One of the most talked/written about things when you read a book by any of the “new atheists” is the time pre-Darwin when the church was the oppressive ruler of the land. In that time, it is said, that if you believed something that was contrary to the common belief system of the church, that you were persecuted and even killed for your beliefs. Suppose for a moment, that what they say is true. It is not hard to imagine some of the responses from people of that time when encountered with an idea like, say, evolution. (I’m well aware of the jumps in historical time here, but you’ll get the point in a moment.) If someone were to say in those times that God didn’t create or design the world, but instead it was another thing entirely, what sort of comments would he be met with? I imagine something like “that is the ridiculous and blasphemous thing I have ever heard!” or “No real scientists believes that!” or “That is absolutely not science!” However, even through all the oppression and negativity and general disdain by society at large, the idea soldiered on. Eventually, just like all the old war movies, Darwin arrives and like the old “just in time” calvary, he sweeps in and practically single-handedly provided the grounds for the earth-shattering new theory that we know today. However, all is not well in the world just yet because as those same authors will tell you, there is still much hostility toward anyone who would dare call themselves an atheist. There may not be killings anymore, but there is certainly a bit of nasty name calling, incredulity and segregation (especially those pesky Christian campus organizations…shame on them for making someone be a Christian to join!)
Forward the clock a bit to postmodern(see, current) times. Evolution is a scientific fact, or series of facts, that is so well grounded and the evidence is so overwhelming, they say, that you would be extremely foolish to not accept it and move on. There then comes some people who start to look at the evidence and conclude that evolution isn’t the theory that best matches the data. These people would suggest what would eventually come to be known as the theory of Intelligent Design. It is not uncommon to hear people use phrases like “ID isn’t science! It’s creation/religion in disguise!” or “No real scientist believes that.” or “That is the must unintelligent thing I have ever heard!” Some authors (see dawkins, dennett, hitchens and harris) would go much farther than those statements, but suffice to say, the comments are commonplace. Some have said that there is even a bias against anything that isn’t darwinian or naturalistic in nature, and have fought rather hard to push competing ideas out of the way (see the movie Expelled). The responses are usually something like “a conspiracy theory? please, no such thing exists. I’ll bet you don’t believe in the Holocaust either”
The atheists/naturalists/darwinists will tell you that because darwinian evolution is a fact, that therefore naturalism is a fact (or vice versa) and so only things which adhere to those two are considered science. They back that up by saying that the peer-reviewed system in place supports their idea, and they reject things that promote ID based on the fact that it isn’t science. It’s not science because it isn’t naturalism/darwinism. The academy checks the peer-review system and the peer-review system checks the academy, therefore this system can’t be flawed or questioned.
See the parallel? Of course everyone knows my opinion(s) on this subject, but even putting those aside, do you think the current treatment of anyone that rejects evolution is really going to stop them?