Avalos responds and Dembski too…

| 57 Comments

On Pharyngula, PZ provides a comment response by Hector Avalos

The Discovery Institute has mounted the latest in a long string of creationist smear campaigns against me in Iowa. While I have never called for Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez to be fired, or even to be denied tenure, there are plenty of creationists who blatantly direct our university to fire me.

After all the Discovery Institute had decided to attack Avalos based on some pretty poor logic.

Determined not to be outdone by his fellows at the Discovery Institute, Dembski responds as well

Noticable quote:

Third, if Avalos has fudged on the status of this article—and has done so in a very public way—his CV may loaded with this type of fluff. Perhaps it’s time to start hunting for the real witch.

How are these kinds of ‘arguments’ going to help their fellow IDist Guillermo Gonzalez?

Fascinating… ID under pressure actually inflates…

As a final sign of despair, the Discovery Institute has dusted off its Egnor bot.

57 Comments

Fascinating… ID under pressure actually inflates…

much like a toad.

Hm. Maybe there’s something wrong with me (or at least, I’m sure the DI would say so). I read every quote EN&V posted from Avalos’s works. After every single quote, my only response was “yeah. And…?”

Can I assume that Avalos’s “religious studies” class covers religions other than Christianity? Meaning, therefore, that an atheist would actually be uniquely qualified to deliver an even-handed observation of class content?

… so sorry, DI. What am I missing here? Why is it that the things you’re repeating are actually in any way worthy of derogation?

Is it just my browser, or did this already go into the memory hole?

Disco seems to have a habit of trying to punish anyone who publicly disagrees with them. Yesterday Avalos had the gall to object to a long list of slanders against him by DI Fellows as the call themselves. It is quite in character that they make no apology and instead hit him again. It seems that in addition to being crackpots they are not nice people.

that in addition to being crackpots they are not nice people.

Quite the paradox isn’t it? These self proclaimed christians like the DIers, grady/goldstein/multi-IDs, etc. all share traits in common.

1. They lie a lot. Sifting through their words for nuggets of truth or fact is like sifting through beach sand for gold.

2. They really know how to hate. Most of these clowns have long lists of targets, gays, the catholic church, scientists, MDs, other protestants, other religions like the jews, democrats and on and on. The more extreme claim that other christian sects are really satanicly inspired so it is OK to hate them. Typical cult thinking.

3. They want to destroy the USA. The only way to end separation of church and state and set up their deeply desired and publicly stated hellhole theocracy is to overthrow the government and toss the constitution.

This slant on the religion isn’t anything I remember from sunday school. Whatever happened to the ten commandments and by their fruits you shall know them? Gives christianity a bad name. There is also a backlash in progress against the cultie extremists. We’ve had enough of hypocritical, and occasionally murderous (Iraq version) religious fanatics trying real hard to head on back to the dark ages.

“I “lack belief in your claim.” “

Hey Greg S/Goldsteins clones - I lack belief in yours. (shrug)

Troff Wrote:

After every single quote, my only response was “yeah. And…?”

Indeed. The quote Dembski is bitching about is technically correct. The magazine is called “Mercury” ( http://www.astrosociety.org/pubs/me[…]delines.html ), it has an editorial review and Avalos never referred to it as a peer-reviewed “journal”

As usual, Dembski quote mined. The guideline for contributors explain:

The ASP serves the professional community by publishing the technical journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, as well as conference proceedings. In contrast, Mercury serves the Society’s broader goal of communicating astronomy to the general public. Because of Mercury’s broad audience, articles written for the magazine must be accessible to non-scientists while containing in-depth, accurate information.

Goldstein Wrote:

Why should we think that Avalos would be “even-handed” since in his book “Fighting Words” he calls for the ELIMINATION of religion.

The first doesn’t preclude the second - a person may be impartial, and find reason that religion is a bad thing and should be eliminated.

Does that scare you? In a democratic secular society all world views are protected, yours as well as Avalos. He may state his views and conclusions as much as anyone else.

Why should we think that Avalos would be “even-handed” since in his book “Fighting Words” he calls for the ELIMINATION of religion.

Can you describe any specific instances of Avalos getting important facts wrong in his teaching? Since he’s an atheist, I’m sure there’d be plenty of people – both students and faculty – eager to jump on any specific lapses on his part. Got any references?

