Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Cloning Opponent Denied Tenure at MIT


Dr. James Shirley, an adult stem cell scientist, has lost his appeal and will be denied tenure at MIT. Shirley, who is African-American, is charging racism. I can't comment about that, or whether Shirley's academic credentials would warrant tenure. But I can't help suspecting that his vocal opposition to all human cloning played a major part. You see, to oppose research cloning is deemed among the scientific intelligentsia and the adherents to philosophical scientism, to be "anti science."

We often hear scientists castigating the Catholic Church because of its stifling of Galileo all those years ago. The media often cluck-clucks about the Bush Administration's supposed suppression of scientific opinion on issues such as global warming. But there is mostly only silence about the intimidation mounted against scientists with heterodox views, who are threatened with denial of tenure, forced to teach "punishment" Freshman classes after years of teaching post graduates, not permitted to write book chapters, denied access to publishing in prestigious journals (one of the charges against Shirley is that he did not publish in the best journals), and otherwise discriminated against and marginalized for voicing minority views. This stifling of academic freedom is truly egregious--and it may be the unstated reason behind Shirley's ousting.


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