Italy’s science agency, the National Research Council (CNR), has stirred up controversy with the release of a new book entitled Evolutionism: the decline of a hypothesis. The book was written by Roberto de Mattei, politically-appointed vice-president of CNR and professor of Christianity and Catholicism at the European University of Rome. De Mattei assembled the book from the proceedings of an anti-evolution conference that he organized at CNR in February 2009. In it are claims that evolution is a flawed theory because fossil dating methods are wrong, fossil stratification was determined by the Deluge, and dinosaurs died only about 40,000 years ago.
The book states that it was published with financial contributions from CNR, a statement that has not been denied by agency officials. According to the CNR press office, the president of CNR, physicist Luciano Maini, has confirmed that CNR hosted the conference and contributed to the publication costs of the book, but does not officially endorse the book. Maini does however defend the vice-president’s right to publish the book, citing academic freedom. The publication has caused dismay among many Italian scientists, who have issued statements or written letters to the CNR protesting the publication of the book.
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