The Questionable Authority

The Discovery Institute is currently making hay (again) over Iowa State’s decision to deny tenure to Discovery Institute Fellow Guillermo Gonzalez. They’ve held a press conference and issued a press release claiming to have proof that Intelligent Design was “the” issue that resulted in Gonzalez not receiving tenure. I’ve read the release, and I’m unconvinced.

For starters, their release relies heavily on fragmentary quotes taken from emails that they obtained through an open records inquiry. Given the notorious track record of the entire anti-evolution movement when it comes to quoting scientists, I’m somewhat reluctant to accept the quotes provided at face value, particularly since the DI has not made the full text of the sources available for examination. Even if all of the quotes the DI uses do accurately capture the spirit of the full emails they are taken from (and does anyone want to offer me odds on that), I still don’t think they’ve made their point. At most, they’ve demonstrated that Intelligent Design was a factor in the decision. Since people who were involved in making the decision have already said as much publicly, that’s not exactly a shocking revelation.

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Intelligent Design was the overriding factor in the tenure decision. Heck, let’s assume that it was the only factor that came into play in the tenure process. Let’s pretend, in short, that the Discovery Institute has actually provided overwhelming evidence to support their argument. Let’s set aside the facts and evidence that the Discovery Institute’s using to support their claims, and look instead at the truly strange nature of the claims themselves.

Stripped down to basics, the Discovery Institute argument comes down to this: considering Guillermo Gonzalez’s Intelligent Design work when evaluating his application for tenure in an Astronomy department is inappropriate.

Let’s think about what that implies, shall we? The Discovery Institute has, repeatedly, trumpeted Gonzalez’s Intelligent Design work whenever anyone claims that there’s a lack of evidence to support their views. They believe, at least on paper, that the pro-Intelligent Design material that Gonzalez has published is not just science, but good science. How on earth could it be wrong for a science department to take that into consideration when they are evaluating his performance as a scientist as part of a tenure review?

The real answer to that, we all know, is that it’s wrong because the members of Gonzalez’s department didn’t think that his ID material was a factor that favored a decision to grant him tenure. But let’s pretend that the reasons that the Discovery Institute offered are actually their primary objections.

Their first “reason” is that judging Gonzalez’s Intelligent Design material is a violation of Gonzalez’s academic freedom:

The true reason his colleagues on the faculty wanted to eject Gonzalez is made clear by their private e-mails and other documents from the case. Their visceral intolerance towards intelligent design, and their litmus-test against anyone who supports the theory as unqualified to be a science educator, ensured that Dr. Gonzalez would not be evaluated fairly or impartially. In addition to their own rejection of intelligent design, Gonzalez’s colleagues fretted about the impact that his support of intelligent design would have on their department — their reputations, their ability to attract high quality graduate students, and perhaps to obtain research funding themselves.

These may seem like legitimate concerns. But universities like Iowa State contractually guarantee to protect their professors’ academic freedom, and academic freedom has meaning only if it is upheld even in circumstances when guaranteeing the right of free thought costs somebody something. If a scholar like Gonzalez is “free” only to advance popular, uncontroversial ideas, that’s no freedom at all.

(source pdf)

If one were to accept the Discovery Institute’s reasoning (I hesitate to use the word “logic” here), the right to academic freedom would mean that academic departments are not allowed to evaluate the quality of the academic work that members of their own department produce. That’s quite simply an absurd claim. Tenure review is not supposed to consist of nothing more than counting articles – although that’s apparently the only metric that the Discovery Institute wants used in this case. Tenure review is supposed to include an evaluation of the quality – not merely the quantity – of the work that’s been performed.

It is clear from the fragments of email that the Discovery Institute released that Gonzalez’s colleagues believed – correctly – that Intelligent Design is not science, and that if Gonzalez believes otherwise it casts doubts on his understanding of science. They were not arguing that his belief in ID should be used against him just because he believes In ID. They were arguing that Gonzalez’s belief in Intelligent Design is evidence that he has an incorrect understanding of science.

If a tenure candidate at an astronomy department were to argue that the moon is made of green cheese, it would not be unreasonable for the tenure committee to question the candidate’s scientific credentials – and that candidate would be making a scientific argument that could be examined experimentally. Gonzalez doesn’t even have that much going for him.

The second argument that the Discovery Institute is making is even less valid than the first:

Moreover, ISU faculty complained about Dr. Gonzalez’s intelligent design work that was conducted completely outside of any relationship to ISU. First Amendment forbids a government entity like ISU from discriminating against an employee like Gonzalez on the basis not of his job performance but on that of ideas expressed outside the work environment. Dr. Gonzalez’s public comments and speeches as a citizen are clearly protected not only by academic freedom but by the First Amendment. Indeed, the ISU faculty handbook states that academic freedom “is the foundation of the university.” If only that were truly the case.

