Yesterday I think I mentioned that what happens with our American cousins affects us all. Today's front page of the Ottawa Citizen confirmed that for me. Staring me in the face was the above headline. (Weblink to the online version of the story)
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council decided that McGill professor Brian Alters couldn't get a $40k grant
The planned project, submitted last year to the research council, is titled: "Detrimental effects of popularizing anti-evolution's intelligent design theory on Canadian students, teachers, parents, administrators and policymakers."Why you may ask did they deny the grant?
In denying his request, the research council's peer-review committee recently sent Mr. Alters a letter explaining he'd failed to "substantiate the premise" of his study.There comes a point when you have to wonder if they make people prove the atom in every proposal related to physics. (Upcoming Sarcasm Alert) "I'm sorry to report that your proposal has been declined. You failed to adequately justify the assumption in your proposal concerning the existence of gravity."
It said he hadn't provided "adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of evolution, and not intelligent-design theory, was correct."
Evolution is an assumption in the same way that gravity and the atom are. In the words of Gould, withholding assent makes one look foolish at this point.
The text of the letter was in a pull out quote which is reproduced at the end of the online article.
Interestingly the "evolution assumption" is buried in the middle. (Hoping that primacy and recency would make people overlook what may be the most telling comment?)
'Assumption' Sinks Grant Application
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's letter to McGill professor Brian Alters:
"The committee found that the candidates were qualified. However, it judged the proposal did not adequately substantiate the premise that the popularizing of Intelligent Design Theory had detrimental effects on Canadian students, teachers, parents and policymakers. Nor did the committee consider that there was adequate justification for the assumption in the proposal that the theory of Evolution, and not Intelligent Design theory, was correct. It was not convinced, therefore, that research based on these assumptions would yield objective results. In addition, the committee found that the research plans were insufficiently elaborated to allow for an informed evaluation of their merit. In view of its reservations the committee recommended that no award be made."
Frankly, this is a worrying development in the Canadian scene. I'll see about follow up later.