Proponents of Intelligent Design are crying foul after the Wikipedia page for a respected scientist who believes that God created the universe with a purpose was recently deleted.
Günter Bechly is a paleo-entomologist in Germany whose areas of expertise include fossil history and insect origins. A Roman Catholic, Bechly says he grew up in a secular home but concluded later that the evidence for Darwinian evolution is weak and the data pointing to Intelligent Design is strong.
“Many people think that somebody who comes to doubt the neo-Darminian process and embraces intelligent design probably was religious from the very beginning, probably is an evangelical Christian, and has his axes to grind—his religious axe to grind,” Bechly said in a documentary published recently on YouTube by the Discovery Institute. “I came via a totally different path…I’m coming from a family background which is totally secular, agnostic. [I] was not baptized, didn’t join any kind of religious education, never went to church, so I was completely irreligious.”
Bechly says he rejects atheism, materialism, naturalism and scientism, and that his work as a scientist led him to believe in the hand of God in creation.
“My conversion was based on a critical evaluation of empirical data and philosophical arguments, following the evidence wherever it leads,” he wrote on his personal blog. “I am skeptical of the neo-Darwinian theory of macro-evolution and support Intelligent Design theory for purely scientific reasons.”
After first expressing his support for Intelligent Design in 2015, Bechly has repeatedly criticized Darwinian evolution and pointed out scientific evidence for a designer. When, as previously reported, a prominent biologist admitted the shortcomings of evolutionary theory at a recent meeting of the Royal Society in London, Bechly, who was in attendance at the event, took to Facebook to critique the “explanatory deficits” of evolution.
“After this conference I am more assured than ever that evolutionary biology is an emperor without clothes, and Intelligent Design is the best explanation of biological complexity and diversity,” he stated.
Although Bechly has written dozens of scientific papers and graduated summa cum laude with a Ph.D. in geosciences from the University of Tübingen in Germany, his Wikipedia page was recently deleted after several Wikipedia users agreed that his “notability” was insufficient.
“[Bechly] lacks a strong enough citation level to pass academic notability guideline, nothing else to suggest notability,” wrote Wikipedia user John Pack Lambert in an online discussion board before the page was deleted.
“His turn to fringe creationist views does not seem to be notable at all, and cannot be covered without mainstream sources giving it an adequately neutral point of view,” another proposed.
David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute, where Bechly serves as a senior fellow, believes the deletion of Bechly’s Wikipedia page is an instance of censorship against ID.
“This is a big deal, and a reminder of a key dynamic in the debate about ID,” wrote Klinghoffer in a recent blog post. Pointing out that Bechly lost his job as a museum curator after revealing his support for the theory of Intelligent Design, Klinghoffer says the Wikipedia page deletion is “another act of censorship” against his colleague.
“We have documented a range of instances of censorship and intimidation,” Klinghoffer added. “Rarely, though, do the censors reveal themselves as clearly as in the case of Wikipedia versus Bechly.”
“Clearly, the editors trying to erase Dr. Bechly’s record do not have some sort of knockdown, objective algorithmic case against him,” he continued. “It’s a mad world, a funhouse world, where the notability of a paleontologist of Günter Bechly’s stature is uncontested one day but, following his admission of finding ID persuasive, suddenly and furiously contested.”