Censorship in Secular Science:
The Mims Case
JERRY BERGMAN, PH. D.
Northwest Technical College
Route 1, Box 246-A
Archbold, Ohio 43502
From: PSCF 45 (March 1993)
More and more frequently, those in science who are vocal about their objections to evolutionary naturalism as a universal explanation for the living world will be likely to experience employment problems in the field, as documented elsewhere by this author (Bergman, 1984; 1991). One of the latest in a recent string of cases involves Scientific American, the nation's oldest and most well-known popular science publication. The monthly magazine has an international circulation of more than 650,000 subscribers and has been publishing since the middle 1800s.
This particular affair began in May of 1988 when Forrest Mims, III, a veteran science writer from Seguin, Texas, proposed to write the magazine's popular amateur science column. Mims' background includes the authorship of over sixty books on science and hundreds of magazines articles published in journals including Science Digest, Popular Mechanics, Modern Electronics, and National Geographic (Mims, 1990a). Mims' science books have been published by Prentice-Hall, McGraw-Hill, Radio Shack and other mainline, respected firms (Eastland, 1991, p. 32; Mims, 1992c). He is also a regular columnist for several science magazines and is now the editor of a highly successful science magazine Science Probe! (Sidney, 1990, p. 56). Of this new magazine, a review in Nature said:
Science Probe! is a cornucopia of delights for the amateur scientist and, I suspect, of real value also to the professional. It bears such treasures as the telephone number through which to obtain graphic images, in a format compatible with your personal computer, from the Hubble telescope; how to make an electrocardiogram; and how to encounter slime moulds in their natural habitat. It is transdisciplinary and regards all science as open to the amateur.... Science is criticized by some philosophers as soulless and damaging. This may be true of that part of science which has become too serious, narrowly specialized and subject to the strictures of scientific correctness;....How did we allow dogma to become respectable and speculation pejorative? I grew up in a science thinking that our task was to reduce science fiction to practice and have done my best to do so. I hope that Science Probe! flourishes and brings back science as something interesting that can be done at home (1992, p. 436).
The History of the Case
Forrest Mims first submitted a proposal to write Scientific American's column, "The Amateur Scientist," in 1988 (Hartwig, 1990, p. 6). He approached the magazine only after University of Cincinnati physics professor Jerl Walker gave notice that he could no longer author the column (Gardner, 1991, p. 356). Mims' great interest in this column stems from his love for science which was originally awakened by this column. While still a young man, Mims dreamed that he would someday be its author. Later, C.L. Strong, the column's long time author, told Mims before he died that Mims would someday be in charge of the column (Eastland, 1991, p. 32). It soon seemed that his dream would come true: the Editor, Jonathan Piel, phoned in late July, 1989, asking Mims if he wanted to take over "The Amateur Scientist" column (Eastland, 1991, p. 32). In late August 1989, Piel asked Mims to write several sample columns—and in three weeks, three 3000 word pieces were submitted (Mims, 1991a; 1990; 1990b; 1990c).
Piel then invited Mims to come to New York to discuss the details of doing the column. Things went extremely well, Mims recalls, until Piel asked what other publications he had written articles for. Only then did the Christian magazines that Mims once wrote for come up, provoking the question: "What did you write about for these magazines?" The answer was, "Bicycling trips and aerial photography" (Eastland, 1991, p. 34). Mims did not then know the repercussions that would ensue from the serious mistake that he made in mentioning these articles. Nothing that he had written was even remotely related to the topic of creationism, but the fact that Mims had written for Christian magazines obviously disturbed Piel (Kincaid, 1990). After the Editor inquired as to exactly what he had written for Christian magazines, Piel pointedly asked him his major concern: "Do you accept Darwin's theory of evolution?" (Hartwig, 1990, p. 6). Mims responded that he did not, an answer that was the beginning of the end.
