Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bishnu Shrestha and the Forty Thieves

Strategy Page has an amazing article about a retired Indian Gurkha soldier named Bishnu Shrestha. Shrestha was a passenger on a train that was set upon by a gang of some forty thieves (which sounds like a story out of The Arabian Nights). The odds, evidently, were still in Shrestha's favor. Here's the lede:
For the last five months, India has been celebrating and honoring a retired Gurkha soldier (Bishnu Shrestha) who, singlehandedly killed three bandits, wounded eight and drove off another 30. Snce then Shrestha has been given medals, cash and accolades for his outstanding valor and prowess. The Indian Gurkha regiment he recently retired from persuaded him to return to active duty so he could receive a cash award and a promotion. Bishnu Shrestha's father had also served with the same unit, and retired from it 29 years ago.
If you read the rest of Shrestha's story at the link continue to read about the Gurkha fighting in Afghanistan who was arrested by the British authorities who couldn't do enough to mollify the Taliban and demonstrate to them their eagerness to appease. Sadly, the British are not the people they once were. I can't imagine Winston Churchill or Maggie Thatcher being so obsequiously solicitous of Taliban sensibilities, although I guess I can imagine Neville Chamberlain doing it.

Repressing Dissent

David Klinghoffer over at NRO considers the alarming trend toward religious discrimination in taxpayer supported institutions. He notes that the recent case of Martin Gaskell, the eminently qualified astronomer who was denied a job supervising the University of Kentucky's astronomical observatory because emails showed that the committee charged with filling the position feared he was one of those nutty Christians who believed in intelligent design.

Gaskell sued and the university chose to pay a $125,000 settlement. Committee emails revealed that one of Gaskell's colleague's complained that Professor Gaskell was “potentially Evangelical,” a condign disqualification if ever there was one.

A supporter on the committee, an astrophysicist, protested that the committee was about to reject Gaskell “despite his qualifications that stand far above those of any other applicant.”

Klinghoffer writes:
This is no isolated incident. An enormous, largely hidden transformation has taken place in what we mean when we speak of “science.” For centuries, the free and unfettered scientific enterprise was fueled by a desire to know the mind of God. “The success of the West,” writes historian Rodney Stark in his important book The Victory of Reason, “including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians.” Now, increasingly, voicing such a desire is likely to get you excluded from the guild of professional scientists.
He goes on to give some other egregious examples of how academia blacklists and persecutes those who demur to the scientific establishment's metaphysical orthodoxy:
Last month, a top-level computer specialist on the NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn, David Coppedge, got fired after he sued JPL for religious discrimination. Coppedge had occasionally chatted with interested colleagues about the scientific case for intelligent design, which made good sense since JPL’s officially defined mission includes the exploration of questions relating to the origin and development of life on Earth and elsewhere. For this, his supervisor severely chastised him for “pushing religion” and humiliated and demoted him.

At Iowa State University, astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzalez was refused tenure, despite a spectacular research publication record, because of a book he co-authored arguing that life is no cosmic accident.

At the Smithsonian Institution, supervisors harshly penalized evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg for editing a pro–intelligent design essay in a peer-reviewed technical-biology journal. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel examined the 2005 case, finding that Smithsonian colleagues investigated his religious beliefs and created a “hostile work environment” aimed at “forcing [him] out.”

Similar incidents have occurred at the University of Idaho, George Mason University, and Baylor University.
Such heresy-hunting has the effect of intimidating skeptical scientists who are in increasing numbers growing doubtful of materialist dogma. The Darwinian materialists find the intelligent design arguments difficult to counter so they're seeking to stifle and repress them by making their proponents afraid to speak out for fear of losing their job or future promotions.

This is, of course, how the losing side, or at least the side that deserves to lose, always behaves. Like dictators in the Middle Eastern countries we read about in today's news, materialistic Darwinists have long managed to suppress opposition by exercising a kind of tyranny over what will be allowed to be said and taught. Now, however, they find their power and authority fading with almost every new discovery, and, like those Middle Eastern despots, they're striving desperately to stave off the collapse of their belief system by ratcheting up the repression.

It may work for a while, but eventually the despots and dogmatists will pass on and those who succeed them will wonder how their theories and arguments could ever have had such a tenacious hold on them.