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Free Speech and Intelligent Design’s Warning

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Photo credit: Alem Omerovic, via Unsplash.

Anyone with any sense today worries about “cancel culture.” That is the drive to intimidate free speech and confine communication to ideologically approved messaging. Some commentators are squawking loudly about the phenomenon, and I’m glad about that. But when proponents of intelligent design warned about what was happening to us — for the past 20 years or so — there was little interest or concern.

The censors came for us first, and no one protested. Now they’re coming for you. Indeed, they are coming for Charles Darwin himself.

ID the Future host Robert Crowther and I talked about this on a new episode of the podcast. As Rob observes, the phrase we used for anti-ID censorship, before “cancel culture” offered itself, was “expelled.” There was a documentary by that name, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, wrly narrated by Ben Stein, that told some of the stories of ID scientists who got canceled for speaking up, or merely for publishing scientific evidence favorable to intelligent design. That was in 2008, and further outrageous stories have been added since then — Eric Hedin, David Coppedge, Günter Bechly, and more. Find a selection at the Free Science website.

The Backs of Their Heads

Political theorist Willmoore Kendall, who taught William F. Buckley at Yale, already saw all this coming before 1960, how the liberty to speak freely could be withdrawn “overnight.” He wasn’t paranoid. The government doesn’t even have to get involved. Actually, “expelled” is the more accurate term than “canceled,” because it captures the comprehensive threat to career and livelihood. A mere program or event can be “canceled.” It’s the whole person who is “expelled.” This is how the scientific consensus now works. It’s why, as I noted to Rob, we carefully protect the identity of students at our Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design. Here at Evolution News, when we run photos of the Seminars, we are careful to crop them so that no more than the tops of students’ head can be seen. If we showed the full back of their heads, that could endanger their future in the scientific profession!

Can you imagine? Sounds crazy? As we’ve learned, things that sound crazy one day can become routine the next. Pay attention, America. Download the podcast or listen to it here.