From then on, "Piel's attitude toward him changed dramatically" (Hartwig, 1990, p. 6). Piel informed Mims that he would not be allowed to write anything for any publication that Scientific American objected to. Piel was specifically concerned about articles on the subject of creation or against evolution or anti-abortion pieces. Mims was warned that if an outside article was published without Scientific American's prior review and permission, he would face a pay cut or dismissal (Sidey, 1990, p. 56). Mims pointed out in response that he has never used his writing to promote his creationist beliefs, nor would he do so in the future (Mims, 1992a). To insure that he conformed to this demand, Piel continued to insist that all of Mims' outside writings must be reviewed by Scientific American prior to their publication elsewhere.
Soon after he returned home, Mims submitted his initial three columns. Several months later, however, Mims was again questioned by Piel and another editor about his views on abortion and related topics. Actually, Mims notes, abortion and his Christianity were also major issues. He writes:
Gardner's defense of his former employer, Scientific American, is misplaced. He knows that to this day the magazine's staff remains divided over the issue ... [of if I should have been terminated and] that I was asked more about abortion and my Christian faith than about evolution. He also knows about the duplicity of the magazine's editor, who denied his promise to buy and publish three of my columns. The columns were published only after the magazine's president intervened. Moreover, in Gardner's first report about this unfortunate matter, even he cited the transcript in Harper's (March 1991) in which the following exchange appears:
MIMS: Prior to the visit to your offices, there was never even a hint that religion would become an issue.
PIEL: Forrest, come on, that's why I had the meeting with you (Mims, 1992b, p. 444).
Piel again expressed his concern that the reputation of Scientific American could suffer if Mims openly supported in some way the views of the anti-abortion movement or was critical of evolution. When Piel specifically asked, "Are you a fundamentalist Christian?" (a label he does not accept)—Mims objected to the obviously illegal question. He responded, "I will not be discriminated against" (Sidey, 1990, p. 56).
Scientific American then published the three columns that Mims had prepared, but only after the magazine's president intervened and on condition that Mims signed a written agreement waiving all of his rights to obtain legal redress from the magazine for religious discrimination (Truehart, 1990; Mims, 1992b, p. 444). The agreement with Scientific American specifically stated that Mims would not pursue legal action to rectify the religious discrimination he experienced. Mims was then dropped as a writer, and rather than risk a law suit, the editors then decided to permanently drop the column which, with the threat of a lawsuit past, has since been resumed. They probably reasoned that, in order to win a discrimination suit, Mims must show only that someone less qualified who is not of his religious persuasion was hired—and if no one was hired, a suit would not have much chance in the courts (Eastland, 1991, p. 32). The column began in 1952 when Mims was eight years old, and it seemed for several months that Mims would have the honor of having the last byline in the column's long history.
A concern over the blatant discrimination that was occurring caused Mims to surreptitiously record one of his conversations with Piel, who stated on tape, "what you have written is first rate ... it's the public relations nightmare that's keeping me awake" (B. Davis, 1990). Excerpts of the transcript of much of this now famous thirty minute call were published in Harper's Magazine (March 1991, pp. 28-332). The editor's concern was not Mims' writing, but primarily the reaction of the scientific community to Scientific American employing a non-believer in megaevolution and that the critics of evolutionism could use Mims to advance their position (Eastland, 1991, p. 34; B. Davis, 1990). In a phone call the next day and later formally in a letter, Piel then terminated all further discussions of the possibility of Mims ever being a contributor to the pages of the magazine.
Few if any of the events in this case are in dispute. However, when contacted by various reporters, Piel actually stated, "Scientific American does not discriminate on any basis. We have not and never will." Both Piel and two former editors have openly stated that the reason Mims did not continue in the assignment was not because of his qualifications, but his personal religious conclusions and beliefs. Tom Appenzeller, currently science editor of The Sciences, said that there was, "no question about [Mims'] competence." At issue was the "public relations" aspect of a creationist being connected with the magazine (Sidey, 1990, p. 56). Appenzeller stated that the magazine's concern "was specifically his beliefs about evolution and his rejection of Darwinian selection" (Sidey, 1990, p. 56). And as Jukes (1991c, p. 12) noted, in view of this conflict due to religion, might Mims "not feel at home as a member of the staff of Scientific American?" The blatant bigotry that this statement evidenced was not perceived by Jukes: would Scientific American condone not hiring a Jew, giving the reason that he might "not feel at home as a member of the staff?"
