

As neuroscientist Michael Egnor wrote here recently, ID proponents were the canaries in the coalmine of free speech. Before suffocating political correctness became a topic of general discussion, in so far as the present climate allows for anything to be discussed openly, scientists willing to consider the evidence for design in biology had come to know the lengths to which upholders of the “predetermined narrative” would go to punish dissent.

The truth of what Bari Weiss writes can be taken as granted — if her account weren’t accurate, she wouldn’t have quit a plum job like that. Something is seriously wrong with our culture, and thank you to her for recognizing that and not simply going along with it like so many others do.