If the answer is “no,” then that’s why you should expect Avalos to be evenhanded.

Why is anyone surprised by the rank dishonesty, posturing and spin on this? If Gonzalez was a miserable scholar and had done no work besides the Privileged Planet, the DI would be up in arms claiming unfair prosecution. There was no problem with the whole Sternberg thing and there’s not really a problem with the Gonzalez thing. From what I can see, his time at Iowa State was spent doing things that were unlikely to get him tenure, publishing articles from his previous collaborations, and not getting grants. Based on his record it is no great surprise that he did not get tenure there. There’s little or no evidence of Gonzalez developing his own independent research program which has resulted in publications. Now, I’m sure the DI folks would say: “that’s not the way it’s written in the Iowa state Standards and you just came up with that because you’re an atheist pig”. But, this is the expectation at pretty much any university (volume of publications and amount of research funding differ depending on whether it’s a research 1 school or not etc).

Regarding Avalos, Dembski and his followers pathetic attempt at making someone who has published more than 8 books, 14 articles, 11 edited book chapters (and this is only in the SELECTED publications, note to IDiots posting that’s all the publications he has) is really disturbing. First off, he’s a Full Professor, meaning he’s probably had tenure for quite a while. Secondly, the last I checked, Dembski and the DI’s only real accomplishment in the realm of peer reviewed literature was a pathetic little scam (think you Mr. Bad Editor). Regardless of this, Professor Avalos’ scholarship is not on trial here and in reality neither is Gonzalez’s. One has been viewed acceptably by the faculty, administration, and committees at Iowa State and the other has not (although I guess there’s an appeal). I personally don’t think that Gonzalez would have gotten tenure even if he hadn’t been trying to pass of pseudo-scientific garbage.

As usual, the DI has thrown out a number of straw-men and arguments based on personal incredulity (I can’t believe he didn’t get tenure, he supports ID. Therefore, it must be persecution of the ID supporters). While I can’t say ID did not enter the minds of those evaluating Gonzalez, I’m sure if he’d had an NSF grant and a paper from work at Iowa State in Nature or Science we wouldn’t be having this discussion and he’d have tenure and be an associate professor. Of course, then we’d have to listen to Dembski say how someone doing ID research got tenure at a major research institution (barf).

Reciprocating Bill made the following discovery:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…]1274;p=60093

Try it. Google:

“Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific “

Does anyone else laugh everytime they go to UD and see the flagellum banner? It cracks me up.

Creation Science Museum Creation Science Get a Home With Unique Theosophy for Killing our own Species (( from/with Blognonymous.com))

With majority approval certain states kill criminal offenders every year. Our military at present is in the business of killing people most days. If humans are held to be a scientifically evolved animal, then the rule not to kill would not be solely a God and Bible based edict. (He made us and He made the Rule; animals would not create the ‘Do not kill’ fiat on their own you see.) So you make a museum that shows that dinosaurs (scientifically known to predate humans by millions of years) and humans were created co-terminously by the spiritual force that you base your entire existence on. So. And ergo too. If carbon dating is valid God does not therefor exist. Hence the moral edict to not kill is man made, (with exceptions for electrocutions, protecting oil supplies and blowing up abortion clinics) and has no valid authority. Wait. This makes no sense. You can ignorantly but morally kill people if the dinosaurs came first.…..but not if God made us and the dinosaurs at the same time .…..but..with exceptions.…you can kill some of the people .….some of the time.…or…I am confused.

JD -

Yes. It’s uproarious that they’re still using that, even after Dover. It makes them look like complete idiots.

For the record -

1) Avalos’ merits or lack thereof are irrelevant to the evaluation of Gonzalez’ tenure status. I’m not even sure what the logical connection is supposed to be. Evidence of “bias”, with “bias” equalling not firing him for being an atheist? Or is it just another “Benjamin Franklin was wrong and two wrongs do make a right” argument, so characteristic of creationists? They gave one professor tenure inappropriately (their claim, of course, not mine) so they have to give more inappropriate tenures? Or is it just a hate-fest with no logical underpinning?

2) Avalos seems to have excellent scholarly credentials.

3) Avalos is entitled to subjective opinions about ideal human behavior and social structure, and that’s true of all professors of history, sociology, religion, anthropology, economics, and so on, even if their field of expertise overlaps with their subjective opinions, as long as they don’t lie, disort, or disguise their opinions as generally accepted facts.