(source pdf)

To demonstrate just how laughable the Discovery Institute claim that Gonzalez’s pro-ID work “was conducted completely outside of any relationship with ISU” really is, we need to look no further than the “Q&A on Guillermo Gonzalez Story“. This “Q&A” was authored by the Discovery Institute, and is one of the resources that they specifically refer to in their “coverage” of their new “revelations”. Right near the top of page 1 of the “Q&A” you will read this:

First, ISU had previously approved and administered a grant to Gonzalez, to help write this very book The Privileged Planet supporting intelligent design from the entirely mainstream and prestigious Templeton Foundation. That demonstrates that the university had already accepted the concept behind the book as the subject for legitimate scholarship.

So in one document we see the DI arguing that Gonzalez’s ID work was purely extracurricular, but in another document we have the DI arguing that Gonzalez’s ID work was part of his academic work at ISU. Let’s hear it for keeping the story straight, folks! Seriously, that should be game over for the “it wasn’t on-the-job activity” argument right there, but let’s take it a little further anyway. If Gonzalez was conducting his work on ID on his own time, and totally independently of his work at ISU, then why did the Discovery Institute mention Gonzalez’s ISU affiliation again, and again, and again, and again, and again on their website, while trumpeting his work as support for their views. They can’t have it both ways, particularly at this late date. It is completely unreasonable for them to use Gonzalez’s credentials to lend weight to their presentation of his argument when it is convenient for him, then argue that all of that was “extracurricular” activity when the time comes for Gonzalez’s colleagues to decide whether he should continue to hold those credentials.

The Discovery Institute’s basic argument is clear: Intelligent Design should hold a privileged position among the sciences. Work on Intelligent Design should be considered to be legitimate scientific work, because they say it is. It is not appropriate for people to examine Intelligent Design, decide that it is scientifically vacuous, and say so publicly. Doing so demonstrates ideological bias, which is wrong. That argument is nonsense, of course, but it’s clearly what the DI wants to see happen.

Comments

  1. #1 Raging Bee
    December 3, 2007

    This seems to be the new standard complaint of creationists: “If we don’t win, that’s proof that the game is rigged!” Remember Martin Cothran, in your “Thoughts on Judgement Day?” post? He’s still doggedly insisting that the debate is rigged, without providing a single specific allegation of any fact or argument being ignored, suppressed or misrepresented. (And he and the other cdesign proponentsists are taking that into the entire question of how science is supposed to be defined: if ID is considered unscientific, that means they’re biased against ID.)

  2. #2 Raging Bee
    December 3, 2007

    Oops, sorry, I meant Ed Baryton’s “Thoughts on Judgement Day?” post. Damn, I thought I was somewhere else…

  3. #3 Raging Bee
    December 3, 2007

    Oops, sorry, that’s “Brayton.” I gotta find me a smarter bunch of idjits to argue with…

  4. #4 BillG
    December 3, 2007

    We should start a pool to see who can guess how long it will be before one of the rubes in this case utters the words “religious persecution,” if they haven’t already.

  5. #5 Olorin
    December 3, 2007

    The Dishonesty Institute is taking a big gamble here. If they back a lawsuit and lose for almost any reason, the fire will fizzle under their premier martyr. As they should know by now, adverse court decisions are hard to minimize.

    Although the DI can mount some slick efforts, sometimes they seem overpersuaded by their own arguments. Have they chosen this battlefield wisely? Is this a tactic born of desperation?

  6. #6 Coin
    December 3, 2007

    For starters, their release relies heavily on fragmentary quotes taken from emails that they obtained through an open records inquiry. Given the notorious track record of the entire anti-evolution movement when it comes to quoting scientists, I’m somewhat reluctant to accept the quotes provided at face value, particularly since the DI has not made the full text of the sources available for examination

    Perhaps some pro-science observer should consider making an open records inquiry for the same document and then making the entirety available.

    The Dishonesty Institute is taking a big gamble here. If they back a lawsuit and lose for almost any reason, the fire will fizzle under their premier martyr.

    To be clear, have steps been taken toward an actual lawsuit? Or have they just threatened to do so? Maybe they don’t actually intend to go to court, but just want everyone to think they’re constantly on the verge of doing so.

  7. #7 Mr_Christopher
    December 3, 2007

    I kind hope they take this thing to court. A judge would not be kind to such an absurd case. I miss the Dover trial and would love to see the Dishonesty Institute humiliated in court once again.

