If a scientist does a research project, publishes his data and then goes home and writes how it shows ID, [Intelligent Design] should he lose his job?
Of course, this depends on a variety of other facts not given in a one-sentence question, so let’s try some scenarios to flesh out the possibilities:
Bob works for EvoScience, Inc. They have a contract which clearly states all research performed is the sole property of EvoScience. No stealing; No moonlighting. While working, Bob discovers what he thinks is the next progression in Intelligent Design. EvoScience refuses to publish it. Bob takes the research home and writes a book showing how this research demonstrates Intelligent Design. Should he lose his job?
Answer: Bob should lose his job. He had a contract, and failed to abide by the terms of the contract. Like it or spike it; the consequence of using that data was a loss of job. Same as a chemist working for Johnson & Johnson stealing a patent.
Bob still works for EvoScience. His superiors insist he works only on projects based upon evolution. Several times at work, Bob is caught doing research on what he thinks is Intelligent Design. After three reprimands—should he lose his job?
Answer: Why not? As an employer, they can request their employees to follow certain disciplines. If I tell my secretary I want her to type in Word(c) and ONLY Word(c), no matter how much she likes WordPerfect(c), since I am the boss, I get to make the rules. She can type in WordPerfect(c) at home all she likes. If she thinks this demand is unreasonable—she is free to find another job.
(And before you think this is too harsh; remember this goes both ways. If I was hiring a secretary, and an interviewee insisted she would ONLY type in WordPerfect(c), I am free to not hire her. Nothing forces me to go out and buy a program I won’t use to satisfy an employee.)
Bob. EvoScience. The policy of the company is once the research is published, it becomes public domain. After that the employees can do with it what they like. A few have even published (minor) articles using the same material with no consequence. After one particular research project is published, Bob does exactly that—prints an article using the research. His superiors are completely opposed to the premises within the article; should he lose his job?
Answer: …Wait. Before you answer, let’s try a few modifications:
a) Bob’s article argues for the extermination of the Jewish race as they are a “sub-class” of humans…
b) Bob’s article argues there is Global Warming, and our planet will die in 100 years…
c) Bob’s article argues Jesus was a myth…
d) Bob’s article argues we should not have used the atomic bomb in World War II…
e) Bob’s article argues for gay marriage…
f) Bob’s article argues the government is monitoring us through the fillings in our teeth…
g) Bob’s article argues pro-abortion…
Starts to get a little tricky…or does it? Again, why can’t an employer fire an employee for something they disagree with? On or off the job? Again—this goes both ways. If I hired a young lawyer, paid them a salary, but insisted s/he lie to my wife about the affair I was having—they are free to quit out of principle, even if it had nothing to do with their job of lawyering. Or if I hired them, but made them do my laundry—they can quit.
At what wacky idea must an employer tolerate an employee OR an employee tolerate an employer?
Bob. EvoScience. Bob’s boss is staunch Catholic. Discovers Bob is Protestant and immediately fires him because he only wants to work with “true Christians.” Should Bob have lost his job?
Answer: O.K. This one is easy. We all know the non-discrimination for religious beliefs.
I see this all the time. People will call and say they were fired for being late to work one time. “They can’t do that, can they? If I was late only once?” Yes—they can. What they cannot do is fire you for your Race, Religion, Creed, Gender, Marital Status, and (in some areas) Sexual Orientation.
What is happening is the Intelligent Designers want their cake and eat it, too. When it comes being taught in schools—they want to insist this has nothing to do with religion. Nope—this is science, science, science. But when it comes to the workplace, “scientific belief” is not a protected class. Now, all of a sudden, the Intelligent Designer wants the same protection as a religion!
While I have enjoyed the furor over “Expelled,” I am starting to see it is really all a big “so what?” Think about what we should say in response to this movie:
Stein: Oh the HORRORS! Some poor teacher was DISCRIMINATED AGAINST for daring to speak on behalf of Intelligent Design.
Me: Yep. The person worked for a science department. Intelligent design is bad science. There is no protection of “free speech” in a science department. It is a job. Therefore they were rightly fired for doing bad science. There is no religious protection—“Intelligent design” claims to not be religious, remember?
There is no protection for discrimination on a non-protected class. None. You can fire someone for being bald, or bad breath, or for bad science.
What is it about “Intelligent Design” that grants it any more protection than a person who believes in Global Warming or to not use vaccines, or that aliens are slowly replacing people with robots?
So back to our original question—why should Intelligent Design be granted religious protection? Careful here—if you agree with me it is creationism, you may gain a religious protection in the workplace, but you will completely lose the battle to teach it in schools. (Plus it will make all those arguments about how intelligent design does not mean a god-belief pretty silly.)
If the employer wants to fire a person for believing in intelligent design—so be it. A big, fat “so what…”