4) From what little I know of Avalos’ socially proscriptive opinions, as opposed to his presumably extensive scholarly knowledge (what I have read here), I personally find them naive, to say the least. Human beings are often inhumane to each other (no pun intended), human beings tend to exhibit religious beliefs behaviors (but “religion” is a hopelessly broad term, and almost never precisely defined by those who use it), and human beings sometimes claim that inhumane behavior is justified by religious belief.

It does not follow from this that “making ‘religion’ go away” would make the bad behavior go away, nor that any program of persuasion or proscription will ever make religion “go away”. I strongly suspect that whatever is wrong with the minds of people who commit or endorse inhumanity in the name of “religion” will find another justification at any rate. Even suicidal attacks are not always committed in a religious context.

If someone wishes to argue against teaching lies instead of science, distorting health education, denying people equal rights on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, justification of violence, and so on, why not just argue against those things directly, instead of wrangling on about “religion” in the questionable hope that getting rid of “religion” will indirectly cure ills that can be directly addressed?

If someone wishes to argue against another person’s presumed religious beliefs, when said beliefs have no measurable harmful impact on other human beings, merely because the first person disdains the presumed beliefs of the second person as not logically proven or some such thing, well, it’s a free country, but I’m moved to quote that great American Benjamin Franklin again - sometimes it makes sense to “mind your own business”.

2. They really know how to hate. Most of these clowns have long lists of targets, gays, the catholic church, scientists, MDs, other protestants, other religions like the jews, democrats and on and on.

“Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.” Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

Why should we think that Avalos would be “even-handed” since in his book “Fighting Words” he calls for the ELIMINATION of religion.

Not separation, not even education refuting it, but ELIMINATION.

You can say he is even handed, but I “lack belief in your claim.”

Context please…

Egnor muses, “Would a young Georges Lemaitre get tenure at Iowa State today?”

Is this like a Betty versus Veronica thing? I think Betty would get tenure, but Veronica would get a building named after her.

How about Ginger versus Mary Ann? No doubt, Mary Ann would get tenure. Ginger would marry the Dean and have an affair with the track coach.

Or Daffy versus Donald? Both would get tenure! As Behe pointed out, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck…

I can’t help but wonder how the Discovery Institute feels, that Gonzalez is disputing his tenure rejections on the grounds of straight religious discrimination, and using The Privileged Planet as an expression of religion? This guy sounds like another Buckingham. Lenny should be here to point out that these people just can’t help shooting their feet. It must come with the territory.

I can’t help but wonder how the Discovery Institute feels, that Gonzalez is disputing his tenure rejections on the grounds of straight religious discrimination, and using The Privileged Planet as an expression of religion? This guy sounds like another Buckingham. Lenny should be here to point out that these people just can’t help shooting their feet. It must come with the territory.

Drat it! Gonzo is explicitly not claiming religious discrimination. He objects to Disco saying that.

It’s been about a week now. Anyone following the case knows that Gonzalez didn’t get research grants, his research was dropping way off, and he didn’t look like nearly as good a prospect for tenure as he did seven years ago. This is not the way to get tenure at any research university. I doubt that he was surprised not to get tenure.

Yet still today Disco and Colson are keeping up the lies. They probably think they have a winner here; remember, it’s political creationism and they are smarter at politics than you are.

The name is not Mercury Magazine as Dembski claims, it’s Mercury. This is straight off of Mercury’s website:

Mercury is a quarterly membership magazine.

Wikipedia lists it as “Mercury (magazine).”

And my memory is that Avalos’ title for Mercury is what used to be displayed on the cover of that magazine. Here is a bibliographical reference from someone else, using the exact same title as Avalos does:

“Lunar Vistas and Apollo’s Legacy,” Mercury: The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, September/October, San Francisco

http://www.michaellight.net/fullmoo[…]iews_02.html

This listing comes under the subheading “1999”. I mention 1999, because if it still had that title and apparent subtitle on the cover page then, almost certainly that is what would have been the case in 1998, when Avalos’ article was published.

Not that it would matter (much) had Avalos mis-stated the title of the journal, my point is that Dembski is straining so hard that he mis-states the title in order to fault Avalos, when Avalos was almost certainly correct about the title as it was in the referenced time-period.

