Gutsy Article on Science Students Still Avoids Problem of Anti-Religious Prejudice - Evolution News & Views

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Gutsy Article on Science Students Still Avoids Problem of Anti-Religious Prejudice

The Chronicle of Higher Education shows courage in publishing a non-P.C. article by Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars that describes the real, as opposed to the putative, obstacles to increasing the number of American-born and educated scientists. Anti-intellectualism is a big part of it.

There is a problem, however, that Peter Woods overlooks, either because it doesn't occur to him or because he doesn't wish to spur the science establishment to even more outrage by mentioning it. 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.

Darwinists can deny that this is the case, but a serious study, I submit, would show that it is so. Asked in private, when their words can't be twisted and asked in a neutral manner, many religious students report a classroom environment that demeans religious belief and demeans religious people. 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 (a certain University of Minnesota biology class comes to mind, but it is unusual only in the professor's lack of subtlety). If they decide to seek an advanced degree the opposition will be stronger and they normally dare not express their convictions. If they somehow get a doctorate, they cannot expect a teaching position, or recommendations, once any serious dissent from Darwinism is detected. And if they secure a job they will not get tenure if word leaks out (see Expelled). Even after they have tenure they can still be maligned and harassed and even effectively demoted.

Does anyone at CHE or the National Association of Scholars wish to contest either that many religious students are aware of this situation or that it can be a disincentive for a career in science? Or that in many cases their apprehensions are well-justified? Articles can be written that pooh-pooh what I have just written. But many youth know otherwise. Anecdotal evidence perhaps, but I have talked to a number of them.

How many students might we be talking about? Probably a minority.

But possibly a big minority. It's part of the group that loves science at first, and then is turned off.

Lost in some cases to contemporary dogmatism and bigotry. A country that really cared to raise up a larger community of scientists would address it.


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