More on Gonzalez tenure denial

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The Des Moines Register has an article about emails received under the freedom of information act.

Intelligent design theory influenced ISU tenure vote by Lisa Rossi, December 1, 2007, The Des Moines Register

Iowa State University professor Guillermo Gonzalez’s support of the theory of intelligent design damaged his prospects for tenure long before his peers voted on the job promotion, according to e-mails from at least one professor in his department to those who decided Gonzalez’s tenure request.

Why is there a discrepancy between the public statement by the University and the private positions of some of the reviewers?

John McCarroll, ISU executive director of university relations, said he did not know the individual feelings of voting faculty members until the e-mails surfaced as a part of a public-records request filed by the Discovery Institute, an advocate on behalf of Gonzalez.

In response to a question about why the influence of intelligent design in the physics and astronomy tenure decisions was not acknowledged publicly by the university earlier, McCarroll said, “I can’t speak for every one of those individuals” who voted on Gonzalez’s tenure.

In other words, some on the tenure review committee may indeed have some negative opinions on Intelligent Design and Gonzalez’s involvement.

Harmon replied

He added later that 80 percent to 90 percent of the discussion on whether to grant Gonzalez tenure was based on his astronomy, but “it’s impossible to have this big elephant in the room without a burp occasionally, so it may have surfaced, but I don’t think it was that strong,” Harmon said.

Some researchers were concerned about Gonzalez’s involvement with a scientifically vacuous concept

Curtis Struck, a physics and astronomy professor, wrote an e-mail to Lee Anne Willson, another physics and astronomy professor, in February 2004 noting that Gonzalez was about to publish a book on intelligent design.

“I guess I’m rather sad that he wants to be so very public about something that I see as intellectually vacuous, though it may be spiritually satisfying,” Struck wrote. “I think I will talk to him about it at some point.”

In a Press Release the Discovery Institute announced that

Iowa State University (ISU) employees engaged in conspiracy and deceit to improperly deny tenure to a distinguished astronomer who supports the theory of intelligent design, according to thousands of pages of incriminating internal documents obtained under the Iowa Records Act by Discovery Institute.

My head is spinning

It would be interesting in pursuing access to the full text of emails.

For instance the following claim by the Discovery Institute

The Cover-Up: Department Chair Eli Rosenberg’s Effort to Mislead the Public

After Dr. Gonzalez’s denial of tenure, Dr. Eli Rosenberg, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, publicly insisted that “intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision.” 25 The record clearly shows otherwise, especially when it comes to Dr. Rosenberg himself. Contrary to his later public statements, during the tenure process Dr. Rosenberg presented Dr. Gonzalez’s beliefs about intelligent design as a clear-cut litmus test on whether he was qualified to be a science educator, stating:

o “on numerous occasions, Dr. Gonzalez has stated that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory and someday would be taught in science classrooms. This is confirmed by his numerous postings on the Discovery Institute Web site. The problem here is that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Its premise is beyond the realm of science. … But it is incumbent on a science educator to clearly understand and be able to articulate what science is and what it is not. The fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.”26

26. Eli Rosenberg’s Chair’s Statement in Guillermo Gonzalez tenure dossier, page 29 of 33.

As far as I can tell this hardly undermines Rosenberg’s statement that “intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision.” “, especially if Gonzalez was pursuing the research track.

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The DI had their press conference. They unveiled their killer evidence, emails from his university colleagues obtained via a Freedom Of Information Act request. They revealed — oh, horrors! oh, tea and crumpets! oh, I feel a swoon coming on!... Read More

105 Comments

PvM Wrote:

As far as I can tell this hardly undermines Rosenberg’s statement that “intelligent design was not a major or even a big factor in this decision.” “, especially if Gonzalez was pursuing the research track.