    Chris

  8. #8 rintaw
    December 3, 2007

    I agree with most of your arguments here, and the DI’s arguments are both disingenuous and hypocritical. That does not mean that there is no issue here to consider, and I think there is a major part of the controversy that you’ve skipped over.

    You use the example: “If a tenure candidate at an astronomy department were to argue that the moon is made of green cheese, it would not be unreasonable for the tenure committee to question the candidate’s scientific credentials….” This is a weak analogy. The bigger question is what should happen if a tenure candidate at a *biology* department were to argue that the moon is made of green cheese (i.e. an absurd belief outside the area under consideration for tenure as in this case).

    In your experience, do departments generally hold candidates accountable for published work outside their area? If Gonzalez were a published Holocaust denier, would it still be appropriate to deny him tenure?

  9. #9 Mike Dunford
    December 3, 2007

    In your experience, do departments generally hold candidates accountable for published work outside their area?

    Gonzalez’s pro-ID work was focused entirely on astronomy and astrobiology, which is his alleged area of expertise.

  10. #10 Paul Burnett
    December 3, 2007

    I hope everybody here is aware of Lehigh University’s Biology department’s resident intelligent design creationist, Michael Behe. Take a look at http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/news/evolution.htm to see how proud and happy every other biologist in the department is to have Behe in their department.

    It is reasonable to assume that the astronomers at Iowa State did not want to have to go through the same thing. (Can you blame them?)

    This is a significant part of the issue, and I think we should publicize the similarities of Behe’s and Gonzalez’ cases.

  11. #11 rintaw
    December 3, 2007

    Gonzalez’s pro-ID work was focused entirely on astronomy and astrobiology, which is his alleged area of expertise.

    Yes, that changes things, and sorry for not digging further into the background.

  12. #12 W. Kevin Vicklund
    December 3, 2007

    The problem with your question, rintaw, is that he didn’t necessarily publish outside of his area. His argument was for cosmological ID, not biological ID, and relied heavily on astronomical observations. As noted, the grant that he used to publish Privileged Planet was approved and administered (for part of the duration of the grant) by ISU. This means that it was considered part of his work product.

  13. #13 W. Kevin Vicklund
    December 3, 2007

    must…type…faster…

  14. #14 Moses
    December 3, 2007

    In your experience, do departments generally hold candidates accountable for published work outside their area? If Gonzalez were a published Holocaust denier, would it still be appropriate to deny him tenure?

    Posted by: rintaw | December 3, 2007 5:42 PM

    The general rule is that work in your field is is part of the tenure process. While work in “hobby fields” is not.

    Since this was within his field, and written by a grant administered by ISU within his field, it was properly included in the tenure process. OTOH, if he’d written a tretise on, oh, ancient Phonecian fertitility rights, it would not be part of his tenure process.

  15. #15 Ichthyic
    December 3, 2007

    The Discovery Institute is currently making hay (again) over Iowa State’s decision to deny tenure to Discovery Institute Fellow Guillermo Gonzalez.

    I rather think it’s just a cover for them not responding to what’s going on with the TEA ousting of Chris Comer.

    I smell smoke from the distraction fire they just lit.

    the issue of GG has already been addressed, and well. Keep pressing them on why they aren’t coming to Chris’ defense, and why they are tolerant of the approach of the TEA.

  16. #16 tacitus
    December 3, 2007

    It probably doesn’t help that Gonzalez’s main claim to fame, The Privalaged Planet is now being hawked tirelessly by Christian apologetics ministries like The Bible Answer Man with Hank Hanegraaff with the full participation of his co-author, Jay Richards of, you guessed it, the Discovery Institute.

    Just sayin’…

  17. #17 tacitus
    December 3, 2007

    Yuck — that’s Privileged Planet, of course.

  18. #18 Coin
    December 3, 2007

    It has been awhile since we’ve upgraded The Cheat’s privalages.

  19. #19 Maya
    December 3, 2007

    Does anyone know the average number of refereed articles, and number of cites of those articles, for people who have been granted tenure in Gonzalez’ department?

    Thanks,

    Maya

  20. #20 Doc Bill
    December 3, 2007

    I’m curious about the basis for a lawsuit. What would it be? There have been a couple of comments about a “hostile work environment” but absolutely no indication that GG’s actual work environment was hostile.

    By all indications it sounds like he’s got a pretty good work environment. He teaches some classes, has a nice office, gets to travel and pursue his ID addiction and there are no stories of faculty members taping “Kick Me” signs on his back.

    So, what’s the harm? What is the basis of a lawsuit?

