- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
- Joint Chiefs chair Dempsey: Pentagon, VA too slow in merging medical systems
- Sen. Ben Cardin hits Ukraine for crackdown on Kiev protests
- Drone technology turns South, targets feral pigs to kill
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Better pack a lightsaber: House told space explorers could find alien life in 10 years
Scientist’s complaint backed
Question of the Day
A preliminary federal investigation supports a government scientist's complaint that he was shown bias by Smithsonian Institution colleagues after a science journal he edited published a report on the theory of "intelligent design."
However, the Office of Special Counsel informed the complainant, Richard Sternberg, that it is ending the probe into the case because of jurisdictional questions and the Smithsonian's refusal to "voluntarily participate in any additional investigation" into his grievance.
"They will legally challenge our jurisdictional authority," James McVay, principal special assistant to the special counsel, told Mr. Sternberg in an 11-page letter dated Aug. 5. Mr. McVay added he does not think Mr. Sternberg could win that fight.
Asked to comment on Mr. McVay's findings, Michele Urie, spokeswoman for the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, said, "We've heard nothing from the Office of Special Counsel."
Intelligent design challenges the Darwinian theory of evolution, contending that the origins of life forms are better explained by an unspecified intelligent agent than by such unguided processes as natural selection and genetic mutation.
Mr. Sternberg, a research associate at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, said he was "singled out for harassment and threats" by others at the Smithsonian, who viewed him as a "creationist" after the publication of the intelligent design article last year.
Mr. Sternberg said Mr. McVay "found strong support for my complaint" and cited "concrete examples" of where Smithsonian personnel demonstrated "discrimination" against him for perceived religious and political views.
Mr. McVay cited e-mail in which Mr. Sternberg was described as a "creationist." He said one message asserted that Mr. Sternberg had "extensive training as an orthodox priest" and that the paper he published was a "sheer disaster," which made the institution a "laughingstock."
Mr. Sternberg, 41, who holds two doctorates in evolutionary biology, is employed at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As part of his duties there, he does research at the Smithsonian.
As Mr. McVay pointed out, Mr. Sternberg is classified as a Title 42 scientist -- a federal classification that, under a recent ruling, is denied "protections offered under the offices of" the Office of Special Counsel.
In addition, Mr. McVay said the initial probe "supports the [Smithsonian's] contention that you are not an employee" and therefore are not covered "under the jurisdictional statutes imposed upon OSC."
From December 2001 until last fall, Mr. Sternberg served as managing editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. In the August 2004 issue of the journal, Mr. Sternberg published an article on intelligent design written by Stephen C. Meyer, a fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.
In his complaint with the special counsel, Mr. Sternberg said he was belittled by a Smithsonian supervisor and other employees after the article appeared. He said museum authorities contacted his employers at NIH, seeking his ouster.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- Doctors say profound new HIV treatment may prove the cure
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- EDITORIAL: Motor City meltdown
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Last call: State Dept. bought $180,000 in liquor before shutdown
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Career Doctor Cassi Fields prescribes valuable advice for anyone looking to find a career, nail an interview or earn a promotion.
Headlines from Associated Press and around the Internet
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.