Dispatches from the Creation Wars

DI Ducking Into the Punch?

My buddy Wes Elsberry has a post at his blog about the DI possibly suing Iowa State over the tenure denial of Guillermo Gonzalez. They claim to have proof that the administration considered Gonzalez’ advocacy of ID in their decision to deny tenure. Wes is absolutely right when he says:

Essentially, they will be walking into another courtroom and asking a judge to hear their arguments that “intelligent design” creationism is a legitimate scientific endeavor. I thought they had just spent the last year and eleven months castigating another judge for the temerity of actually ruling on that very issue, which they had urged him to rule upon in their amicus brief in the case.

It’s one thing to shoot yourself in the foot. It’s quite another to plan to do it again. The DI can’t seem to help itself; it seems to be addicted.

Spot on. If they take the case to court, the scientific status of ID will clearly be an issue in the case. If ID is a scientific theory relevant to Gonzalez’ field of expertise, then his advocacy of that is not likely to be seen as illegitimate grounds for denial of tenure. If, on the other hand, ID is a religious belief masquerading as science then it is perfectly reasonable for the university to consider the fact that he spent much of his time at the school writing popular treatments of that subject rather than doing serious research in the field they were paying him to do research in.

We’ve already shown that Gonzalez’ scholarly output slowed to a trickle during his time at ISU. The bulk of his publications came from his postdoc work elsewhere, with the actual publishing of them being during the time he was on staff at ISU but having nothing to do with his work at ISU. The actual research he did at ISU was next to nothing, shown by the fact that he brought in virtually no research money to the university. That’s the kiss of death in the hard sciences when you’re trying to get tenure.

When you combine with the fact that rather than doing that work he was spending his time putting out the Privileged Planet and other popular works on ID, it’s not a big shock that he was denied tenure. Universities want scientists who bring in research money, not those who participate in PR campaigns. And all of that will be quite relevant in any lawsuit filed. Good luck on this one, DI. Could you do me a favor? Get Casey Luskin to argue the case. Given how silly his legal arguments about Dover have been, that would be a goldmine for this blog.