Creation Ministries Internationalby Shaun Doyle
Heresy. Is that the right word to use here? It seems so harsh! But that is precisely how skepticism of evolution1 and anthropogenic global warming2 are treated in modern academic, political, and social discourse. Creationists canâ€™t really expect a fair hearing in the public square any more. Any who hint that even ID should be given a hearing, even if they make plain their allegiance to the orthodox Darwinist dogma, are berated, ostracized, and even dismissed from their employ. Dr Gavriel Avital is merely the latest of a long series of high-profile scientists who have voiced skepticism at these sacred cows of modern academia and has paid the ultimate professional priceâ€”termination.
Avitalâ€™s case Education Minister Gideon Saâ€™ar has dismissed the chief scientist of his ministry, Dr Gavriel Avital, over his statements denying the â€œfundamental tenets of scienceâ€â€”evolution and anthropogenic global warming.3 The news reports are quite straightforward; there is no other cited reason for his dismissal.3
Avital has been an outspoken critic of evolution and anthropogenic global warming during his time as chief scientist, and has attracted the disapproval of numerous scientists in Israel for it. In February 2010 two Israeli Nobel Prize laureates issued an open letter to Gideon Saâ€™ar saying,
â€œWe donâ€™t see any alternative other than to replace Dr. Gavriel Avital with an individual suited to fill the position, one who could do so faithfully and professionally.â€4
Lest any think it was because of poor performance that these scientists wanted him sacked, the letter went on to state:
â€œWe view Dr. Avitalâ€™s remarks gravely because they undermine the standing and importance of science and take us centuries backward, even as the world celebrates the importance of Charles Darwinâ€™s discoveries and the great contributions he made to human knowledge and scientific development, and is striving to uproot benighted doctrines such as intelligent design.â€4 I find remarks such as this perplexing. I wonder what the creationists Newton, Kepler, Pasteur, Lister, Maxwell, Joule, Kelvin, Steno, Faraday, etc. would think of such comments. All but three were contemporaries of Darwin, and a number were very public in their criticisms of his work.
His personal doubts about evolution are well known, but what exactly did Avital propose as the educational solution? He said:
â€œIf textbooks state explicitly that human beingsâ€™ origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want students to pursue and grapple with other opinions.â€3
Heâ€™s not talking about not allowing evolution to be taughtâ€”he assumes children will be taught evolution because itâ€™s in the textbooks. Rather he simply wants to give children the right to hear other views. Avital is not the one suppressing alternate viewsâ€”evolutionists are.