AS we’ve reported in earlier posts, Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar appointed Dr. Gavriel Avital to be the ministry’s chief scientist. Avital has been reported as saying that he dismisses Darwin’s theory of evolution because it leaves God out, and that he will “scrutinize textbooks” to make sure that students are not exposed exclusively to “the opinion that man evolved from the ape.” He also denies that the Earth is growing warmer because of carbon dioxide emissions.
Since the news broke about Avital’s opinions there have been several calls for his dismissal. Our last post on this subject was here: Expel the Ignoramus!
Now, in Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, we read Oust head scientist for challenging evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Ten recipients of the Israel Prize, including two Nobel Prize laureates, joined calls yesterday for the dismissal of the Education Ministry’s chief scientist over his comments questioning the validity of evolution and global warming.
In an open letter to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, the laureates wrote, “We don’t see any alternative other than to replace Dr. Gavriel Avital with an individual suited to fill the position, one who could do so faithfully and professionally.”
That’s powerful opposition. So what’s being done? Let’s read on:
At a Knesset session Wednesday, [Education Minister] Sa’ar said Avital’s remarks “are not in line with Education Ministry policy, and are unacceptable to me,” adding that he and ministry director-general Shimshon Shoshani had launched “a process of clarification with the chief scientist.” Ministry officials later said Sa’ar would prefer to have Avital leave his post.
The Knesset is the legislative branch of the Israeli government, and they’re already questioning the Education Minister about the situation. The scandal is less than a week old, so this is remarkably swift. But the promised “process of clarification” sounds like it might be a bureaucratic delaying tactic.
The news article then returns to the letter from the ten scientists:
“As scientists and Israeli citizens,” the letter continued, “we read the remarks attributed to Dr. Avital with concern. The minimum that it is fitting and feasible to ask of him, in addition to having expertise in education, is that he bolster the status of science as a credible, effective basis for advancing education and society.”
That’s not too much to expect. One last excerpt:
“We view Dr. Avital’s remarks gravely,” the letter said, “because they undermine the standing and importance of science and take us centuries backward, even as the world celebrates the importance of Charles Darwin’s discoveries and the great contributions he made to human knowledge and scientific development, and is striving to uproot benighted doctrines such as intelligent design.”
The learned and highly accomplished gentlemen express themselves well. All that remains is for Dr. Avital to leave his office without delay, one way or another.
Dr. Avital can always find another job. We know of a “think tank” in Seattle that specializes in benighted doctrines.
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