Surely, it does undermine, but does not falsify, Rosenberg’s statement. The question, however, is so frakking what? Where is the logic in granting tenure to a teacher who does not accept the overwhelming universe of evidence in the very field he is to teach or research? If he were truly concerned about tenure, he should have looked for a position where his magical thinking might have been appreciated; something like religion or philosophy. Of course, they too might have denied him tenure because of his lack of scholarly reasoning.

$0.02

While I am not persuaded that G’s advocacy of intelligent design had much, if anything, to do with his failure to get tenure, the college would have been well within its rights to take it into account and come to the same decision. So what’s the basis of any appeal?

EoRaptor013,

I don’t dispute that ISU has a right to deny tenure to Gonzalez, and that the way the system works includes the understanding that for every controversial extracurricular activity, you had better compensate by additional unimpeachable published research.

However, I don’t get your claim:

Where is the logic in granting tenure to a teacher who does not accept the overwhelming universe of evidence in the very field he is to teach or research?

What overwhelming universe of evidence in Astronomy has Gonzalez denied? None that I’m aware of. Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that God does not exist? No. Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that our planet is not privileged? No. So please enlighten.

If he were truly concerned about tenure, he should have looked for a position where his magical thinking might have been appreciated;

He should’ve applied to Hogwarts.

Heddle, the problem with Gonzalez is that he uses a scientifically vacuous argument to combine the science of astronomy with his personal faith. Nothing wrong with that unless of course it is being ‘sold’ as scientific.

Do you believe that relying on a single data point to infer correlation is reasonable?

If he were truly concerned about tenure, he should have looked for a position where his magical thinking might have been appreciated

I suspect this is much like the Leonard situation at Ohio State - an attempt to sleaze a creationist into a position of respect (a PhD for Leonard, tenure for Gonzalez), precisely *because* Iowa State (like Ohio State) is a reputable institution. How impressive would a PhD, or tenure, be at Bible Pounding Baptist Mailorder College?

What overwhelming universe of evidence in Astronomy has Gonzalez denied? None that I’m aware of. Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that God does not exist? No. Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that our planet is not privileged? No. So please enlighten.

We can only explain, you’ve long since demonstrated that nothing we say can enlighten.

In science, positive claims must be supported by positive evidence. Your stupid demand that evidence be provided to prove something does NOT exist is logically unsupportable. If Gonzalez, like you, thinks “science” is in the business of Making Stuff Up (and demanding that somebody else show it’s nonsense), then both of you should make your arguments to BPBMC (referenced above). It’s his responsibility to show the planet IS privileged - and he failed to do so. It’s nobody’s responsibility to show the planet IS NOT privileged. Please think.

Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that our planet is not privileged? No. So please enlighten.

The answer is probably Yes. Real astronomers have found that the nearest spiral galaxy, Andromeda will collide with the Milky Way in 2 billion years. Rather unusual.

1. The universe is getting old. It is expanding and the rate of expansion seems to be increasing, Dark Energy.

2. How often do 2 spiral galaxies collide in this day and age. At 13.7 billion years, this is a rare event. Which will be getting rarer in time as the universe expands.

The outcome of 2 of the largest objects known colliding is speculative. But we know there will be many high energy gravitational, nuclear, and EM events. This could have serious negative consquences for us or our descendants. Some say we won’t be around 2 billion years from now. Some say the galaxy appears empty and our progeny could own it all. No one knows.

But really, what is so privileged about being stuck in the middle of one of the largest collisions in the history of the whole universe?

Someone could write a book called Unlucky Planet and be just as convincing as Gonzalez was.

WRT the Hogwart’s reference:

There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.

More substance to Hogwart’s magic than to ID.

Maybe ISU wasn’t as forthcoming as it should have been. I don’t know. And I’m not sure I really care. I have no issue with them denying tenure on the basis of Gonzalez’s ID beliefs alone.

After all, it would be the equivalent of a medical school denying tenure to a Doctor who denied the circulation of the blood, or still practiced leeching. Nobody would question a University’s right to deny tenure for such a person who practices ‘dead science’, so what is the difference here?