Because he still would like to do the column, Mims has since tried to discuss this situation with Scientific American, but the magazine's attorneys have responded in writing, stating that "the publication has ended all business contacts" with him (Sidey, 1990, p. 56). They have even reportedly written to his other editors and tried to persuade them not to publish Mims' work. (Fortunately all of these editors refused to cave in to this bigotry.) As Eastland, (1991, p. 34) notes:
Mims knows that if had never volunteered that he'd written a few pieces for Christian magazines—on some awfully tame subjects—he'd be writing the "Amateur Scientist" today....Even more striking than Mims telling the editor of Scientific American that he is a Christian was his failure to confess, when asked about it point blank, to the theory of evolution. This was more than a breach of etiquette—it was heresy.
Mims does not describe himself as a fundamentalist, but as an evangelical Christian (Truehart, 1990; 1990a). His views on evolution and creation are not clear cut: he accepts microevolution and his definition of creationism is simply "the doctrine that God created the world or universe" (Denini, 1990, p. 2b; Weisberg, 1990, p. 47). In his own words, he believes only that the universe was designed by God, and he has not published any details about his beliefs. In personal conversations Mims has made it clear that his interests and knowledge is in the amateur science field, not the nuances of creationism (Mims, 1990e; 1991a). Gardner (1991, p. 357) concluded that Mims "is not a `young earther' who thinks the universe was created about 10,000 years ago. He allows that individual species were created at intervals over long periods of time, [and] the `days' of Genesis are not to be taken as 24-hour-time-spans." Those that I have talked to conclude that he would probably be more at home in ASA than either the Institute for Creation Research or the Creation Research Society.
Of course his actual beliefs are in fact largely irrelevant; what is relevant is the label forced upon him. Many have charged that he cannot do science and is trying to inject pseudoscience in his work, a charge to which Mims responds as follows:
The editorial then purports to explain "the firing of Mims" by contending that "the real reason was that creationists substitute what they call `creation science' for conventional science." This conclusion completely contradicts explanations given by Piel (Harper's 1991) and former editors at the magazine, ... all whom expressed great interest in my work and who were more than pleased with the columns I wrote for them (e.g., Abernathy 1990; National Public Radio 1990; Sharpe, 1990; The New York Times 1990; Weiman, 1990; Harper's Magazine, 1991). Moreover, the editorial fails to identify a single example in my published writings, including my three columns for Scientific American (Mims, 1990a), in which I have not practiced conventional science (Mims, 1992a, p. 1).
Stereotyping and Mislabeling
That the problem was less his beliefs than the labeling process—which can be vicious and is usually applied to a wide variety of positions, often to anyone in science who does not with wholesale enthusiasm embrace atheistic evolution—is clear from the general studies on this subject (Numbers, 1992; Eve and Harrold, 1991; Smith, 1990). The crux of the matter, in Eastland's (1991, p. 34) words, is that "the beliefs of evolutionary biologists imply a philosophical system that excludes a creator. Thus, for them, theistic evolution is a contradiction in terms; the alternatives are two and only two: creation or evolution, God or not God." Most of those who label themselves creationists and have been active publishing in the controversy do not identify with the Institute for Creation Research or the other groups which have been stereotyped as representing creationists (Morris, 1984; Numbers, 1992; P. Johnson, 1991). As Mims notes, critics often cite a "mock inquisition that demonstrates a stereotypical, prejudiced view of what creationists believe" (1992a, p. 2).
