Science’s big problem is not anit-religious prejudice

In a recent post entitled “Gutsy Article on Science Students Still Avoids Problem of Anti-Religious Prejudice,” Bruce Chapman writes about how he thinks that religious students are being persecuted in higher education science classes:

That problem is the contemporary hostility that many committed Christian young people, and perhaps other religious youth, encounter in the sciences these days.  Even those who have not experienced it become alert to it and, in turn, may be discouraged.

Of course they are being alerted to it, or at least the idea that it is happening.  Ben Stein’s propaganda piece “Expelled” is undoubtedly to blame, as well as groups like the Discovery Institute.

Chapman cannot site even one study that shows his point, therefore he has no proof that this is happening.  He doesn’t even know if this supposed prejudice effects a students career choice.  I personally don’t think it does.  My boss is religious, my lab mate is very religious, I worked with a guy who went onto divinity school after getting his masters, and there is a full professor at my university who is a preacher.  Is this a representative sample of higher education?  I think so, but I don’t go around asking people their religious views.  It does not have relevance to my work and it is none of my business.

Chapman goes on to say:

If it is known that they do not accept Darwinian accounts of the rise and development of life, or even the development of universe before life arose on Earth, students know that they could be graded down in some classes

He thinks these things are expressions of religious freedom.  In reality, they are denials of scientific concepts and facts.  They are necessary for the understanding of how the universe works.  Could it be that students who don’t believe in evolution or who believe in an earth that is only 6000 years old are not critical thinkers who don’t belong in science?  I think so.

Towards the end, Chapman brings his post around to the conclusion that his perceived anti-religious prejudice is hurting the progress of science and stopping people from going into science.  If Chapman being a proponent of intelligent design doesn’t make him a hypocrite, I don’t know what does.  Intelligent design is an antiscience.  It distorts or ignores the real science that is out there and replaces it with terrible pseudoscientific ideas.

It is not really hard to see why American science is in a downward spiral.  Scientists are often if not always depicted as asocial nerds that never leave their lab.  Actually, it has gotten worse recently where Ben Stein basically said that scientists are all evil.  Add onto that the low pay for most scientists, the ever increasing budget cuts (in the US at least), and the fact that you have to wait until your 30s to get a real job, and its no wonder nobody wants to be a scientist.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s really very sad that you feel this way about Christians, or Christian scientists. It honestly makes me wonder if you had a bad experience in the past with Christians in general that has made you believe that Scientists with a Christian world view have to completely abandon all reason. Being completely honest I believe that believing that one day everything exploded from the nothingness all by itself without the help of an intelligent designer takes more faith to believe in than what I believe. There is plenty of evidence to point to intelligent design. That’s all that Ben Stein was saying. He isn’t even a Christian himself, he was just suggesting the idea of intelligent design to the scientific community and asked critical questions to scientific leaders. Isn’t that what science is? Asking questions about the world around you and writing theories about how it came to be. I will acknowledge evolution as nothing more than a theory, because that’s all that it is. But if you can regard evolution as a fact and completely disregard creationism, then why can’t I do the opposite? It’s very good to ask questions about the world around you. Christianity doesn’t want to limit science, in fact Christians should be some of the best scientists out there. The truth of the matter is that people tend to use a blanket argument over all Christians. If one scientist can’t think of any way the earth could be intelligently designed, then all Christians must throw out all reason when they believe that it was. I just don’t see how that could be a valid argument. It would be like me saying, I met a man once who didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, so everyone that claims to ride a bicycle must be lying. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Continue the writing, nothing is better than a good critical thinker. I will be hoping and praying that you will someday see the light of Christ through the ‘religious’ people around you.

    • Russel,

      First off, I don’t feel any particular way about Christians or Christian scientists. In fact quite the opposite. In my post I wrote how many Christian scientists all around me at work. I also have nothing but good things to say about the Christians in my life.
      However, I do have a problem when people/scientists believe something simply based on religion despite evidence.

      There is NOT any evidence pointing towards intelligent design. On the other hand, there is a mountain of evidence pointing towards evolution.

      No, Ben Stein was not just suggesting Intelligent Design. He was comparing people that agree with Evolution to Nazis. Don’t forget, he is the one that said “the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed.”

      As far as your analogy goes, I think that you are not clear on how science works. Evidence is what really matters. Intelligent Design will remain a pseudoscience until some form of evidence be shown. As far as your analogy goes, a scientist would say to the people that claim they can ride a bicycle, “show me some evidence that a bicycle can be ridden.” Once that happened, the scientist would change their minds to believe.

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