Federal A Washington Roundup

Researcher Claims Retaliation Over ‘Intelligent Design’ Article

By Sean Cavanagh — August 30, 2005 1 min read

A researcher at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington is contending that employees at the federal museum complex and research organization retaliated against him for overseeing publication of a 2004 article supporting the concept of intelligent design.

Richard M. Sternberg’s complaints appear to have been supported by a preliminary investigation by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which investigates federal workplace complaints. The initial report from that office, posted on Mr. Sternberg’s Web site, said there was a “strong religious and political component” to actions taken against the researcher by Smithsonian employees after publication of the article. Mr. Sternberg could not be reached for comment; an OSC official declined to comment.

Mr. Sternberg is serving as a research associate at the Smithsonian on a three-year appointment that ends in 2006, a spokesman for the institution said. The dispute stems from his decision as managing editor of a non-Smithsonian journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, to publish an article by Stephen C. Meyer supporting intelligent design, the view that human development has been guided by a master designer, rather than occurring entirely by evolution.

On Aug. 5, another federal entity took a stance in favor of evolution, in the face of widely reported disputes over the subject in districts around the country. The National Assessment Governing Board, in Washington, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, approved a draft of a revised science portion of the NAEP that includes a thorough treatment of evolution, and makes no mention of intelligent design.

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