For Forrest Mims III, a veteran free-lance science writer from Seguin, Texas, the prospect of writing a regular column for the Scientific American was a dream come true.
The monthly magazine, with an international circulation of more than 650,000, is the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious science publications. So two years ago, when its editors showed interest in Mims’s proposal to write the magazine’s popular Amateur Scientist column, he dropped everything he was doing to fly to New York and discuss the work.
According to Mims, his dealings with Scientific American went well until he mentioned he had written articles for Christian magazines. At that point, Mims says, editor Jonathan Piel asked him if he believed in Darwin’s theory of evolution. “I said ‘no,’ ” Mims recalls. “And everything went progressively downhill from then on.”
Three of Mims’s columns have appeared in Scientific American. But the third, which ran in the magazine’s October issue, is apparently the last. And the 46-year-old Mims, who has written more than 70 books and hundreds of articles for other magazines and publications such as National Geographic, Science Digest, Popular Mechanics, and Modern Electronics, is convinced he was “fired” from the job because of his Christian beliefs.
Mims says he left the 1988 meeting in New York thinking he had the job as the Amateur Scientist writer. But he was also given a stern warning from Piel that if he ever wrote anything on creationism in any publication, his pay ($2,000 per column) could be cut or he could be dismissed.
Mims, who teaches a Bible study in his local church, insists he has never used his science writing ...1