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Luskin at The Federalist — Freedom Is Threatened; Now Will You Listen?

Photo credit: Mr.TinDC, via Flickr (cropped).

The media, education, government, and science establishments support a campaign of disinformation and intimidation to sway the public into dismissing minority views on a vital scientific subject, while threatening basic civil liberties in the process. Fear, distortion, and mockery join together as tools to maintain elite opinion and suppress dissent. And those who complain about it are assailed as dangerously “anti-science,” or worse.

A Familiar Tune

Sound familiar? If so, it might not be for the reasons you think. As our geologist colleague Casey Luskin documents at The Federalist, critics of Darwinian theory have faced exactly such a campaign — not just recently but going back a couple of decades:

If you thought the misinformation, indoctrination, and viewpoint suppression perpetrated by Big Tech, schools, and the corporate media were limited to politics, think again. One of the many fronts of the war for the right to dictate what you believe is the scientific, religious, and metaphysical debate over where you came from.

A recent University of Michigan survey claims “Evolution now accepted by majority of Americans,” or 54 percent. Salon declared the debate over, posting the headline “Science quietly wins one of the right’s longstanding culture wars,” calling it a “setback for purveyors of pseudoscience.” What role does information suppression play in this trend?

In 2006, an article in the journal Nature reported “70 years of enforced atheism and official support for darwinism in the Soviet Union” were causing a public backlash against evolution in post-Soviet Russia. During the Soviet era, virtually everyone accepted Darwinism, largely due to government indoctrination and a lack of intellectual freedom. Could a similar intolerance be responsible, at least in part, for increased public acceptance of evolution in the United States?

More than 1,100 scientists have signed a list agreeing they are “skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” As a scientist, I’ve signed that list. But as an attorney, I can attest that many of these scientists — and others who are afraid to sign the list — face discrimination because they won’t toe the Darwinian line.

Earlier this year physicist Eric Hedin published a book titled “Canceled Science,” telling how Ball State University investigated him after he briefly covered intelligent design in an interdisciplinary elective seminar. When science faculty are prohibited from merely mentioning minority scientific viewpoints, it’s no wonder that many students gravitate towards Darwinism. They’ve heard nothing else.

Big Tech also makes it hard to find scientific information that challenges Darwin. In 2020, the journal BioEssays published an editorial calling for “mandatory” disclaimers and “color coded banners” on search engines to warn people about “factual errors” on websites supporting intelligent design. Yet while these websites are being targeted, Wikipedia is perpetuating biased and inaccurate information about the Darwinism/intelligent design debate.

Wikipedia’s “intelligent design” entry editorializes within the first five words that such a belief is “pseudoscientific,” and editors notoriously resist changes that add balance or accuracy. This led Wikipedia’s co-founder Larry Sanger, a self-described “agnostic who believes intelligent design to be completely wrong,” to slam the entry as “appallingly biased. It simply cannot be defended as neutral.” Yet Wikipedia is undoubtedly where countless people become informed — and misinformed — about evolution and intelligent design.

Conspiracy? Who Needs It?

Dissenters from the approved, mainstream view are also tarred as “conspiracy theorists.” But as Dr. Luskin observes, no conspiracy is required to explain how the powerful act on instinct to maintain and expand power while their toadies help them do it.

To be clear, I’m not proposing some conspiracy theory. No conspiracy is needed to understand that power structures often systematically marginalize people and viewpoints that are in the minority, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. What’s concerning is that this is happening within the scientific community, where freedom of inquiry is supposed to thrive, and it’s happening on one of the most important topics for all humanity: our origins.

The Darwinism debate is a bellwether for larger issues of intellectual freedom in America. Support for evolution may be increasing, but if this is being driven by trends resembling Soviet-style information suppression, this isn’t a road we want to traverse.

For years, those in the intelligent design community have been ringing the alarm bells about the threat to freedom. Now will you listen? Read the rest at The Federalist.