    The DI has gone to the mat for GG. They’ve pulled out all the stops. It seems like a desperate move to me aimed at rattling the Regents to make a quick decision to make the bad publicity “go away.” I can’t imagine it would work, though. If the Regents caved on this every nut-case group in the state would start hounding them about their pet peeve.

    As for GG, I suppose he’ll have to be a DI fellow for life. He’s so radioactive now that no college would pick him up. He’s screwed, blued and tattooed.

  21. #21 James McGrath
    December 3, 2007

    Presumably the next step will be a lawsuit from astrologers claiming that professors who use their astronomy classes to get students to work on their horoscopes are wrongfully denied tenure in astronomy departments. Thankfully astrologers seem to know where their ideas belong, unlike the cdesign proponentsists.

    http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2007/12/should-astrologers-get-tenure.html

  22. #22 tacitus
    December 3, 2007

    The DI has gone to the mat for GG.

    As others have noted elsewhere, it’s not the DI that stands to suffer, it’s GG. Going to the mat will only serve to make GG less employable to other universities. If he had walked away quietly he may well have gotten another job, but all I see in his future now are a few more books and a stint at some bible college or private religious institution. Not a bad living, I would think, but I suspect his passion for astronomy will remain forever unfulfilled, and that is the tragedy he brought upon himself.

    As for the DI? Nah, they don’t hurt themselves much. Their credibility with the people who matter (the scientists) is shot already. The fuss over GG is simply playing to their base, riling up the religious folk and hoping some sympathetic bigwig politician will take notice. It’s what they do, and they have no qualms in doing it, even at the expense of GG’s career.

    It’s getting very hard to distinguish between the DI and outfits like Answers in Genesis and the ICR these days!

  23. #23 Robert O'Brien
    December 3, 2007

    Presumably the next step will be a lawsuit from astrologers claiming that professors who use their astronomy classes to get students to work on their horoscopes are wrongfully denied tenure in astronomy departments. Thankfully astrologers seem to know where their ideas belong, unlike the cdesign proponentsists.

    Your analogy is vacuous.

  24. #24 Bobby
    December 3, 2007

    Their first “reason” is that judging Gonzalez’s Intelligent Design material is a violation of Gonzalez’s academic freedom

    The DI is invoking a notion of academic freedom that assumes an associate professor could study astrology for six years and still expect tenure as an entitlement in the seventh.

    That has nothing to do with reality.

    I rather suspect that no on at the DI actually believes it, either; they’re just tapping the spot that they think will make their followers’ knees jerk.

  25. #25 Bobby
    December 3, 2007

    The general rule is that work in your field is is part of the tenure process. While work in “hobby fields” is not.

    However, work in your hobby fields can still hurt you if you spend your time on that instead of on your research.

    For example, if I decide to spend my time writing operas rather than doing CS research, I shouldn’t expect to get tenure. (Even in the unlikely event that I produce *good* operas.)

  26. As I mentioned in my blog, the Iowa State tenure policy explicitly says that part of the tenure review process will look unfavorably on “(2) dishonesty in teaching, research or extension activity”.

    So whether or not Gonzalez did this on university time, or under their name, doesn’t matter. If he wants to assoscite himself with the university via tenure, then his extension activites do come into play.

  27. #27 Registered User
    December 3, 2007

    Since this was within his field, and written by a grant administered by ISU within his field, it was properly included in the tenure process. OTOH, if he’d written a tretise on, oh, ancient Phonecian fertitility rights, it would not be part of his tenure process.

    On the other hand, if he claimed that ancient Phonecian fertility rights were proof that a race of Sasquatch created the Grand Canyon 5,000 years ago and now roam the Oregon forests summoning the UFOs responsible for global climate change, it would be part of his tenure process because, like Intelligent Design, beliefs in such things are rock solid evidence that the believer is a frigging idiot.

  28. #28 Bob O'H
    December 4, 2007

    Given the notorious track record of the entire anti-evolution movement when it comes to quoting scientists, I’m somewhat reluctant to accept the quotes provided at face value, particularly since the DI has not made the full text of the sources available for examination.

    One of the local newspapers also got the emails, through a FOIA request, so they might be more forthcoming. They ran the story over the weekend.

    Ah, via Uncommonly Dense, the story is here. The standard of writing is better than Denyse’s too.

    Bob

  29. #29 CleveDan
    December 4, 2007

    [quote]If a scholar like Gonzalez is “free” only to advance popular, uncontroversial ideas, that’s no freedom at all.[/quote]

    is the DI inferring that evolution is not “in controversy”????????