I wonder if someone will ever slip up to the extent that they claim Gonzales was denied tenure because of religious persecution…

“Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that our planet is not privileged?”

Gonzalez would have had to disprove special relativity to show that there are any privileged locales in the universe. If he had succeeded in showing that Einstein and virtually all of modern astrophysics that depends on it are wrong, I doubt he’d have had much difficulty with tenure.

PvM,

That is a misdirection. I asked what about Astronomy has Gonzalez denied, re: the comment I addressed from EoRaptor013. You did not provide an answer.

Flint,

Your rather stupid comment also did not address my question–but then again you never actually make a cogent point, as far as I can tell.

raven,

Nor did you answer. Like flint and PvM, you either purposely or out of ignorance (like flint) interpreted my question as support for the PP or for Gonzalez’s tenure. It was not. It was a direct question about what evidence from Astronomy Gonzalez denies? You did not answer that. An answer would probably involve one of these: 1) evidence that complex life has arisen on a number of non-earth-like planets and/or 2) evidence that planets like earth are fairly common. Astronomy has not provided any such evidence yet–perhaps it will. But in the meantime, Gonzalez had not denied overwhelming evidence in his own field. Or, if he has, nobody here has demonstrated the fact.

Someone could write a book called Unlucky Planet and be just as convincing as Gonzalez was.

But folks like Heddle would never “buy” it.

Apparently the DI believes that ID exhibits itself in all areas of life. Email chatter among faculty is a “conspiracy” to deny GG tenure. But true to form, they have yet to identify the “designer” behind this grand conspiracy.

Heddle seems unable to grasp the concept that the term “privileged” is devoid of scientific meaning.

“evidence that planets like earth are fairly common”

“Planets like earth.” You mean planets on which earth-like bacteria could live? I think there must be quite a few of those. What’s the problem?

He added later that 80 percent to 90 percent of the discussion on whether to grant Gonzalez tenure was based on his astronomy, but…

What up? Wasn’t the whole point of Gonzalez’s book and pro-ID activity a claim that astronomy supports ID? That ID is scientific? And now they want to find refuge in a claim that ID is non-scientific and separate from astronomy?

heddle 1:

Is there overwhelming Astronomical evidence that our planet is not privileged? No. So please enlighten.

heddle 2:

What overwhelming universe of evidence in Astronomy has Gonzalez denied? None that I’m aware of.

Heddle, I answered your first question. I provided compelling data that the earth will be involved in one of the largest collisions in the history of the universe. The Unlucky Planet hypothesis.

Since you didn’t like the answer you.…changed the question. The first was about the privileged condition of earth and then it morphed into Gonzalez being an “Astronomy denier”, or not.

The privileged planet is just a version of the Anthropic principle. It is interesting speculation but doesn’t prove anything. The AP is old news. Gonzalez was in an astronomy department not a philosophy department. It is not unreasonable for them to want to hire…an astronomer.

Like flint and PvM, you either purposely or out of ignorance (like flint) interpreted my question as support for the PP or for Gonzalez’s tenure. It was not. It was a direct question about what evidence from Astronomy Gonzalez denies?

But nobody claimed this. Instead, the claim is that Gonzalez is saying things devoid of evidential support, which is something different. You asked a leading question - that is, a question based on a false assumption.

I admit, I cannot give cogent answers to questions requiring that I buy into stupidity to address them at all. Gonzalez has Made Stuff Up, that he cannot support with evidence. It’s up to Gonzalez to support his case, it is NOT up to anyone else to UNsupport his case. He failed to support his case. Once again, positive claims require positive evidence. Gonzalez can’t provide it.

Now, if you show us how to prove a negative, and do so without using logic or evidence, then next time our replies will be more *cogent*. Dumbass.

