Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Not Sympathetic

I'm Not Sympathetic

I've mentioned in the past
examples of discrimination against, in some cases, quite astonishingly qualified scientists apparently based on their disagreement with the True Faith of Evolution. Here's a case where, at least based on the news reports, I'm not so sympathetic. From the December 7, 2007 Boston Globe:
The battle between science and creationism has reached the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where a former researcher is claiming he was fired because he doesn't believe in evolution.
more stories like this

Nathaniel Abraham filed a lawsuit earlier this week in US District Court in Boston saying that the Cape Cod research center dismissed him in 2004 because of his Christian belief that the Bible presents a true account of human creation.

Abraham, who is seeking $500,000 in compensation for a violation of his civil rights, says in the suit that he lost his job as a postdoctoral researcher in a biology lab shortly after he told his superior that he did not accept evolution as scientific fact.

"Woods Hole believes they have the right to insist on a belief in evolution," said David C. Gibbs III, one of Abraham's two attorneys and general counsel of the Christian Law Association in Seminole, Fla.


In a 2004 letter to Abraham, his boss, Woods Hole senior scientist Mark E. Hahn, wrote that Abraham said he did not want to work on "evolutionary aspects" of the National Institutes of Health grant for which he was hired, even though the project clearly required scientists to use the principles of evolution in their analyses and writing.
The article goes on to state that Abraham was hired specifically to work on projects that involved studying particular problems from an evolutionary standpoint. The analogy would be if a free market think tank hired someone to analyze public policy problems from a laissez faire capitalist perspective. If you hired someone, and they told you that they really didn't believe that capitalism was a good thing, I think it would be entirely within the employer's rights to fire such a person.

What is more troubling, however, is this claim on the second page:
The [Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination] commission dismissed his complaint earlier this year. The commission said Abraham was terminated because his request not to work on evolutionary aspects of the project would be challenging for Woods Hole because the research was based on evolutionary theories.

But Gibbs said that Abraham, after disclosing his religious beliefs to Hahn, was subjected to a hostile work environment. "There was a systematic attempt for him to change his beliefs or resign," Gibbs said. "His life has been turned upside down by this."
If this is an accurate description of what happened (and it might not be), this might be a valid basis for concern. If an employee is simply not going to do the job that you hired him to do, you fire him. Why spend time trying to "change his beliefs"? That, unfortunately, shows the fundamentally religious nature of the True Religion of Evolution that dominates a lot of institutions.

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