Of course Avalos states matters correctly, such as stating that his article passed editorial review, and Dembski still tries to make hay of his appropriate statement:

Dembski Wrote:

That’s why Avalos says it passed editorial muster but not peer-review muster.

There you go, Avalos told the truth, but Dembski still avers that it was devious in some manner, as he states here:

This way he can fudge on the article’s status but have plausible deniability. This is also evident by his placing in the magazine’s subtitle “The Journal of…” even though it is not there in the actual publication.

It was in the publication, almost certainly in 1998. Dembski may not know this (the evidence is that he’s a neophyte to the science world), but he has no cause to go around vilifying someone just because he’s an ignoramus about the subject he’s discussing. Possibly the subtitle is somewhat misleading (a likely reason why it was dropped in later issues), but how many caveats must one include, really? The people at Pharyngula are a fairly savvy bunch, and likely know more about Mercury than Dembski ever has.

If you want fudging, or less charitably, outright deception, here’s Dembski’s statement:

Rigorous academic journal? Has Avalos puts this on his CV as a peer-reviewed article? Did this help him get tenure or promotion at ISU?

He never called it a rigorous academic journal, and Dembski has no cause, no evidence (is this refrain familiar?) to ask if Avalos has put his Mercury piece into his CV as a peer-reviewed article. This is incredibly sleazy of Dembski, if hardly surprising.

That said, Avalos probably should have differentiated his contribution more when comparing his record to Gonzalez’s lack of an ID piece in an astronomical journal. I believe that I would have, had I been in a similar situation. So I’m not giving Avalos a complete pass on his blog contribution (but note that it’s just a blog, not an academic piece), it’s just that Dembski’s misconstruals are highly strained, inaccurate where Avalos was accurate, and really beyond the pale where Avalos (IMO) simply should have explained the matter better than he did.

It’s incredible how far these jerks will go to smear someone like Avalos. But don’t judge people by their fruits, the IDists imply, judge them by whether or not they’re “properly religious”.

Glen D

They play a crazy, tangled game.

For political reasons, in some forums, they pretend to support a narrow, divisive, authoritarian religious position with pseudophilosophical claptrap.

Then, also for political and legal reasons, in other forums, they have to argue that their pseudophilosophical claptrap isn’t related to the very religious position it was invented to pander to, and laughably pretend that it is some kind of spontaneous insight.

But then again, in yet other forums, they have to argue that any setback for one of their bots is “religious discrimination”.

So to summarize, Gonzalez is being subjected to “religious discrimination”, even though he himself doesn’t understand that this is the case, for subscribing to “non-religious philosophy” pseudoscience, which was invented to court-proof religious indoctrination in public schools.

What’s so confusing about that?

Oh what tangled webs we weave…

Here’s a card reference for Mercury, once again showing how libraries and academics referred to it in the past:

ING Home Page > Astronomy > John Whelan Library > Catalogues and Services > Show Entries

Id P231

Title Mercury - The Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Location SLO Periodical Library

Issues Vol. 1(1972)-Vol. 23 No. 5(1994); Vol. 24(1995)-Vol. 27-No. 6(1998); Vol. 28 No. 2(03/1999)-Vol. 30 No. 3(05-06/2001); Vol. 30 No.5(09-10/2001); Vol. 32 No. 1(01-02/2003)-Vol. 33 No. 1(01-02/2004); Vol. 33 No. 4(07-08/2004)-Vol. 36 No. 1(winter/2006)

Subscription On Periodicity 4 times a year (1 volume of 4 issues) ISSN 0047-6773 ISBN Web access 1 [unworking web address deleted] Web access 2 Web access 3

True, they’re not up-to-date presently.

I have not been able to find when the subtitle was dropped from their cover, or otherwise. So I can’t say for sure that it was still on the 1998 issues, but that barely matters anyhow.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

That’s why Avalos says it passed editorial muster but not peer-review muster. This way he can fudge on the article’s status but have plausible deniability.

Well, that’s certainly a tactic Dembski has direct and close knowledge of, because the Discovery Institute web site has an entire list of supposedly “Peer-reviewed and Peer-edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design”, precisely with the purpose of blurring the line between proper scientific peer-review and other editorial practices for its misleading PR campaigns.

Nice for Dembski to publicly admit that this is just a shady trick.

