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Monday, May 21, 2007

The Guillermo Gonzalez Saga

Another update on the Guillermo Gonzalez situation from the Discovery Institute:
The Center for Science & Culture
Following the evidence where it leads

Key Developments in Gonzalez Tenure Denial Case, May 14-21

Action Item: Help Guillermo Gonzalez in his fight for academic freedom. Contact ISU President Gregory L. Geoffroy at (515) 294-2042 or email him at president@iastate.edu and let him know that you support academic freedom for Dr. Gonzalez to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

The big story this week was the denial of tenure to widely-published pro-ID astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University, despite the fact that he exceeded by 350% his department’s standard for research excellence in peer-reviewed publications. A quick recap of the key developments in the case:
  1. Two tenured professors in Gonzalez’s department publicly admitted that his work on intelligent design played a role in his tenure denial.
  2. Two additional faculty members in Gonzalez’s department were found to be connected to a national statement denouncing intelligent design as “creationist pseudoscience.”
  3. Tenure statistics were obtained showing that 91% of faculty who applied for tenure this year at ISU received it, refuting the university’s claim earlier in the week that its tenure standards are “so high, that many good researchers have failed to satisfy the demands of earning tenure” at ISU.
  4. Tenure standards for ISU's Department of Physics and Astronomy were released showing that outside research funding was not a stated criterion for tenure decisions in the department.
  5. ISU continues to pretend that nothing is wrong while ignoring the hostile work environment for Gonzalez.
Now, I'm not sure why 1 and 2 are supposed to be a problem- it's well known that Intelligent Design is considered unscientific by professional scientific bodies like the AAAS and the NAS. Any university would be foolish to disregard that kind of opinion. Number 3 just shows that not everyone can get tenure- a fact of academics. Maybe Gonzalez just isn't that lucky. Number 4 might not be a "stated criterion," but it's pretty important anyway- this is academics, after all, and Mike Dunford explains why. And number 5 just makes me want to pull out the world's smallest violin- suddenly, having colleagues disagree with you constitutes a "hostile work environment?" How thin-skinned are these people, anyway? Mike Behe certainly didn't seem this touchy when he was questioned at the Darwin vs. Design conference.

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