The doctrine of evolution is a central pillar of the secularist religion. Like most trendy religions, secularism asks very little of its followers and yet speaks to their pride – which is why it has so many worshipers.

In a nutshell, the secularist religion says, “Everything originated by accident from nothing (the Big Bang). Biological entities were not created by an intelligent designer, they simply all grew out of the same tub of primordial pond scum conveniently left behind following the Big Bang (evolution). Thus, there is no God (atheism), so now we’re in charge (power). Give us the money.”

Ah, yes. Somehow or another it always come down to that, doesn’t it? Pass the higher taxes collection plate and drop off the loot in my corner office, or dump it into my retirement account. And if you ever dare to question my faith, you’ll never work at this university again – you untenured turnip.

And even tenured turnips are having their problems. You could ask, for instance, Dr. Henry F. Schaefer, director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia. According to the Wall Street Journal, he “has written or co-authored 1,082 scientific papers and is one of the world’s most widely cited chemists by other researchers” (“At Some Colleges, Classes Questioning Evolution Take Hold,” by Daniel Golden, Nov. 14, 2005). Dr. Schaefer was “disinvited” to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he was going to talk about intelligent design, because “the school wanted to avoid ‘legitimizing intelligent design from a scientific perspective.'”

Dr. Schaefer’s comment? “Those who favor the standard evolutionary model are in a state of panic,” he says. “Intelligent design truly terrorizes them.”

But why? In the broadest sense, doesn’t the university exist to seek truth – wherever that path leads? Isn’t the purpose of science to find out how things really work? Isn’t that why the concept of academic freedom came about – because truth frequently upsets the apple cart of convention and leaves angry vendors in the marketplace of ideas?

If academic freedom and tenure leave you with a good job and a corner office in the biology wing of campus – regardless of whether an intelligent designer created the flagellum or it evolved piecemeal from a leak in the pond scum tub following the Big Bang – what’s the difference? Wouldn’t you want to know the truth? Wouldn’t that further your inquiries down the road? Isn’t that why you entered the academy – to learn the truth?

The behavior of the current crop of academic turnips indicates that more often than not – much more often – the truth is not their elusive goal; rather she is a haunting ghost that appears at the most inopportune times, and in a variety of terrifying disguises – such as intelligent design.

Indeed, for far too many in the academy, truth is their sworn enemy. Their friend is the status quo: big salaries, generous grant money, growing prestige among their peers – and the ability to influence society through the next generation by passing on the tenets of their secular religion. And that’s so much easier when your critics are locked safely outside the walls of the academic castle. Oh, and pass the tax-collection plate. The truth is, we need even more money.

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