I could have saved myself some trouble if I’d read the comments. Avalos pointed out how his own title was correct here:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/evol[…]mment-122805

Glen D

Creation Science Museum Creation Science Get a Home With Unique Theosophy for Killing our own Species (( from/with Blognonymous.com))

With majority approval certain states kill criminal offenders every year. Our military at present is in the business of killing people most days. If humans are held to be a scientifically evolved animal, then the rule not to kill would not be solely a God and Bible based edict. (He made us and He made the Rule; animals would not create the ‘Do not kill’ fiat on their own you see.) So you make a museum that shows that dinosaurs (scientifically known to predate humans by millions of years) and humans were created co-terminously by the spiritual force that you base your entire existence on. So. And ergo too. If carbon dating is valid God does not therefor exist. Hence the moral edict to not kill is man made, (with exceptions for electrocutions, protecting oil supplies and blowing up abortion clinics) and has no valid authority. Wait. This makes no sense. You can ignorantly but morally kill people if the dinosaurs came first.…..but not if God made us and the dinosaurs at the same time .…..but..with exceptions.…you can kill some of the people .….some of the time.…or…I am confused.

Craig are you talking about the crank museum in KS? The one and only Ken was interviewed by the networks and he seems to believe that any publicity is good publicity. The networks are just laughing their heads off with all this “fantasy” as science.

It’s been about a week now. Anyone following the case knows that Gonzalez didn’t get research grants, his research was dropping way off, and he didn’t look like nearly as good a prospect for tenure as he did seven years ago. This is not the way to get tenure at any research university. I doubt that he was surprised not to get tenure.

Yet still today Disco and Colson are keeping up the lies. They probably think they have a winner here; remember, it’s political creationism and they are smarter at politics than you are.

I think someone in a different thread pointed out that Uncommonly Dense still uses a flagellum as their primary image header.

Their audience doesn’t give a shit whether what the DI reports is accurate or not.

they simply want someone who appears in authority to allay their fears and reinforce their prejudices, and will be quite forgetfull and forgiving of innaccuracies.

using denial and projection as constant pychological defense mechanisms sets up such conditions of acceptance.

…oops the flagellum thing was in this very thread.

Their audience doesn’t give a shit whether what the DI reports is accurate or not.

Something I tire of repeating. The DI is the public relations and political action arm of creationism. Their rules are PR rules, not scientific principles. We can start a useful list of their rules, I think:

1) Accuracy is not relevant 2) Admitting error is the worst possible sin. BEING WRONG is not relevant (see rule 1). 3) Persecution claims win converts. Claim to be persecuted. Whether or not you ARE persecuted is not relevant (see rule 1). 4) No member of the target audience will ever bother to validate a claim they agree with (see rule 1). 5) Citations, just as in science, are important. Count the number of sites copying the claim that homosexuals’ average lifespan is 42. Count the number of such sites who bother citing where this claim originated. Not many; nobody will check anyway. To get lots of citations, a creationist claim must resonate solidly with the necessary mindset. It need not be correct (see rule 1).

I admit I don’t know how to construct a rule that supports awarding prizes in “life sciences” to science projects that attempt to show that geologists are all wrong about the age of actual stalagmites in caves by dripping epsom salt solutions through a tube. Life sciences? Geology? Some creationism is deeply encoded, and can’t be decoded with simple rules.

So I think we have John West on the record as saying

Iowa taxpayers can be relieved to know that ISU is making sure their tax dollars will be spent on worthy scholars like Prof. Avalos rather than disreputable astronomers like Dr. Gonzalez.

(Or would that be quote-mining? Yes, I suppose it would…)

Something I tire of repeating.

of course, but eternal vigilance, etc. etc.

Flint, are you Ann Coulter’s editor?

Flint Wrote:

Something I tire of repeating. The DI is the public relations and political action arm of creationism. Their rules are PR rules, not scientific principles. We can start a useful list of their rules, I think:

1) Accuracy is not relevant…

(etc)

These may or may not be PR rules (these days, PR says that if you’re caught being wrong, you say sorry as loudly and quickly as possible, act contrite, fix the problem and move on. Something to do with that darn Internet), but they’re certainly the real commandments behind many an organised religion.

Thing about religion, of course, is that accuracy is NOT relevant and you can’t be proved wrong - unless you’re silly enough to make checkable claims in front of people who are able and willing to check. This is something that the Roman Catholic church learned the hard way at the height of its influence, when it tried to keep science out of the minds of the people by the (until then, irresistible) weight of its authority. It soon learned to do science on science’s terms and moved the dual magisterial goalposts somewhere else – although ask a cardinal about condoms to see the process still festering.