  30. #30 Ryan
    December 4, 2007

    Nice Post!! By the way check out my blog, I debunk creationism/design:

    http://aigbusted.blogspot.com

    -Ryan

  31. #31 The Cheat
    December 4, 2007

    coin – Medallion Gold Plus Club membership does include use of the crisper and dominion over pizza toppings…

  32. #32 N.Wells
    December 4, 2007

    As I understand it, Gonzales put his ID work on the CV and in the file that he submitted for evaluation for promotion and tenure. In essence, that means that he asked for it to be included as part of the accomplishments on which he should be evaluated. Evaluation of research properly considers quantity and quality, and (to a lesser degree) contribution to the missions of the university and the department, and to the area in which you were hired to work. If he had sufficient traditional stuff or hadn’t included the ID stuff, it would have been less of a problem. (Someone told me I ran into a little trouble for doing field research overseas, because I’m at a public state university and overseas research appeared to be of no obvious direct benefit to the state. That was countered by some in-state research, and by international work expanding the university’s reputation. Both points of view were legitimate, albeit short-sighted in the case of the objection.) It is unlikely that Gonzales was hired to contribute in the area of ID, or that that contributes positively to the missions and reputation of his department. You can go off-mission before tenure if you wish, but you’d darn well better be unusually successful or have everyone in general agreement with your change of direction ahead of time.

    If informal consideration of people’s prospects for promotion ahead of submission of their file is considered inappropriate, then that would rule out much of the possibility for useful mentoring and assistance to candidates, i.e., giving them some feedback in the years leading up to the tenure evaluation about what they are doing right or wrong, whether they are “on track” or not, and what they need to do more of. Formal annual evaluations in the years leading up to tenure may well tell the candidate, “don’t do so much X, because we need you to focus on / contribute to Y”, and candidates ignore that sort of thing at their peril.

    A significant part of the process evaluates teaching. It would seem hard for someone to do a good job of teaching science when they either demonstrably do not know what science is or they consistently ignore it in practice.

  33. #33 jasonmitchell
    December 4, 2007

    di’s press release states:
    “But universities like Iowa State contractually guarantee to protect their professors’ academic freedom” assuming this is true, wouldn’t the whole point of tenure (making Gonzalez a FULL Professor vs. ‘probationary’ ) be an evaluation of weather or not ISU can ‘sign the contract’? –
    doesn’t the contract boil down to somethinmg like this
    “we agree to let you be an associate professor and evaluate if you can be a full professor on such and such a date – you have freedom to study WHATEVER YOU WANT/ HOWEVER YOU WANT in the time we give you – we WILL JUDGE the QUALITY and QUANTITY of your work and DECIDE if we will ALLOW you to be a full professor on the above date. IF WE DECIDE that your work justifies it – you can the continue to study WHATEVER YOU WANT/ HOWEVER YOU WANT”

    ISU judged the quality and quantity of Gonzales’ work not to be up to snuff – nuff said

  34. #34 Chuck C
    December 4, 2007

    Bobby O’B wrote:

    Your analogy is vacuous.

    Not according to Mike Behe.

    Oh, and congrats on your new trophy.

  35. #35 NJ
    December 4, 2007

    Whoa, there Chuck! Never disagree with the widely recognized expertise of RO’B on vacuousness.

  36. #36 me
    December 4, 2007

    maya–This link to an article in TCHE addresses his scholarship issues.

    http://chronicle.com/weekly/v53/i39/39a00901.htm

    It sounds like he was a mixed bag.

  37. #37 Maya
    December 4, 2007

    Thanks for the link, but I’m not sure that continuing to educate the good folks over at Uncommon Descent is worth that much of my grad student paycheck. Is the number of articles and cites relative to his peers summarized somewhere?

  38. #38 Moses
    December 4, 2007

    However, work in your hobby fields can still hurt you if you spend your time on that instead of on your research.

    Posted by: Bobby | December 3, 2007 9:49 PM

    Yes, this is true. I didn’t wish to address the “production” issue and how side-interests can derail a person seeking tenure. However, I’m well aware of the issue as I’ve seen my wife do it, at times, with her non-publish hobbies like Rose Gardening.

    Always tough for a scientist/professor to have a life and a tenure-track position.

  39. #39 Chip Poirot
    December 4, 2007

    A few things need to be re-said, in spite of the flak I’ve caught for saying some of these same things before. First the disclaimer: anyone who knows me (which admittedly isn’t very many people since I’m a nobody in the academic world) knows that my view of ID is pretty low. I think its a sham. Second disclaimer: from what I can see, there were good reasons to deny Gonzales tenure.

