From the Boston Globe:
The battle between science and creationism has reached the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where a former researcher is claiming he was fired because he doesn’t believe in evolution.
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Nathaniel Abraham filed a lawsuit earlier this week in US District Court in Boston saying that the Cape Cod research center dismissed him in 2004 because of his Christian belief that the Bible presents a true account of human creation.
Abraham, who is seeking $500,000 in compensation for a violation of his civil rights, says in the suit that he lost his job as a postdoctoral researcher in a biology lab shortly after he told his superior that he did not accept evolution as scientific fact.
“Woods Hole believes they have the right to insist on a belief in evolution,” said David C. Gibbs III, one of Abraham’s two attorneys and general counsel of the Christian Law Association in Seminole, Fla.
Evolution is a fundamental tenet of biology that species emerge because of genetic changes to organisms that, over time, favor their survival. Creationists reject the notion that humans evolved from apes and that life on Earth began billions of years ago, but Gibbs said Abraham “truly believes there was no conflict between religion and his job.”
Woods Hole officials released a statement saying, “The Institution firmly believes that its actions and those of its employees concerning Dr. Abraham were entirely lawful,” and that the center does not discriminate on the basis of religion.
In a 2004 letter to Abraham, his boss, Woods Hole senior scien tist Mark E. Hahn, wrote that Abraham said he did not want to work on “evolutionary aspects” of the National Institutes of Health grant for which he was hired, even though the project clearly required scientists to use the principles of evolution in their analyses and writing.
Pharyngula has a great take on this including this gem:
If he thinks he can get a half-mil for wrongful termination on this, I’m going to march down to the local fundie church and demand a job as youth pastor, which I will prosecute by explaining the absurdity of god-belief to the little kids in Sunday School, and then I’ll sue when they fire me. This isn’t simply firing someone for incidental, private beliefsâ€”it’s firing him for practices that actually conflict with the stated purpose of the job.
Abraham is now working at Liberty University, where all creationist poseurs who claim to be scientists go to die.