Anyone know if the “tenure dossier” cited by Luskin is available? I’d be interested in seeing who the 5 positive outside reviewers were, and what it was that they actually said.

raven,

You provided no such evidence. The ultimate destruction of the planet by some form or another is not disputed. The PP position was that our planet is extremely rare in its ability to support complex life (and observation.) I agree this is not scientific, however (for the Nth time) my original comment was aimed at EoRaptor013’s assertion that Gonzalez “does not accept the overwhelming universe of evidence in the very field he is to teach or research.” There is, at the moment, no overwhelming evidence (in fact little or no evidence at all) that our planet is not privileged, if privileged means “extremely rare in its habitability for complex life.” Such evidence might be forthcoming, but at the moment, Gonzalez’s PP position, while not science, nevertheless does not deny overwhelming scientific evidence from his own field, as EoRaptor013 claimed.

Flint,

No, I never said the science supported Gonzalez’s claim. I said the Gonzalez’s claim does not contradict existing evidence. Until much more extra-solar planetary research is done this is an open question. Again you are arguing as if I am supporting Gonzalez’s tenure case, which I am not. I am only disputing EoRaptor013’s comment–get it?

Gonzalez was denied tenure because he ceased doing research, getting grants, and producing graduate students.

He has also made it clear that he does not understand what a scientific theory is, and this can only have a negative effect on his methodology (if he did, in fact, decide to do some research).

This fact is only highlighted by his support of ID, which has been described as unscientific by every major scientific organization (that has released a statement on the matter), as well as in a court of law.

PS Heddle is a troll. Besides the fact that it verges on the unbelievable that anyone would claim to believe in biblical Inerrancy in this day and age, anyone who does make such a claim has very little business calling anyone else’s opinions stupid (especially when they still have not drank their poison like a True Christian, Mark 16:18).

PPS IDs fans are ID’s own worst enemies. Invariably in school board meetings and other public venues, ID supporters bemoan “godlessness” in schools, threaten hellfire, pray to Jesus, and use “Creationism” and “Intelligent Design” interchangeably. They know what ID is: A way to get God back into schools. To try to trick science teachers, parents, the public, and now University Administrations that ID is anything else is, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, “Breathtaking inanity”.

Please think.

Don’t demand the impossible. We all know how Heddle lock up when the Anthropic argument is discarded for the umpteenth time.

the problem with Gonzalez is that he uses a scientifically vacuous argument to combine the science of astronomy with his personal faith.

Indeed. Wikipedia referenced this resource page which guided me to Vic Stengers review:

At the time that Gonzalez worked with Ward and Brownlee he was also a frequent contributor to the newsletter Connections and other pamphlets published by Hugh Ross’s evangelical organization Reasons to Believe. In these writings Gonzalez presented many of the arguments for cosmic design later published in The Privileged Planet.

So presumably there is no research that the publication is based on, but apologetics. Stenger, a Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, don’t think much of the actual arguments either.

Some say we won’t be around 2 billion years from now.

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy has posted about the heating effect of the sun, that will boil the atmosphere that otherwise is predicted to last several Gy more. IIRC he predicts that the biosphere may last 100 - 200 My.

Which makes me want to have a serious discussion with the current planet dealership. To buy into a biosphere with but 3 - 6 % service life left (out of ~ 3.5 Gy recorded life history) isn’t what I call a “privileged” deal.

The privileged planet is just a version of the Anthropic principle.

I wouldn’t put it so. What I like to call the religious Anthropic Argument is the anti-science version of an Anthropic Principle.

The AA claims for one arbitrary apologetic reason or other, say “the size relationship between the Sun and Moon make the Earth unique for scientific exploration”, that the a priori probability that the ground hole would snuggly fit the rain water was low; the weak AP claims that the a posteriori likelihood that the rain water would snuggly fit the ground hole was high.

Once again, Professor Guillermo Gonzalez of Iowa State University is in the news. This time as victim, run roughshod by his colleagues, who, as narrow-minded defenders of the scientific status quo, brook no apostasy in the ranks. Now he is suing, claiming political if not religious prosecution for his work in intelligent design. The charge: Unfairness.

