This week’s Nature has a short report on the Gonzalez tenure affair. It has an interesting admission from Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, who has been at Iowa State in Ames since 2001, was denied tenure on 9 March. He is now appealing the decision on the grounds that his religious belief, not the quality of his science, was the basis for turning down his application. “I’m concerned my views on intelligent design were a factor,” he says.
His “views on intelligent design” were his “religious belief”? OK, that’s good enough for me. No tenure.
It also includes comments from Bob Park, which reflect my own views on this—his ID ideas were fair game for the tenure review.
But Park says that a researcher’s views on intelligent design cannot be divorced from the tenure decision. Anyone who believes that an intelligent force set the Earth’s location doesn’t understand probability’s role in the Universe, Park argues. Such a person is hardly qualified to teach others about the scientific method. “We’re entrusting the minds of our students to this person,” he says.
And there’s also the best informed person on this topic, the chair of the department.
Eli Rosenberg, who chairs Iowa State’s physics department, concedes that Gonzalez’s belief in intelligent design did come up during the tenure process. “I’d be a fool if I said it was not [discussed],” he says. But, he adds, “intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision.” Four of twelve tenure candidates have been turned down in the past decade, he says. “We are a fairly hard-nosed department.”
Brumfiel G (2007) Darwin sceptic says views cost tenure. Nature, published online: 23 May 2007.