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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