Many scientists have openly and actively supported the actions of Scientific American has taken in regards to Mims. (Lewis, 1992; King, 1991; Weinberg, 1991). As Arthur Caplan concludes:
Forrest Mims is a competent writer and amateur scientist. But his personal beliefs about creation limit what he can and cannot tell his readers about all the nooks and crannies of science. They also distort the picture he conveys regarding what science methodology is all about. It is a hard line to draw, but Forrest Mims and others who espouse a belief in creation and reject the scientific standing of evolution are on the wrong side of the line (1991, p. 13).
In response to this line of reasoning, Eastland (1991, p. 34) notes "The Forrest Mims story ultimately comes down to the remarkable influence that Darwinian fundamentalism has on institutions of science like Scientific American. The doctrine of evolution is what's `politically correct,' and woe betide those who express dissent." As P. Johnson put it:
Mims was sent packing because his very presence was perceived as a threat to Darwin's theory of evolution. Even if he never published a word about evolution, creationists might have cited him as a well-informed skeptic. If they did, angry Darwinists would cancel their subscriptions—and Scientific American knows who butters its bread. So Mims became a casualty in a religious war. Many Darwinists insist that people like Mims have to be kept out of science because their skepticism about evolution is inconsistent with scientific objectivity. One biology professor who defended the magazine's action reasoned that "I would be against having such a person writing a column, because at the base, this philosophy could enter everything one does in science (1990, p. B7).
A major difference between the Mims case and the many others in this modern religious battle between scientists and Christian theodicy is the enormous amount of favorable publicity that Mims has received. Most cases of this type—and there are thousands—receive either no publicity or extremely limited publicity. The many mainline, respected publications that have run articles about the Mims imbroglio range from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, to The Washington Post, and scores of others (Holden, 1990). Mims has also been on numerous talk shows and has given scores of radio interviews and television and personal appearances, including on CNN and national television. The wire services picked up the story, and "some one-thousand radio stations amplified Mims' complaint" Eastland (1991, p. 34). Mims also stated to me that he found the secular press far more supportive than the Christian news media.
Part of the reason that this case has generated so much publicity is that, according to Mims, "virtually all" of the reporters he talked to are "very sensitive" to the freedom of press issues involved. Eastland (1991, p. 34), concludes that a major reason for the support by reporters is because of the obvious fear that "this could happen to them too."
Support for Mims From the Academic Community
What is also unusual is the support that he has received from mainline scientists (Keleher, 1991; R. Johnson, 1990). The American Association for the Advancement of Science: Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility headed by Sheldon Krimsky, compiled a report on the Mims case, which stated in part that
...articles submitted for publication to journals devoted to science, technology and medicine should be judged exclusively on their scientific merit ... a person's private behavior, religious or political beliefs or affiliations should not serve as criteria in the evaluation of articles submitted for publication. We emphasize in particular, the consensus of the committee that even if a person holds religiously derived beliefs that conflict with the views commonly held in the scientific community, those beliefs should not influence publication of science articles unless the beliefs are reflected in the articles (Krimsky, 1990; Truehart, 1990).
Lemar Hankins, acting director of the Texas ACLU, likened the magazine's treatment of Mims to McCarthyism (Abernathy, 1990, p. 2; 1990a, 1990b). Admittedly, Scientific American possessed a genuine concern: a realistic fear of the effects on the magazine due to the intolerance commonly found in the scientific community to a theological world view (P. Johnson, 1990). According to Abernathy (1990, p. 2) "former Scientific American editors Timothy Appenzeller and Armand Schwab, Jr. told the Chronicle earlier that Piel feared Mims' hiring could create ill will among biologists and other scientists who believe in evolution." Potjewyd compared Mims to other religious scientists, concluding:
We have been raised to believe that we are free to practice our beliefs and still be allowed to work together, at least within science, with people whose belief systems are different from our own. The system is not supposed to enforce a litmus test of beliefs, nor can it force Mims to score a passing grade on a test of correct scientific opinions. Imagine what would have happened to Isaac Newton if he had been forced to accept the current opinion about what influences planetary motion as a condition of acceptance of the post of mathematics professor at Cambridge.