And this is where ID is vulnerable: it has to stick to the religion/PR rules while simultaneously pretending that it isn’t. There’s not much that right-thinking people can do about ID’s cultish attraction to those who’d believe anything that feels good enough, except continuing to document how they lie, mislead and indulge in increasingly low-rent polemic. (Does anyone feel anything but pity and mild revulsion at the latest shrill, shabby, sorry excuses for debate? How on earth is anyone expected to engage constructively with people who’s best shot is “Darwin beat puppies! HE SAID SO HIMSELF!”?)

But when they step into science, then the rules break down - and the wedge proves to be made of rather soft, rather crumbly, rather smelly cheese. I suppose that’s why nobody’s even pretending to do ID science these days, and why the most important item on the agenda for the rebuilding of science as Christian theology is the invention of a near-paranoid sense of persecution.

Frankly, the Scientologists do all this rather better. At least they’ve got hardware with big, twitchy meters.

Well, Rupert, Scientology may have big thick, twitchy meters, but DI has Casey Luskin and Anika Smith … the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of intelligent design.

Oh, and DI has a Moonie and a couple of jake-leg lawyers and political hacks, a mathematical theocrat at Billy Bob Bible College, a guy who plays with bacteria tails . … .

Well, Rupert, Scientology may have big thick, twitchy meters, but DI has Casey Luskin and Anika Smith … the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum of intelligent design.

Oh, and DI has a Moonie and a couple of jake-leg lawyers and political hacks, a mathematical theocrat at Billy Bob Bible College, a guy who plays with bacteria tails . … .

For those who came in late, or are new to political creationism:

First, a DI creationist astronomer named Gonzalez did not get tenure at Iowa State University.

Why not? He did good astronomy research as a postdoc at another university. That got him moved up to a tenure track position at ISU. Tenure track means you have seven years to prove yourself as a principal investigator (PI). You’ve got to have your own ideas, do original research, get research grants, lead a lab with graduate students and perhaps postdocs of your own.

Gonzalez’ research slacked way off during the seven years compared to his postdoc days, and he didn’t get any research grants. That alone is a deal breaker at a research university unless there is some strong compensating factor.

In short he didn’t look good as a PI. Not surprisingly the department said No, we only have a few tenure slots and we want to get someone who works harder.

The Discovery Institute (DI or Disco, the political/religious group behind intelligent design creationism or IDC) is very unhappy that a follower of theirs (while at Iowa State Gonzalez wrote a book mixing IDC with astronomy) did not get tenure. They launched a political campaign to pressure Iowa State to give Gonzalez tenure regardless of his shortcomings. They say the reason Gonzalez didn’t get tenure is that he is one of them. Gonzalez is appealing, on unspecified grounds.

As a spin off to the campaign for Gonzalez, Disco renewed their campaign of slander against a religion professor at ISU whom they don’t like, named Avalos. As mentioned in the top post, see Avalos’ response here. Disco reacted to this by making a new false charge against Avalos, claiming incorrectly that he didn’t denote a citation in exactly the right way.

No doubt this looks very insignificant to anyone new to political creationism. But personal attacks on a religion professor from creationists have led to a religion professor in Kansas named Mirecki being beaten up by unknown assailants, with Disco grinning on. And in the present case, Disco now wants both tenure for Gonzalez and the firing of their critic Avalos. When arch ID-ist Dembski says “Third, if Avalos has fudged on the status of this article—and has done so in a very public way—his CV may loaded with this type of fluff. Perhaps it’s time to start hunting for the real witch.” there is cause for concern. With enough political pressure, and the echo chamber is working on it, Disco may succeed.

Even aside from the move against Avalos, politically forcing a university to grant tenure to someone who didn’t measure up during the seven year trial period is a serious blow to academic freedom or any slight independence of a university from current political power.

Can anything be done?

I don’t believe that the DI really thinks that it can pressure ISU into granting tenure for Dr. Gonzales, or that they think that they can get Dr. Avalos fired. Unless ISU is entirely without integrity, they will not bow to that sort of pressure, which is based on (1) untrue allegations about the denial of tenure, (2) untrue allegations about Dr. Gonzales’ academic record, (3) untrue allegations about Dr. Avalos’ record, and (4) a deliberate (my interpretation) distortion of academic freedom and the tenure process.