The basic position of those that favor ID is that the books are unfairly rigged. The unfairness they allege is that science rejects the supernatural.

Professor Gonzalez, as an ID proponent, is opposed to science. He believes science should be something other than what it is, specifically, a big tent that accepts religious revelation as truth. By intent, the purpose of ID is to replace science, not advance science – revolution, not evolution. ID is the Trojan horse he is riding in this pursuit.

The State of Iowa is offering, through tenure, to give the Professor Gonzalez a job for life as a scientist and science educator, not a prophet. Denying tenure is a fair way of assessing that Professor Gonzalez’s professed goal of replacing science with revelation does not mesh with the educational goals of Iowa State University. In particular, they do not want Professor Gonzalez to exploit the university’s reputation to advance his pseudo-science beliefs. The undertone of religious victimization in his lawsuit reinforces the idea that Professor Gonzalez knows his court date is more about securing a forum to promote religion than advancing science.

Jason Failes said

PS Heddle is a troll. Besides the fact that it verges on the unbelievable that anyone would claim to believe in biblical inerrancy in this day and age, anyone who does make such a claim has very little business calling anyone else’s opinions stupid (especially when they still have not drank their poison like a True Christian, Mark 16:18)

.

Excellent! That’s a real ad hominem (and very, very stupid). (Not the incorrect use of that term, as a synonym for insult, but an honest to goodness ad hominem) The fact that I believe in biblical inerrancy is irrelevant when it comes to my claim that EoRaptor013’s assertion that Gonzalez “does not accept the overwhelming universe of evidence in the very field he is to teach or research.” You didn’t even try to address that claim. Go back to Rhetoric 101. Or tell me what overwhelming evidence from Astronomy that Gonzalez denies.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM

You missed the boat too (in adressing my comments). You also failed to explain what overwhelming evidence from Astronomy that Gonzalez denies.

PS Heddle is a troll.

I’m going to have to disagree. He has a quite different way of looking at things than many scientists of which he is one. We don’t ever seem to agree on anything.

Neither sinks to the level of trolldom. He is within the TOS and capable of making his points without too much name calling or just Making Things Up. Besides, where else will anyone actually see a convinced Calvinist these days?

“extremely rare in its habitability for complex life.”

As some reviewers of The Privileged Planet remarked, according to which criteria?

Both Venus and Mars looks like they were habitable and possibly harbored life early on. Especially Venus is now claimed, based on recent Venus Express data I believe, to have been just about a twin planet to Earth, give or take a much different rotation period. But both Venus and Mars lost their water to space due to one difference with respect to Earth - no appreciable magnetic field to trap solar plasma.

Then note that several other planets and moons have such magnetic fields, some strong enough to trap plasma, and ask yourself - was it extreme luck or just a tiny bit unlucky that Earth is currently the only body in our solar system known to have a biosphere?

And that is besides the likelihood Gonzalez chose to discard, currently mostly on the up and up with each discovery, that life is a common process in the universe. And also besides the padding of “the size relationship between the Sun and Moon make the Earth unique for scientific exploration” to arbitrarily bump up the “privilege” of being born.

You missed the boat too (in adressing my comments). You also failed to explain what overwhelming evidence from Astronomy that Gonzalez denies.

I’m not the one who claims there is a boat or arc, you are.

I didn’t address that question specifically, no, among the ones you have already made. Care to reply to my comments instead?

“or arc”

Oops. Ark.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li[…]page_id=1965 There is evidence of other earth-like planets. Hence earth is not privileged. The problem is that earth-like planets are small (astronomically) and hard to find in the universe with our limited telescopes. But I don’t see why a tenure candidate who supported a magical theory was surprised to be denied tenure. I’d be laughed out of my program if I were to do the same thing with a different theory. Say I denied that bacteria cause disease and it was instead “God’s Will”. That would be a pretty good cause for rejection.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 7, column 2, byte 577 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

An interesting posting on UcD by Maya reveals the full context about Eli Rosenberg’s statement about Gonzalez and science educator.

