This past Monday Dr. Gavriel Avital, Israel’s Chief scientist for the Ministry of Education, was dismissed by his boss Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar. Rabbi Slifkin has the following to say about this incident.
This week, the Israeli Education Ministry's chief scientist, Dr. Gavriel Avital, was fired, for challenging evolution and global warming. I was amused to see that some people saw this as the "suppression of dissent from the scientific orthodoxy." In other words, "here's a scientist who presented a scientific case against evolution, but he was suppressed for political reasons!"
Of course, the facts are entirely different. Dr. Avital is an aeronautical engineer, not a biologist. And he did not present any evidence against evolution. Rather, he revealed himself to be a religiously motivated person who is unfamiliar with the situation (or distorts it). Dr. Avital is quoted as saying the following:
"If textbooks state explicitly that human beings' origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want students to pursue and grapple with other opinions. There are many people who don't believe the evolutionary account is correct."
Rabbi Slifkin claims "the facts are entirely different" but are they? Here are the real facts. Dr. Avital was appointed to the position of top scientist in December 2009 but prior to this appointment Avital had already publicized his doubts re Evolution in a video interview with Machon Meir. Furthermore, in Novemebr 2009, Avital had already made his position on Global Warming clear in the journal B’sheva. Yesterday, Avital claimed that Sa’ar was well aware of his views on Climate Change before hiring him (Ynet).
In February 2010, Dr. Avital once again voiced his opinion regarding the tenuousness of these two theories thereby sparking a furor amongst environmental activists and scholars. Basically they went nuts and demanded his dismissal. In March Avital promised to toe the Ministry line regarding Evolution and GW and the Ministry considered the whole thing over and done with. The furor should have died down. Unfortunately due to intense pressure from the academic left and the environmentalist lobby Avital was finally dismissed eight months after his public statements! Avital’s dismissal is clearly the result of the leftist establishment wielding its political power to suppress dissent from scientific orthodoxy and is unrelated to how he discharged his duties at the Ministry of Education