Remember that the DI is primarily a political organization. I think that what they are doing is starting a PR campaign, so that the next time an IDC’er comes up for tenure, the people on the tenure committee and higher up in the administrative chain will remember the pain in the… neck that the DI’ers and other members of the uninformed public made. This is with the intent of intimidating them into giving someone who does not deserve it, tenure, or some other academic honor.

Of course, this is just another attempt to overthrow “materialistic” (i.e. based on reality) science and the processes that enable it to work in today’s world.

Pete Dunkelberg Wrote:

When arch ID-ist Dembski says “Third, if Avalos has fudged on the status of this article—and has done so in a very public way—his CV may loaded with this type of fluff. Perhaps it’s time to start hunting for the real witch.” there is cause for concern … politically forcing a university to grant tenure to someone who didn’t measure up during the seven year trial period is a serious blow to academic freedom or any slight independence of a university from current political power.

Can anything be done?

We can call the DI on their bluff. If they can demonstrate that there’s “this type of fluff” in Avalos’ CV, then they can do the investigation necessary for such demonstration. Until then, we simply “you can’t prove it, and you never will,” which would normally goad an honest party to demonstrate its veracity. As the DI has a long track record of inability of such demonstration, calling their bluff forces the DI to fold on this matter.

Of course, the DI would then try some other tactic, in demonizing the rejection of tenure to Gonzalez. Again, calling their bluff should effectively counteract many such tactics.

It seems that the DI is getting more and more desperate as their news releases seem to be picked up by only a few. This may explain why they changed focus so many times. This is not about G anymore, this is about the DI not losing face. Damn the consequences… Not a pretty sight.

The latest from Disco:

Key Developments in Gonzalez Tenure Denial Case, May 21-26

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 [Enable javascript to see this email address.] and let him know that you support academic freedom for Dr. Gonzalez to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Here is a recap of the major developments this week in the Guillermo Gonzalez tenure case:

1. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Gonzalez ranks first among his astronomer colleagues at ISU according to the “h-index” statistic, which seeks to measure how widely a scientist’s articles are cited by other scientists. According to the Chronicle, “Mr. Gonzalez has a normalized h-index of 13, the highest of the 10 astronomers in his department. The next closest was Lee Anne Willson, a university professor who had a normalized h-index of 9.”

2. It was revealed that at same time ISU denied tenure to Gonzalez this past spring, the university promoted to full professor his chief academic persecutor, atheist professor Hector Avalos, who believes that the Bible is worse than Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

3. The world’s preeminent science journal, Nature, featured the Gonzalez case in an article in its news section. In the article, Gonzalez’s former post-doctoral advisor at the University of Texas, Austin, is quoted as saying: “He is one of the best postdocs I have had” and “I would have said he was a serious tenure candidate.”

4. U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Sam Brownback issued a statement defending Gonzalez’s right to academic freedom, while Darwinist academics vociferously advocated blacklisting pro-intelligent design scientists from academia.

5. ISU spokesman John McCarroll continued to invent facts in his effort to defend the tenure denial, this week claiming that a professor’s publications prior to being hired by ISU aren’t considered during the tenure process. Asked to provide documentation for this latest claim, McCarroll declined to respond.

If you have just heard about this story, you should check out the key developments from last week, which included the admission by two members of Gonzalez’s department that intelligent design played a role in his tenure denial, and the release of tenure statistics showing that ISU approved 91% of its tenure applications this year. In addition, tenure standards for ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy revealed that outside research funding was not a stated criterion for tenure decisions in the department.

Posted by John West on May 26, 2007 12:15 AM

*yawn*

is this supposed to be NEW information, pete?

so much deceit and spin in such a little space.

“let him know that you support academic freedom for Dr. Gonzalez to follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

Does anyone else see the irony in saying this, considering the fact that tenure was denied based on a lack of funding and original research?

“It was revealed that at same time ISU denied tenure to Gonzalez this past spring, the university promoted to full professor his chief academic persecutor, atheist professor Hector Avalos, who believes that the Bible is worse than Hitler’s Mein Kampf.”

Does anyone else see the irony in saying this, if you are claiming discrimination based on religious views?

