To Chicago Sun-Times: Thanks for Pinker's Change of Heart
Dear Chicago Sun-Times Editor:
Thank you for running Steven Pinker's "In defense of dangerous ideas" (July 15) which recognized the need for the scientific community to embrace its scientific taboos--such as whether the state of the environment has actually improved in the last 50 years or whether men and women may have different innate aptitudes.
Would that Pinker truly supported academic freedom for all scientists. While he is even willing to ask if men have an innate tendency to rape, apparently asking if nature exhibits deliberate design is beyond the pale.
A recent Boston Globe op-ed argued that Guillermo Gonzalez, a well-credentialed astronomer at Iowa State University, should not be persecuted for arguing that nature exhibits hallmarks of design. Pinker wrote to protest this article, likening intelligent design to "Holocaust denial."
Gonzalez is a refugee of Castro's Cuba who earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and has had his work featured in top journals like Science, Nature, and on the cover of Scientific American. Iowa State recently denied Gonzalez tenure, and one colleague admitted the only reason he voted to deny Gonzalez tenure was that Gonzalez supports intelligent design.
It seems Pinker's open mind closes when his scientific materialism is challenged.
This whole affair reveals academia's true taboo: Ask whether nature is designed, and you get canned. Ask whether rape is natural and you can teach at Harvard.
Logan Paul Gage