A bill recently introduced to the Texas House of Representatives would protect faculty and students at public colleges in the state from discrimination for holding views antithetical to Darwinian evolution.
The proposed addition to the education code states:
An institution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member's or student's conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.1
Not surprisingly, evolution-only advocates are fighting the legislation. Texas Freedom Network president Kathy Miller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "It's kind of a broad and cynical strategy to undermine sound science at a time when our state and nation's economy depends on science to thrive."2
But this form of discrimination appears to be specifically hindering the sound science Miller mentioned. Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed cited several examples of academics and professionals who lost their jobs or were denied tenure based on their doubts about the theory of evolution.3 The Christian Post cited Texas Tech biologist Michael Dini's university website, in which he states he wouldn't write recommendation letters to students applying to graduate or medical school if they didn't accept neo-Darwinian evolution.4 He wrote:
[M]odern medicine is an endeavor that springs from the sciences, biology prominent among these. The central, unifying principle of biology is the theory of evolution, which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, and which extends to ALL species. Someone who ignores the most important theory in biology cannot expect to properly practice in a field that is now so heavily based on biology. It is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make poor clinical decisions. The current crisis in antibiotic resistance may partly be the result of such decisions.5
"The vehemence of militant evolutionary biologists is now palpable, where it was under the surface when I applied [to medical school] 20 years ago," commented Dr. Randy Guliuzza, a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. who served as Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine.
"A real physician would not speculate whether doubting Darwin was a contributing factor in antibiotic resistance," he said. "He would be looking for a real study that showed a correlation. There isn't one. There are other causes, which if Dini were a physician, he would know. He uses his speculation as a weapon of his bigotry to tarnish the reputation of thousands of active practicing physicians who doubt evolution."
"Since Michael Dini is not a physician, his ignorance of the irrelevance of evolution to medicine may be overlooked.6 But the effects of his, and others', bigotry should be limited by legislation," Dr. Guliuzza said.
The proposed law would take effect immediately without the governor's signature if it receives a two-third super-majority approval in the House and the Senate. If it only receives a simple majority, it would go to the governor for approval.
- Text for HB 2454. Texas Legislature Online. Accessed on capitol.state.tx.us March 25, 2011.
- Batheja, A. Arlington lawmaker's bill would protect questioners of evolution. Forth Worth Star-Telegram. Posted on star-telegram.com March 17, 2011, accessed March 25, 2011.
- Stein, B. 2008. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. DVD. Directed by Nathan Frankowski. Premise Media Corporation, L.P.
- Phan, K. T. Texas Bill Would Protect College Professors Who Question Evolution. The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com March 19, 2011, accessed March 25, 2011.
- Dini, M. Letters of Recommendation. Texas Tech University biology faculty information. Posted on courses.ttu.edu, accessed March 25, 2011.
- Guliuzza, R. J. 2009. Darwinian Medicine: A Prescription for Failure. Acts & Facts. 38 (2): 32.
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on March 29, 2011.