Atheist Adam Rutherford writing in The Guardian comments on the denial of tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez by Iowa State University:
Saying, whether in 4004 BC or 13 billion years ago, that "God made it" is not falsifiable and therefore not science.
No, it's not a scientific belief, but what of it? Neither is the statement that the universe just popped into existence of its own accord a falsifiable assertion. It, too, is an affirmation of a particular metaphysical commitment. So why is one non-falsifiable assertion enough to get one exiled from the scientific community but the other is perfectly acceptable?
Rutherford's column gets worse:
I know that, were I in a position to offer Guillermo Gonzalez tenure, I would deny it for the precise reason that his, yes, religious views about purpose in the universe explicitly mean he is a crap scientist, regardless of his ability to generate valid data.
Rutherford is, astonishingly enough, claiming that whether or not someone is a good researcher, whether or not they are a good teacher, whether or not they can "generate data," they are a "crap scientist" and should be fired if they don't embrace the particular metaphysical view of the world that he favors. Since when must scientists be atheists and view the universe as a purposeless machine? Since when is there a philosophical litmus test for who can teach science?
Mr. Rutherford's take on the nature of science is breathtakingly narrow-minded. His bigotry would have led him to deny tenure to Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Michael Faraday, Robert Boyle and a host of other brilliant thinkers who saw the cosmos as the handiwork of a Creator.
Nor can Mr. Rutherford adduce any empirical evidence to show that the inference of intentionality drawn from the structure of the cosmos is mistaken. Nevertheless, even if it were mistaken, it'd be mistaken about a philosophical interpretation of the scientific data, not about the science itself.
Inquisitors like Rutherford, however, don't care about such distinctions. For them science is not just about producing data, it's about promoting with missionary zeal a metaphysical worldview that science itself can in no way justify or support. It's about evangelizing the masses on behalf of a materialistic atheism. The religion of materialism wraps itself in the garb of science hoping that no one will notice and pronounces all challenges to its hegemony to be illicit attacks on the sacred cow of science. Conflating metaphysics with empirical science the self-appointed preachers of materialistic orthodoxy set out like Torquemada to punish as heretics anyone who deviates from their doctrine by sending their careers up in flames.
There's a wonderful movie out titled The Lives of Others. It's about how the tyrannical East German secret police, the Stazi, punished citizens who flouted official communist doctrine or who were so indiscreet as to utter an irreverent word about the East German government. Watching the movie one is astounded at the pettiness and small-mindedness of the people who made up this oppressive apparatus. Sadly, they were people whose minds worked just like that of Adam Rutherford.
At the end of the movie the Berlin Wall has fallen and the communists are thrown out of power. A victim of the Stazi oppression encounters a former official, a vindictive man who was in charge of rooting out political heretics. The victim, with palpable and justifiable disgust, says to this odious and pathetic figure, "To think that people like you once actually ran a country." Reading Rutherford's column those words echoed in my mind - to think that people like this actually dictate what beliefs are philosophically acceptable among scientists.RLC