In a stunning decision, the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which funds social science research in Canada, turned down a grant request from Professor Brian Alters on the grounds that he’d failed to provide the panel with ample evidence that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct.
Alters requested Can$40,000 to fund his project titled, “Detrimental effects of popularizing anti-evolution’s intelligent design theory on Canadian students, teachers, parents, administrators and policymakers”. Alters is director of McGill University’s Evolution Education Research Center, in Montreal.
In its decision to deny the grant, the SSHRC panel said Alters had not supplied “adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent design theory, was correct.”
Alters said he read the letter at a public lecture last week in Montreal and there were “audible gasps” from the large audience.
“Evolution is not an assumption and intelligent design is pseudo-science,” Alters said.
Janet Halliwell, the SSHRC’s executive vice-president and a chemist by training, acknowledged that the “framing” of the committee’s comments to Alters left the letter “open to misinterpretation.”
Halliwell said confidentiality obligations made it difficult for her to discuss Alters’s case in detail, but she argued that the professor had taken one line in the letter “out of context” and the rejection of his application should not indicate that SSHRC was expressing “doubts about the theory of evolution.”
However, Halliwell added there are phenomena that “may not be easily explained by current theories of evolution” and that the scientific world’s understanding of life “is not static. There’s an evolution in the theory of evolution.”
And in a strange twist, Professor Brian Alters holds teaching positions at McGill and Harvard University, wrote Defending Evolution, AND was a key witness defending Evolution in the Dover, PA trial last year.
When I visited the article on the Montreal Gazette site to get the quotes used in the post, I found the following block of ads below the article:
How ironic that the ads presented are ones against Evolution – the topic of the article. BTW, I blacked out the addresses because I refuse to give them free business. If you want the links in the ads then go to the article webspage.
This is unfortunate news for Science education in Canada. Let’s hope ID doesn’t infect any other countries.
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