Most of Newton's manuscripts on religion were long concealed from the world's notice. Of the major nonscientific works now in print, only one, the Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, was prepared for the press by Newton himself. For 200 years, most of Newton's religious manuscripts were suppressed because it was believed that Newton's beliefs would tarnish his image as a scientific genius. Would Newton's personal beliefs have prevented him from working as a science writer at Scientific American?
I, as a scientist, know that I do not have to judge the worth of another person's value system as an indication of his or her knowledge of science or skill at handling the job of science writer, as was Mims' lot. Scientists leave this to a "Higher Authority." Scientific American cannot afford to. What this should tell us is that Scientific American is not very scientific and not very American (1991, p. 12).
Piel himself specifically stated that the association of an evolutionism non-believer with the magazine "could harm the cause of science and alienate crucial groups of authors or readers" (Truehart, 1990, p. 6). Piel correctly recognized that the scientific community would not take lightly to them allowing a non-believer in evolutionism to author articles for the magazine, and many would be likely to boycott it (Nutting and Nutting, 1991). Jukes openly stated "the actual reason" Mims was released by Scientific American "was because he was a creationist" (1991a, p. 1).
As Gardner, another Scientific American editor, adds, "from a PR standpoint, having a creationist write regularly for the magazine would become increasingly embarrassing" (1991, p. 357). To explain his position he uses the example of medical journal considering someone to write a column about nutrition, then discovering that the person is a naturopath who did not believe that germs cause disease, or Sky and Telescope assigning someone to write a column on how to make or buy telescopes, and then finding that the author did not believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Gardner (1991, p. 358) concludes that in both of these cases the writer might be well informed about nutrition or telescopes, but the magazine would be fully justified in not allowing them to write to avoid facing ridicule. While these examples may be somewhat strained if not unrealistic, no world view is fully objective, and as a University of California at Berkeley law scholar notes, science has today been strangled by naturalistic Darwinism:
In Darwinist hands, however, science includes a philosophical bias that is essentially religious in character. Darwinists begin by assuming that science excludes the possibility of a creator. They conclude that purely material processes (like random mutation and selection) must have created all the wonders of the living world, because nothing else was available to do the job. (P. Johnson, 1990:B7)
For this reason many of Mims' supporters feel that Gardener's analogy is not only invalid, but that it is an unethical "guilt by association" ploy. Gardner quotes University of Maryland physicist Robert Park, who stated that Mims has "established that he doesn't have credibility to write about science" if he rejects evolutionism. This illustrates the common attitude among scientists on the subject of origins (Truehart, 1990; 1990a). Poll after poll finds about half of all Americans are conservative creationists, and further over 20% of all biology teachers and professors do not accept evolutionism. As Milner notes:
According to a 1982 Gallup Poll, the American public is almost evenly divided between those who believed that God created man in his present form in a single act of creation in the last 10,000 years and those who believe in evolution or an evolutionary process involving God. Although the Gallup organization did not conduct a follow-up study, a more recent survey of beliefs among a collegiate population was made in 1986 by social scientists at the University of Texas. Nearly 1,000 students at five colleges were asked whether they accepted certain propositions as true, including the story of Adam and Eve. A surprisingly large majority, 60 percent, of the students in the survey said they do believe that "Adam and Eve were created by God as the first two people." If the study is accurate, a higher proportion of the college-educated Americans believe the Adam and Eve story than the general population polled by Gallup four years earlier (1990, p. 100).
