Tuesday, May 01, 2007
You know how the Discovery Institute crows every time that some surgeon or engineer or, on rare occasions, when some biologist says something that is (or, more frequently, can be made to seem) supportive of Intelligent Design Creationism? Well, let's hear what Dr. Harold Varmus, 1989 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine for studies on the genetic basis of cancer and former director of the National Institutes of Health has to say about it.
In a lecture entitled "The Future of Science in America" recently at Cornell University as part of the Atkinson Forum in American Studies, Dr. Varmus reported his belief that, while "[t]he U.S. remains the leader in most areas of research" and, "in general, the public shows confidence in science and scientists," scientists still "report anxiety about their career prospects and a sense of alienation." Dr. Varmus noted the inadequate pay public school teachers in America receive, the tendency of schools to selectively devote time and energy only to the top of the class and the failure of the Federal government to properly support scientific research with adequate funding as among the causes of scientific discomfort. But he also said:
The addition of intelligent design to school curricula is also a blow to science education in Varmus' view.Dr. Varmus then went on to note that the present Administration is not solely at fault for the lack of funding. He also blamed American society. Dr. Varmus quoted Michael Specter of the New York Times to the effect that "there is a fissure" between science and religion due to an unyielding conflict between them.
"Even the name 'intelligent design' is pretentious and misleading," Varmus said. "Its supporters pose no testable hypotheses, do no experiments, publish no papers — this is religion, not science."
Dr. Varmus does believe that it is a two way street:
"We need to seek common ground," Varmus said, admitting that the scientific community can be just as intolerant of religion as religious persons can be of science.However:
… Varmus emphasized that religious prejudice against scientific research has been especially damaging, as often times "religious dogma trumps life itself." Varmus also blamed Americans for being "lax in our responsibility to defend the first amendment" and to stop our federal leadership from "blurring the boundaries between religion and state."As a major purveyor of the lie that scientists who accept modern evolutionary theory are part of some materialistic atheist conspiracy against the allegedly God-fearing, the Discovery Institute is doing as much as any organization today to cripple science in this country and, ultimately, to guarantee the relegation of the U.S. to Second or even Third World status in the all-too-foreseeable future.