    Now, having issued that disclaimer I have to point out that academic freedom isnt’ something you get when you get tenure. At least it shouldn’t be that way (it often happens that way, but that isn’t what the principle is about). The decision to tenure, incidentally, is secondary to rank. It often comes with appointment to associate (not full professor), but not at every institution.

    The issue of what kinds of research qualify one for tenure and which do not is a difficult issue. But that is in part what the peer review process is supposed to be about, even though the peer review process has its share of problems and shortcomings. If you can publish in acceptable (to your department and University) peer reviewed journals that is the primary indicator of quality. In most disciplines, journals and publishing houses for books are ranked. Publishing with Regnery Press, for example, wouldn’t normally carry much weight (if any) for tenure decisions in most places. Publishing with Harvard Universithy Press would carry a lot of weight.

    So, to cut to the chase: to those who view the decision to tenure as up to the whim of University administrators and tenure committees I have to say you have misunderstood the tenure process. For those who believe that ideas alone are sufficient grounds to deny tenure- you don’t grasp the concept of academic freedom.

    So, I’ll say it one more time because it needs to be said: even far out, wacky, unpopular ideas are protected by the concept of academic freedom. This does not mean that the DI is right about Gonzales.

  40. #40 Dene Bebbington
    December 4, 2007

    Unless there’s a legal reason why the DI didn’t publish the emails in full then the safest option is to assume they don’t support the DI’s case as much as they’d like us to believe.

  41. #41 Jason Failes
    December 4, 2007

    “As they should know by now, adverse court decisions are hard to minimize.”

    Yeah, but they do try really, really hard.

    The ruling in Dover, the condemnation of ID by every major scientific organization as completely unscientific, the publically available Wedge Document, and B. Forrest’s damning research (including the now-famous “X” graph demonstrating the find-and-replace relationship between creationism and ID), make it more than clear that the ISU staff’s concerns were not only justified but, if anything, understated.

    However, as always the DI’s solution to foot-in-mouth disease is to extract the offending appendage by attempting to force it all the way through the digestive tract and out the other side.

    It’s hard to imagine being on the side of anti-science, but if I’d just been handed the crushing defeat of Dover (not to mention the thorough and ongoing attacks by scientists, logicians, laypeople, and theologians alike), I would do my best to lay low, and maybe develop some new tactics, rather than just reopening the scrapbook of all my past failures for all the world to see once again.

  42. #42 Tyrannosaurus
    December 4, 2007

    Even if the ID issue was considered a factor it would have been remiss from the evaluators not to take ID work by González into consideration. It is part of his body of work. Since González was applying for tenure in a science department his dismissal of reasoning and logic in science matters must be taken into consideration. That is a reflection of his character and temperament as a mentor to future scientists.

  43. #43 W. Kevin Vicklund
    December 4, 2007

    Maya, the articles and number of cites is something you can compile yourself, with a bit of legwork. First, the DI has (or at least had) his CV posted. Second, go to Google Scholar or your favorite citation service and enter the titles of his papers to find out how many citations they have. Then, do the same with Martin Pohl (his CV is listed at the ISU Astronomy departments website). Martin Pohl joined ISU in 2003 and was granted tenure at the same time double-G was denied. Bonus points if you can list which papers each wrote on research started at their prior institution.

    Or you could poke around the PT and ScienceBlog archives from May and early June for a dated list. I know a partial one exists from sometime in May; try Googling Gonzalez and my full name.

  44. #44 Olorin
    December 4, 2007

    When this affaire d’honneur first broke, the DI touted a citation index to show GG’s fecundity. Haven’t heard any mention of this recently. Wonder whether they discovered some mouse droppings in it or something.

  45. #45 SLC
    December 4, 2007

    The commentors on this blog are missing the factor which weighed most heavily in denying Gonzalez tenure. Namely, he failed to bring in any outside funding to support a research program in astrophysics, other then the small Templeton Foundation grant. That’s the bottom line. No outside funding, no tenure. This is exactly the same reason why Rob Knop failed to achieve tenure at Vanderbilt. Period, end of story.

  46. #46 Robert O'Brien
    December 4, 2007

    …[C]ongrats on your new trophy.

    Alas, Chucksy, I do not accept trophies from college drop outs/failed comedians.

  47. #47 W. Kevin Vicklund
    December 4, 2007

    Maya, here’s a link you can use to get started. It’s from May, so not up to date.

  48. #48 mark
    December 5, 2007

    Should Creationist work be privileged? That’s exactly what one of the cdesign proponetsists (I think it was Paul Nelson) called for, although he used the term “affirmative action.”