Gardner assumes his analogy is valid because he believes that naturalism evolutionism is a fact, and, as an Eric Hofferian true believer, he refuses to consider any other world view. Gardner, who was "raised a fundamentalist," evidently had a bad experience with religion or religious people, and now calls himself a "philosophical theist" (1991, p. 357). He concludes that God had nothing to do with the creation of the universe or anything in it, including humans. God is presumably like an army general who takes over a thriving village and claims the village's successes as its own. Likewise, after the universe evolved by its own forces, God decided to steal the credit for its many wonders.
The Central Role of Religion in the Case
Ironically, Gardner steadfastly claims that it was not Mims' religion that ruined his career at Scientific American, but only his beliefs about evolution. Yet he states:
"... it would be interesting to see if Mims ever has the courage to write an article on say, how amateur scientists can build equipment for testing (by any of several different techniques) the ages of fossils and human artifacts, or will he, like a good Southern Baptist, carefully avoid any topic that might provide support for the theory that fundamentalists believe to be the work of Satan?" (Emphasis added).
And Gardner adds, "although he [Mims] prefers to call himself an evangelical, Mims is a Southern Baptist fundamentalist" (1991, p. 358; 357). Gardner here makes it clear that Mims' beliefs about evolution are an integral part of his religion, and that he was not hired because of those beliefs, then makes the astounding claim that "it was not Mims' religion" that caused his problems (1991, p. 357). Mims, in response to Gardner, insists he is not a fundamentalist, but an evangelical and that there is a "significant difference between the two" (Mims, 1992b, p. 444). Gardner then concludes that "it is unlikely that either Cal Thomas or Forrest Mims will ever go back to college—fundamentalist colleges like Jerry Falwell's exempted—to take geology 101 and change their minds about evolution" (1991, p. 358). As explained by P. Johnson, the Mims episode
... shows us that science is beset by religious fundamentalism—of two kinds. One group of fundamentalists—the Biblical creation-scientists—has been banished from mainstream science and education and has no significant influence. Another group has enormous clout in science and science education, and is prepared to use it to exclude people they consider unbelievers. The influential fundamentalists are called Darwinists (1990, p. 12).
Smith (1990) calls professors with this unreasonable hostility against religion "academic fundamentalists," and Frair has concluded that "the scientific enterprise itself is weakened by the type of intolerance and censorship evidenced by the staff of Scientific American" (1992, p. 157).
A Response to This Situation
Eastland (1991, p. 34) has concluded that had it not been for religious bigotry,
"Forrest Mims would be writing today the column he so clearly would have been good at. Scientific American's worry about `a possible inadvertent linking' of Mims' beliefs `with the good name of this magazine' is irrational unless one irrationally assumes that its readership is also irrational."
He adds that "the Mims affair has demonstrated the `public relations nightmare' a magazine can have when it acts like Scientific American." The solution to the problem, as stated in broad terms by Flesher (1990, p. 12) a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is "to resist the impulse to exclude, a priori, any competent scientist from contributing work or comment in open publication, discussion, and debate. Science is about knowing, it is not about believing."
The wider importance of this controversy is that
... millions of people in oppressed lands would consider themselves truly blessed if the worst thing that could happen to them was denial of employment at one bigoted firm. But ... this is the only country that professes such an intolerance of discrimination .... Against that buffoonishly self-righteous background comes the case of a man denied employment for the most pernicious reason of all: his private inner beliefs. In Mims' 20 years as a science writer, he has not brought up, even once, the creationism he believes in. And there is certainly no reason to believe he would have mentioned the unmentionable in any employment at the close-minded Scientific American. Indeed, it appears his private beliefs were revealed only as a result of an intrusive employment interview.... What, Mims asked incredulously, does this have to do with my writing articles on such things as how amateurs can measure the length of lightning bolts, or build a solar observatory. As this is being written and read, cataclysmic reforms are taking place in the Soviet Union. For all we know, they may presently be enacting legislation making it a crime to discriminate on the basis of an individual's inner beliefs—or even to ask about them as a condition of employment. Just the thought of such potential monumental embarrassment to this nation should make every concerned American drop whatever he or she is doing and rally to the cause of Forrest M. Mims 3rd (Freedman, 1990, p. 10).