“Contrary to his public statements, and those of ISU President Gregory Geoffroy, the chairman of ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Eli Rosenberg, stated in Dr. Gonzalez’s tenure dossier that Dr. Gonzalez’s support for intelligent design ‘disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.’”

The full context of that quotation is:

“on numerous occasions, Dr. Gonzalez has stated that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory and someday would be taught in science classrooms. This is confirmed by his numerous postings on the Discovery Institute Web site. The problem here is that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Its premise is beyond the realm of science. … But it is incumbent on a science educator to clearly understand and be able to articulate what science is and what it is not. The fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.”

FYI

Robert O’Brien:

Stanton: Gonzalez is no longer scientifically active. Please explain why ISU should give tenure to a scientist who has given up doing science, please.

Even if Guillermo Gonzalez never published another scientific paper again, he still would be good enough for ISU physics & astronomy.

Wait.

Wait wait wait wait.

Is Robert O’Brien actually arguing that, in spite of the fact that he seems to recognize that Gonzalez did absolutely nothing that would qualify him to receive tenure, and even if he never has an ounce of scientific output again, they should just give it to him anyway, because he’s the best they’re going to get?

Robert, do you honestly believe for a second that ISU won’t have any other more-qualified scientists, who will actually bring in grant money (which, by the way, doesn’t just mean that the scientist who was awarded it keeps it all… a good chunk of that goes back to the school, and to his department), actually mentor students (ya know, with education being part of the school’s mission), actually publish papers and get into journals, and actually, um, do science?

Gonzales didn’t make the grade at ISU, as judged by his peers, other scientists and educators. Instead of performing his duties, he frittered away his time on ID.

I also think it’s interesting that Robert mentions Gonzales “never publishing another scientific paper again”. Well, if he actually sits down and focuses his research on ID, I think there’s a good chance of this coming to pass.

Robert has a good point though in that Gonzalez’s track record is quite impressive, however, reading the ISU statements, the committee believed that Gonzalez did not show the progress expected or hoped for. This includes his position on ID being science, his publication record, his funding record and more. While I find it hard to believe that the denial of tenure did not involve ANY consideration of his position on ID, I also do not believe it was the leading reason for the decision of the tenure committee to deny him tenure. The problem is that we have to second guess as to what motivated the committee members to vote the way they did, and while the DI attempts to conclude that based on their pre-tenure emails, the committee and the faculty had created a workplace environment hostile to Gonzalez, such a position seems tenuous at best, given the lack of context in which many of these emails were written.Yes, there were (legitimate(?)) concerns from faculty and the tenure committee as to Gonzalez’s focus or lack thereof. Does this amount to discrimination or viewpoint discrimination or hostile workplace or what? While Gonzalez is free to pursue his own research, the tenure committee is also free to reject his choices and they did.

Tenure is all about a certain level of viewpoint discrimination and restrictions on subject matter, the question is, what extent of such ‘censorship’ is academically allowable. While there is surely some freedom as to what research to pursue, there is also the inevitable fact that the faculty gets to decide if they are convinced by the directions chosen.

As such, this is a complex matter.

On a personal note, any time someone is denied tenure, it comes at great cost to the person(s) involved and that is regrettable.

Robert O’Brien:

Stanton:

Robert O’Brien:

Gonzalez is no longer scientifically active. Please explain why ISU should give tenure to a scientist who has given up doing science, please.

Even if Guillermo Gonzalez never published another scientific paper again, he still would be good enough for ISU physics & astronomy.

I do not see the logic in that. Yes, his past accomplishments are impressive, but, he is no longer writing papers, he has no intention of mentoring any graduate students, and he does not even have any intention of requesting time with the telescope. In otherwords, he’s rotting on his own laurels. Giving an inactive scientist turned religious apologist tenure is like trying to raise a line of thoroughbreds by buying the stuffed and mounted carcass of Sea Bisquit.