I agree with PvM, the DI is getting desperate. I also agree with Gvl, they know they cannot possibly win here, so it appears they are just trying to make as big a stink as possible. Does anyone actually think that ISU could reverse either decision, even if they wanted to? I am glad that Gonzalez is appealing. I also hope he sues ISU. Another lost court case is all the DI needs.

More than anything else, the empty stridency, lies, and disingenuous blustering of John West and his cluster of cretins at DI remind me of the way that Josef Goebbels operated the NAZI propaganda machinery before and during WWII.

More than anything else, the empty stridency, lies, and disingenuous blustering of John West and his cluster of cretins at DI remind me of the way that Josef Goebbels operated the NAZI propaganda machinery before and during WWII.

the famliarity is probably not lost on the DI schills themselves; probably what prompted them to resurrect the old darwin=hitler canard.

I’m an untenured associate professor of religious studies and I do know Hector Avalos’s work in my field. I do not agree with Hector on everything but he is a first-rate scholar and, I might add, a first-class gentleman. I care what Hector thinks about the Bible because my profession is biblical studies. But why does the Discovery Institute care what Hector thinks about the Bible? I thought Intelligent Design was supposed to be about science, not religion. Could it be that Intelligent Design is really about religion after all? Nah, that would mean that Dembski & co. were being dishonest. Oh wait … that’s a truism. Never mind.

Nah, that would mean that Dembski & co. were being dishonest. Oh wait … that’s a truism. Never mind.

welcome.

a general suggestion for those examining the DI is to turn off your irony meter, er, unless you have an unlimited supply.

To Heard: Minor correction to your posting on your blog: Avalos was not awarded tenure but rather promoted to full professor during the same round where Gonzalez was denied tenure.

Heard Wrote:

Nah, that would mean that Dembski & co. were being dishonest. Oh wait … that’s a truism. Never mind.

Heard:

I do hope you are a better Biblical scholar than you are an ID critic. Dembski “& co.” are not monolithic, and Guillermo Gonzalez deserves to be evaluated apart from Bill Dembski. (Who, unfortunately, appears to have jumped the tracks.)

As for GG, I have little doubt that you do not know the first thing about his teleological ruminations.

As for Hector Avalos, I hope he will join us, but I realize he is busy examining the shafts of ancient garderobes for his next article: Dexterous or sinister? Further reflections on ancient sanitation.

Prof. Heard, please ignore O’Brien’s attempts at baiting you as he is a troll who has no understanding of scholarship.

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Prof. Heard, please ignore O’Brien’s attempts at baiting you as he is a troll who has no understanding of scholarship

and whose ‘contributions’ consist almost entirely of snide remarks.

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When you’re trying to promote it as ‘science’, ID is a strictly scientific statement that design can be detected, without any need to speculate about the identity of the designer

Where ‘design’ is defined as that which cannot yet be explained by regularities and/or chance processes?

Unless it can speculate about the designer, ID will remain scientifically vacuous, at best it is the null hypothesis of we don’t know. But it cannot even compete with that one.

Why should we think that Avalos would be “even-handed” since in his book “Fighting Words” he calls for the ELIMINATION of religion.

Not separation, not even education refuting it, but ELIMINATION.

You can say he is even handed, but I “lack belief in your claim.”

I doubt that Goldsteins Clones has read the book, let alone appreciates or even understands the context in which this statement was made. Instead he may have relied on the PR from the DI, without doing much of any effort to double check it. Hint: I have found that many DI and ID claims are often lacking in trustworthy and that a simple ‘search’ on Google can quickly improves the relevance and accuracy.

One need not look further than Uncommon Descent for instance. Such is the fate when ignorance is the best ID has to offer.

It seems to me that the majority of posts just call DI with names and derogatory comments. Not very “academic”.

Avalos’ call for elimination of religion has a clear counterpart on the religious side. A call for elimination of atheism, as a potentially morally dangerous view to be held, for example. :-) Many reasons can be given for this concern too (as for the concern that religions do a lot of damage to society).

I think both of such ideas are emotionally based stances, “backed up” by arguments in wich any side falls in love with.

If you are willing to buy real estate, you would have to get the home loans. Moreover, my mother all the time utilizes a car loan, which supposes to be the most useful.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on May 25, 2007 12:44 AM.

Stanley Miller Dies was the previous entry in this blog.

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