Jerry Coyne Writes to the CNR

Jerry said I could use his letter instead of writing my own. Italy is now the proud owner of a homegrown creationist lobby. CNR stands for National Research Council, so this is a problem at the highest possible level.

Dear Dr. Maiani,

I read with dismay in this week’s Science that your organization has not only funded but promoted a creationist book edited by Roberto de Mattei.  Your remarks on this book indicate that you think the CNR’s financial and intellectual support was justified because you consider intellectual research an “open enterprise” and are “opposed to any form of censorship.”

Certainly intellectual research is “open” to anyone, but do you really think it’s at all useful for a respected body of scientists to promote and support blatant lies like those promulgated in this book? (I need hardly tell you that dinosaurs did not die out 40,000 years ago, nor that the geological strata are not the product of a sudden, worldwide flood!)  Really, it’s like the CNR supporting flat-earth theory, or the view that diseases are produced by evil spirits.

And do you really think that the CNR’s refusal to publish these lies would be considered censorship? I call such a refusal “good science”.  Would it be “censorship” for your organization to refuse to publish a book proving that the earth is flat? For that is what creationism is equivalent to.

We have our own problems with creationism in the United States, but I never thought that that problem would crop up in Italy, particularly in an organization as respected as the CNR.  

Are we in for an Italian monkey trial next?

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