Stanton:

Robert O’Brien:

Even if Guillermo Gonzalez never published another scientific paper again, he still would be good enough for ISU physics & astronomy.

I do not see the logic in that. Yes, his past accomplishments are impressive, but, he is no longer writing papers, he has no intention of mentoring any graduate students, and he does not even have any intention of requesting time with the telescope. In otherwords, he’s rotting on his own laurels. Giving an inactive scientist turned religious apologist tenure is like trying to raise a line of thoroughbreds by buying the stuffed and mounted carcass of Sea Bisquit.

Just the other day I was watching an episode in the series “The Universe” and one of the scientists they interviewed said his career was over (having exhausted his previous research) but he plugged along anyway and ended up being one of the first handful of scientists to discover planets orbiting distant suns.

Some scientists/scholars publish in spurts, you know.

PvM:

You are right, Gonzalez is hardly a pseudoscientist although I and others have found much wrong in his claims expressed in Privileged Planet. His earlier work however is without any doubt quite novel.

I commend you for being fair here, Pim. As I wrote previously, you are passing tolerable for a Brabender. :)

Robert OBrien Wrote:

Just the other day I was watching an episode in the series “The Universe” and one of the scientists they interviewed said his career was over (having exhausted his previous research) but he plugged along anyway and ended up being one of the first handful of scientists to discover planets orbiting distant suns.

Some scientists/scholars publish in spurts, you know.

Yes, so? If that fellow was applying for tenure during a “lull”, he would have been denied, too. No-one ever said that predicting the course of a future career was easy, or precise. The tenure system is what it is. Gonzalez knew, at least in general terms, what he needed to do to earn it and he failed.

Robert OBrien Wrote:

Even if Guillermo Gonzalez never published another scientific paper again, he still would be good enough for ISU physics & astronomy.

Stanton and Jackelope King: I believe you have missed a different interpretation of ROB’s words here. The way I read this is that ROB is saying that ISU is such a poor quality institution that if they employ a “scientist” who never does any more science, it won’t change their standing. I think EOB would have been better off not posting this one, because all it has done is lower my opnion of ROB - I do not believe it contributes anything to the debate whatever. Consequently, I believe it illustrates that ROB is aware he is arguing from an untenable position.

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.

Just the other day I was watching an episode in the series “The Universe” and one of the scientists they interviewed said his career was over (having exhausted his previous research) but he plugged along anyway and ended up being one of the first handful of scientists to discover planets orbiting distant suns.

Some scientists/scholars publish in spurts, you know.

Yes, so? If that fellow was applying for tenure during a “lull”, he would have been denied, too.

Also, one of the common justifications for the tenure system is that, once obtained, it allows you to undertake programs of research that will take a long time to produce results.

But some people are too desperate to find excuses for supporting Gonzalez to take any interest in how things actually work.

Bobby Wrote:

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.

Now there’s a thought. I have no doubt that the tenure committee of ISU acted within their remit, so perhaps you are right. I just thought the whole thing might end up being more hassle and palaver than they want to deal with. After all, the principal component of their job is to do science.

Nigel:

“I just thought the whole thing might end up being more hassle and palaver than they want to deal with. After all, the principal component of their job is to do science.”

My experience has been that any outsider’s attempt to interfere with the already-tenured’s right to sit in judgement of their tenure-track peers yields a result not unlike a rabid wolverine. Most days they’d slit each other’s throats for funding-but this will bring them together in new and interesting ways.

Just think of the poor sod that had to look through all the emails that mentioned Gonzalez since at least 2004 and that is all they came up with.

Ron - yes, if it was done by hand, that would have been a dull job. Maybe they had a search algorithm to do it … ?

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 3, 2007 11:43 AM.

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