Nobel Prize awards for outstanding scientific research were given out in December, and Pulitzer Prize awards for outstanding journalistic work will be given out in April. However, there are two other annual awards for science and journalism that will be announced soon. Many Americans are not familiar with these awards, but will be interested in hearing the results.
One is the Fake News Story of 2017, chosen by a national email poll. The other is for the Censor of the Year for 2017, a national poll sponsored by the Center for Science and Culture with the Discovery Institute.
President Trump keeps fake news stories in front of the public with Tweets. Although censoring of research is considered highly unethical in Academia, mainstream media seldom reports it. However, most censoring of scientific research occurs in Academia or in the court system.
The Discovery Institute is known for promoting the importance of remaining open to scientific evidence rather than assuming that the “official” scientific narrative of our origin is always correct. The Darwinian explanation for origins is frequently challenged by scientific research. The reason for asking for nominations for “Censor of the Year for 2017” is because censorship of alternatives to Darwinian evolution remains a serious, pervasive problem.
Although the worst offenders may be quietly operating against fellow scientists who find serious weaknesses in Darwinian evolution, scientists who publicly challenge some aspect of it may find themselves victims of censorship. Sometimes the censorship is undercover; sometimes it is open and overt.
There have been numerous examples of science teachers and professors who have lost their jobs or had their careers disrupted because they tried to challenge Darwin’s Gatekeepers to Academia. These self-appointed gatekeepers are willilng to dp battle to keep rebels out. The official explanation for our origins is Darwinian evolution, which is taught in all public schools. Creation and Intelligent Design continue to challenge the Darwinian foundations of unplanned, naturalistic events that resulted in all living things, including humans. This is a fierce battle to the death, because if the naturalistic explanation is true, then the supernatural explanation must be false and vice versa. Theistic evolutionists are trying to bridge the gap between the naturalism and supernaturalism, but they keep finding that there is no room in the Darwinian account of origins for any amount of supernatural activity.
There are times when courts make decisions about how to teach origins in classrooms. In 2002, the Board of Education of Cobb County, Georgia, responded to parental complaints and placed a disclaimer in all biology books, saying, “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”
A suit was brought by the ACLU for this action. It ended in a ruling against the Cobb County Board, and the school system was assessed $166,659 in legal fees.
Ten years ago, there was a similar situation in Dover, PA. Responding to parental complaints, the Dover Board of Education required that a one minute statement be read to all students taking biology. It read in part, “. . . Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations. . . With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. . . .”
A suit was brought against the Dover Board of Education to end this practice. This suit ended in a ruling against the Board and an assessment of $1,000,011 for legal fees.
Both the Cobb County and Dover statements were carefully worded so that it was clear the Board was not trying to end the teaching of Darwinism or declare that it was untrue. They merely attempted to give students an opening to examine scientific evidence that challenged Darwinian evolution and end the practice of censoring all evidence that doesn’t agree with the approved version of our origins.
Even though Darwin’s Gatekeepers vigorously defend Darwinian evolution, ordinary Americans remain skeptical that all living things, including humans, resulted from unplanned evolutionary processes. A 2016 national survey of a cross-section of American adults revealed unexpected responses. The survey, commissioned by Discovery Institute, revealed that 81 percent of American adults believe “when teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, biology teachers should cover both scientific evidence that supports the theory and scientific evidence critical of the theory.”
Only 19 percent of Americans believe that “biology teachers should cover only scientific evidence that supports the theory.” It’s amazing that only 19% of Americans agree with how Darwinian evolution is currently being taught in public schools! (“In Time for Darwin’s Birthday, New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Teaching Students the Evidence For and Against Darwin’s Theory,” February 1, 2016. Discovery Institute.)
Stay tuned for the announcement of the next Censor of the Year on February 12, a day that simultaneously celebrates two days–Darwin Day and Academic Freedom Day.