Basu: Bias over views or credentials?

Rekha Basu at the Des Moines Register has written an opinion on ISU’s denial of tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez. She raises some good issues:

In the past 10 years, a third of the 12 tenure applicants in the physics and astronomy department have been denied. Asked if Gonzalez’s Intelligent Design views were considered, department head Eli Rosenberg replied, “Only to the extent that they impact his scientific credentials.”

One hopes the ISU president’s response to the appeal will answer any lingering questions about bias toward Gonzalez for his personal beliefs. But Intelligent Design proponents are wrong to equate the exclusion of their theory from the classroom with academic bias. Professors are entitled to their own beliefs, but not to teach as science something that is not.

It is important to remember that the Tenure requirements are more extensive than suggested by some ID proponents who limit their argument to what the department requirements specify (and even there seem to mangle the requirements)

The university maintains the tenure denial was based on the professor’s teaching, service, scholarly publications and ability to get research funding, and not his Intelligent Design advocacy.

So let’s look at Gonzalez’s publication record, compare his record before joining ISU to his record after he joined, remembering that the customary 7 year period is of a probationary nature. During this period one has to show that the promise for success based on which one was originally hired for a tenure track position is actually playing itself out, This includes the ability to continue and expand the research, the ability to attract external sources of funding, and so on.

In this light, the responses by the Discovery Institute seems quite puzzling. Are they really interested in the best outcome for Gonzalez? Sometimes I wonder.