  49. #49 Pole Greaser
    December 5, 2007

    The fact that non-Christians can judge a Christian like Gonzalez is an assault on God’s order. Gonzalez’s evolutionistic colleauges deserve only to work in slave labor camps for the blasphemies they teach. Evolutionists need to reduced to a position where they beg Christians for their lives and not arrogantly assert their so-called “rights” against us. God has ordained his children to have dominion over all institutions in society, and any rufusal to grant us such is a violation of our God-given rights!

  50. #50 Brenda Tucker
    December 5, 2007

    If we can position leading researchers as performing legitimately with a girasas kingdom, then we still are faced with the dilemma that results when all human beings show loyalty to each other rather than complete submission to these higher beings.

    It could be a blessing in disguise and something that this kingdom wants for the gentleman.

    But realistically, let’s just assume that those who don’t have girasas influence want to put an end to those people who are attempting to act in consort with the higher kingdom. Why would they prefer to end their relationship?

    1. They are threatened by the spread or outbreak to their own lives.

    2. They recognize an ordered scheme, but don’t accept it as a final presentation, i.e., it still might be possible to avoid this higher kingdom and evolve or change some other way.

    3. What people want for the earth isn’t dependent upon “good relationship” with other lives occupying earth. What people (1st-5th subrace) who attempt to battle humans with girasas (or 6th subrace humans) want is to postpone the inevitable “ascent of man” by holding off as long as they can from being infiltrated by them, even if the cost is surmised to be shunning good ideas for bad ones.

    We could try to hold out against a higher kingdom for a long time if we wanted to. We could corale those who claims girasas-influence into holding camps. We could hold control of the world, newspapers, government, etc. for as long as possible based on majority-rule.

    In order for a small orderly force to have its presence felt among the many, the approach should be well planned and carried out in an organized fashion. If we don’t promote these beings in the right way, chaos could result.

    People without the girasas might take a stand saying how far superior their lives are to the people who live with girasas-influence. After all, a true “person” can be seen as a 4th subrace and as soon as the girasas begins to pervade, that person plays a minor role of having to be held in check. Who would ask that for themselves if there was another way around it?

    For the human being to accept the girasas, they have to view themselves as destructive, harmful, and out of vogue and they have to view the girasas as the only recourse to safe passage on their evolutionary journey. While sacrifices are made by humans in order to allow girasas to act, the benefits could surely be shown to far outweigh the lack of experience which human efforts provide for setting a course for the earth.

    We just try to explain that the girasas have the experience of being human. The girasas know what mistakes humans will be making as they meet the higher and try to acquire reasonable capability, structure, and capacity for themselves.

    A working plan for meeting this kingdom involves common practices – practices which are open for all who desire them: closed to none, but operating by choice in a few, and close working relationships between the two groups could necessitate greater flexibility, more varied opportunities, and more reliable research data.

    If only I could make my point known to those who don’t accept girasas, that the work is hard and the sacrifice is great. We can hardly ask human beings to give up their freedom when freedom is so dear. Instead, we can focus on how freedom from wrongdoing is a value of high esteem. Convincing an audience that no wrongdoing was done in this case is showing supremacy, not by majority, but by reaching ever reaching into further light, love, and glory – even if it means leading away from educational institutions.

  51. #51 Robert E. Airhart II
    December 5, 2007

    “God has ordained his children to have dominion over all institutions in society, and any rufusal to grant us such is a violation of our God-given rights!

    Posted by: Pole Greaser | December 5, 2007 8:31 AM”

    Whoa!!! I earned a Master of Divinity from a mainline United Methodist Seminary in 1970, and have studied the Bible carefully regulrarly ever since. I can tell you that Pole Greaser’s conclusions can only have come from sucking the thumb he most recently inserted deeply into his rectal sphinter. There is nothing in the original documents of the Bible that supports any of the comments in Greaser’s post.

    The issues in the GG case seem to be wether a self governing university has the right to select who is qualified to represent it in the position of tenured professor. Denying GG tenure does not deny him the right to speak his mind, only the priviedge of speaking it under the banner of ISU.

  52. #52 Coin
    December 5, 2007

    Mr. Airhart: I think the “Pole Greaser” comment was someone’s attempt at some sort of satire.

  53. #53 Maya
    December 5, 2007

    Thanks for the links, everyone.

  54. #54 gwangung
    December 5, 2007

    Alas, Chucksy, I do not accept trophies from college drop outs/failed comedians.

    Guess I should tell Bill Gates not to bother calling, then….

  55. #55 SLC
    December 5, 2007

    Re gwangung

    Or Michael Dell either.

