Intelligently designed confusion

On Evolution News, Crowther argues that

The Privileged Planet: Such a Dangerous Idea Its Author Had To Be Stifled

Of course, most who are familiar with the facts will understand that Crowther’s assertions are without much merit. First of all, even Hauptman, who spoke out against Gonzalez, was clear to state that it was the scientific vacuity of ID which affected his vote about Gonzalez.

“[But] intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement. Its proponents can call it anything they like, but it is not science,” added Hauptman. “It is purely a question of what is science and what is not, and a physics department is not obligated to support notions that do not even begin to meet scientific standards.

Of course, the fact that Gonzalez failed to meet the department’s requirements for tenure, was also an important factor.

But a closer look at Mr. Gonzalez’s case raises some questions about his recent scholarship and whether he has lived up to his early promise. He has appealed the university’s tenure denial and is awaiting word from Iowa State’s president, Gregory L. Geoffroy, who will issue a final decision by June 6, according to the university.


Geoffroy concluded

On Friday, June 1, I informed Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, of my decision to deny his tenure appeal.

As part of this decision process, I appointed a member of my staff to conduct a careful and exhaustive review of the appeal request and the full tenure dossier, and that analysis was presented to me. In addition, I conducted my own examination of Dr. Gonzalez’s appeal with respect to the evidence of research and scholarship. I independently concluded that he simply did not show the trajectory of excellence that we expect in a candidate seeking tenure in physics and astronomy – one of our strongest academic programs.

Because the issue of tenure is a personnel matter, I am not able to share the detailed rationale for the decision, although that has been provided to Dr. Gonzalez. But I can outline the areas of focus of my review where I gave special attention to his overall record of scientific accomplishment while an assistant professor at Iowa State, since that gives the best indication of future achievement. I specifically considered refereed publications, his level of success in attracting research funding and grants, the amount of telescope observing time he had been granted, the number of graduate students he had supervised, and most importantly, the overall evidence of future career promise in the field of astronomy.


If ID proponents spent only a fraction of the efforts they spend on confusing the facts, on science, we could perhaps expect at least an attempt at science. But ID is not really interested in science, after all, its main purposes are well described in the Wedge and are religious and political in nature.

“I based my review strictly on what he submitted himself as part of his dossier when he requested tenure,” Geoffroy said. “I did not consider any of the issues that have been circulating around about intelligent design.”

The question becomes: Is the obvious rewriting of history really going to serve as a positive factor in Intelligent Design? I have noticed how more and more Christians are turning away from what they see as an obvious violation of St Augustine’s fair warning

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]