TASTE COMMENTARY The Branding of a Heretic Are religious scientists unwelcome at the Smithsonian?
BY DAVID KLINGHOFFER Friday, January 28, 2005 12:01 a.m.
The question of whether Intelligent Design (ID) may be presented to public-school students alongside neo-Darwinian evolution has roiled parents and teachers in various communities lately. Whether ID may be presented to adult scientific professionals is another question altogether but also controversial. It is now roiling the government-supported Smithsonian Institution, where one scientist has had his career all but ruined over it.
The scientist is Richard Sternberg, a research associate at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. The holder of two Ph.D.s in biology, Mr. Sternberg was until recently the managing editor of a nominally independent journal published at the museum, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, where he exercised final editorial authority. The August issue included typical articles on taxonomical topics--e.g., on a new species of hermit crab. It also included an atypical article, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories." Here was trouble.
The article goes on to claim that Sternberg was religiously persecuted, his career was threatened, etc. It is being heavily promoted by the Discovery Institute. I'm pretty sure that we're only seeing one very slanted side of the story, and we'll probably see more on this soon. For the moment, though, Percy or others might know some more of the story.
WSJ = Wall Street Journal. The link I posted was to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, published on Friday, that alleges that Richard von Sternberg experienced religious discrimination at the Smithsonian following his decision to publish Stephen Meyer's paper in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington back in August. It also says that Sternberg has filed a legal complaint with the US Office of Special Counsel.
So this is a new development, although I suspect that the WSJ opinion piece is not giving the full story.