  56. #56 will
    December 5, 2007

    The reason we are making hay (yet again), is because of the dogmatic adherence to the doctrine of Darwinian evolution which ‘reqiures’ billions of years to even be ‘remotly’ scientific, much less that it should be concidered a ‘fact’ that can sit in judgement on weather or not a persons logical/reasonable/rational scientific observations are scientific. Evolution is a postulate, a hypothesis, it is not, and never will be a theory, much less a fact, because science CANNOT repeat history under observable conditions. Yet this postulate gets to sit in judgement over what is or is not considered science. Thats a load and a half if I ever saw one.

    Just more of that dogmatic adherence to an unfounded hypothesis, that is already assumed to be correct and therefore cannot be at fault. What is our reasoning for this…

    ———————————————————–
    If a tenure candidate at an astronomy department were to argue that the moon is made of green cheese, it would not be unreasonable for the tenure committee to question the candidate’s scientific credentials – and that candidate would be making a scientific argument that could be examined experimentally. Gonzalez doesn’t even have that much going for him.
    ————————————————————

    The last time I checked NO ONE believed that the moon is made of ‘green cheese’. We aren’t argueing that the moon is made of green cheese, we are argueing that we have scientific evidence that needs to be viewed objectively. However, because these observations contradict the prevailing ‘it had to take billions of years’ bias our arguements are some how relagated the the catagory of beleiving in moons made of green cheese. Why, because it contradicts the doctrine of Darwinian evolution, which “requires” billions of years to even be ‘remotely’ scientific, which they hold as a ‘fact.’ GET REAL, THAT’S BULL!!!

  57. #57 richCares
    December 5, 2007

    will says “…we are argueing that we have scientific evidence that needs to be viewed objectively”
    Please explain what that evidence is as most ID types can’t, if it exists, that is. I and all here would more than glad to look ad ID evidence.

  58. #58 Bobby
    December 6, 2007

    We aren’t argueing that the moon is made of green cheese, we are argueing that we have scientific evidence that needs to be viewed objectively.

    Well, you don’t.

    Or if you do, you’re doing a damn fine job of keeping it secret.

    All Intelligent Design “theory” has ever offered is a pile of non sequiturs applied to misrepresentations of actual science. We view it objectively, correctly identify it as religious propaganda, and go back to doing real science.

  59. #59 Bobby
    December 6, 2007
    A judge. Since PT participants like to tout Judge Jones’ decision against ID, they should have no problem with a tenure decision being brought before a judge. (If it comes to that.)

    As Flint points out, the ISU faculty did not break any laws. They have not violated anyone’s constitutional rights. They made a decision that was rightfully theirs to make without any interference from the Discoverup Institute. There is no call for a judge to get involved.

    What really makes his position funny is that a lot of us are expressing hope that it *will* go to court, so that the DI Fellows can once again choose between remaining silent in court and being thought fools, or testifying and leaving no doubt.

    It will do the public good to see another PBS documentary on the cdesignproponentists’ courtroom antics in a few years.

  60. #60 Coin
    December 6, 2007

    I think it is absolutely the case that the tenure decision is not something for a judge to decide. And therefore I hope the Discovery Institute stops stalling and files their fricking lawsuit already, so that a judge can tell them so personally.

  61. #61 gwangung
    December 6, 2007

    we are argueing that we have scientific evidence that needs to be viewed objectively.

    Be my guest. Present it.

    And don’t argue that there’s no money to do the research. Templeton Foundation stood around for years waiting to give out grants. And I know of several foundations (not to mention rich individuals, which is where the vast majority of funds are raised by non profits) who would gladly underwrite such work.

    As a professional fundraiser, I’d be more than happy to consult on such a fundraising search.

  62. #62 David Robin
    December 7, 2007

    I sent the link to this article to my father, who is an emeritus professor of sociology at Western Michigan University. During his career, he was very active in the Faculty Senate, serving two terms as Senate President, and very active in the University’s chapter of the AAUP (which serves as the faculty bargaining unit at WMU). I thought his views might be interesting to the discussion and they are offered below:

    David:

    Having joined the AAUP as witness and advocate in several tenure cases, the actual case is far more straight forward than the blog proports. While I understand the larger issues of a credited/discredited source of a retrograde social movement in a public debate, the technical issue of tenure is made on other grounds.

    Academic freedom has been compromised in the name of industry, (tobacco and sugar as well as religion). The multiple standards of tenure will be clear at Iowa State. If Gonzalez’s writings are not professional and peer reviewed they will be disallowed. If they are, then they will will be positively (though not equally) counted no matter what they contain.

    Polemics aside, look for the stance of the national AAUP as a guide.

    Dad

    dpr

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