Mims' track record should speak for itself, but in this case something else obviously spoke far louder (Keleher, 1991; Taylor, 1991). As Mims put it, Scientific American judged him on his beliefs, not for what he can do (Truehart, 1990). Art Salsberg, the editor of Modern Electronics and one who knows Mims' record, stated in an editorial that when filling out directories for writers that list their publication needs and their article requirements, "I have never come across a question related to anything personal, such as religious beliefs, political leanings, ..." (1991, p. 5). And as for the work of Forrest Mims, which he has long been familiar with, Salsberg said,
"it seems that Scientific American's editor feared that he would be embarrassed if other people found out about Forrest's beliefs and tried to exploit the fact that he was writing for the publication. Now that's paranoid, at best, I think, given the subject matter that Forrest writes about."
Salsberg adds, "that Mims' personal beliefs have nothing to do with the work he does," noting that two other regular Modern Electronics writers also "share his private beliefs" and that whether one is a creationist is "simply not a consideration here for accepting or rejecting anyone's articles (1991, p. 5). For many scientific journals, though, it is obviously very important—Scientific American even refuses paid ads for all creationists' publications (Frair, 1992).
Mims agrees with Salsberg, noting that:
Gardner also ridiculed the fact that I am editor of Science Probe! —[what he calls a] "a handsome new science magazine." Scientific writings stand or fall on their own merit. Would Gardner reject the writings of Galileo, Newton, Bacon, Kepler, Linnaeus, Pasteur, and a host of others because of their abiding faith in God? Would he have written for Scientific American had he known its founding editor, Rufus Porter, advocated in its pages belief in a Creator God?
What is puzzling about all this is that Gardner has assured me that he, too, believes in a "creator God" who is also a "personal God." Although Gardner believes God created life through evolution, he has also assured me that his theism does not preclude the possibility that God is capable of creating life spontaneously and without evolution (Mims, 1992b, p. 444-445).
An interesting comparison of Science Probe! with Scientific American was made by Lovelock:
... neither the journals of science nor the news media have commented on the colours of the night sky since the eruption of Pinatubo. [Yet]... Pinatubo and the night sky were covered in the new magazine Science Probe!. An informative article answered many of my questions, and even showed how to estimate the height of the aerosol layer from the length of time colours lingered after sunset. This journal brings back a world of which science was a familiar part. For me it recalled an altogether lighter and more friendly Scientific American, read with joy in the public library at Brixton, south London, 60 years ago. Such reading and amateur experiments led me to a fulfilling life in the vocation of science, reading that was the antidote to the scientifically correct but utterly dull teaching of my grammar school. Science taught then, as now, was mere knowledge needed to pass exams (1992, p. 436).
Mims is only one of many persons who were labeled "creationist" and consequently were locked out of their scientific publishing positions. The Editor of Scientific American also refused to "give Dr. [Phillip] Johnson space to respond to a rancorous and sulking four-page review of his book by Stephen J. Gould,* despite the urging of numerous fair minded scientists" (Buell, 1992, p. 2). Professor P. William Davis, the author of several best selling college biology textbooks, including The World of Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology and several others, was dropped by Saunders College Publishing Company as an author when the scientific community complained to Saunders because he had co-authored another book that alluded to the need for a designer to explain the natural world (P. W. Davis, 1988; Solomon et al, 1983). The other book, Of Pandas and People, (P. W. Davis, et al, 1989; see also Frair and P. W. Davis, 1983) resulted in the end of Davis' highly successful career as a college biology textbook author. Many do succeed, because as Pittman concluded, it is difficult to even determine the number of creationists in academia because "few creationists are willing to risk their jobs by 'outing' their principles in this climate" (1992, p. 9).
©1993. Reprinted from http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1993/PSCF3-93Bergman.html with the permission of Dr. Bergman.
* Phillip Johnson's response to Gould's review follows this article.
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