The case of ID v ID

We are all familiar with the claim by Intelligent Design proponents that ID is a robust theory and yet, as I will show, even ID proponents seem to strongly disagree with this. Combine this with the logic applied by Judge Jones and others and we come to realize that ID indeed is doomed to remain without scientific content

And yet we continue to hear such arguments as:

Robert Crowther wrote:

From our point of view, Intelligent Design is not a legal strategy, it’s a scientific theory. It’s a robust theory and we’re getting more and more interest in it all the time.

Source: Robert Cowther, Newsday: Science panel aims at evolution, Newsday, 4th March 2006

At the same time, various prominent ID proponents seem to strongly disagree:

For instance, Young Earth Creationist, philosopher and fellow at the Center for the renewal of Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, Paul Nelson observes:

Paul Nelson wrote:

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

Source: Paul Nelson, The Measure of DesignTouchstone Magazine 7/8 (2004): pp 64 - 65.

Or laywer, co-founder and program advisor of the Center for the renewal of Science and Culture (CSC), Phillip “Godfather of Intelligent Design” Johnson, who not only outlines the motivations behind ID but also recently has come to lament its scientific status, or lack thereof.

Phillip Johnson wrote:

I have built an intellectual movement in the universities and churches that we call The Wedge, which is devoted to scholarship and writing that furthers this program of questioning the materialistic basis of science…Now, the way that I see the logic of our movement going is like this. The first thing you understand is that the Darwinian theory isn’t true. It’s falsified by all of the evidence and the logic is terrible. When you realize that, the next question that occurs to you is, well, where might you get the truth?…I start with John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word. In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right. And the materialist scientists are deluding themselves…

Source: Phillip E. Johnson, “How the Evolution Debate Can Be Won”. According to testimony of Dr. Barbara Forrest, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District[1], Johnson delivered these remarks speaking for the 1999 Reclaiming America for Christ Conference presented by Reverend D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries in Florida in 1999 (Source: Wikipedia: Phillip Johnson

and who more recently observed

Phillip Johnson wrote:

I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.

Source: Michelangelo D’Agostino In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley, Berkeley Science Research, 10, Spring 2006

So why am I repeating these well known facts? Because I want to discuss recent arguments raised by the Discovery Institute which accuses science of censoring Intelligent Design, either in the context of a school library, a public school or the university. The lack of scientific contributions, the absence of a ‘worked out scheme’ all make Intelligent Design scientifically vacuous, and when combined with ID’s well established religious motivations, a constitutional disaster.

The question of whether universities can regulate the teaching of Intelligent Design is explored in a paper by Frank S. Ravitch presented during a Symposium and printed in April 2008’s issue of the “William and Mary Bill of Rights Journal” titled Conflicts 101: Higher Education and the First Amendment

In this paper, Ravitch presents an in-depth analysis of why Intelligent Design fails as a science and whether, based on these findings, “universities can preclude such professors from teaching or researching ID as faculty members in a science department”. In addition he explores, the issue if universities must rather than may preclude professors from teaching ID in light of the Establishment Clause.

Casey Luskin, lawyer at the Discovery Institute and “Nick Matzke wannabe”, describes the paper as follows:

Casey Luskin wrote:

Before delving further into Ravitch’s conclusions, it must be noted that his entire argument depends on his claim that ID is not science but rather is religion, and nearly every one of his criticisms of ID cites to the Kitzmiller ruling. To justify his censorship, Ravitch essentially adopts the “Judge Jones Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It” approach to ID (see above). But Judge Jones is unlikely to be the final word on the constitutionality of teaching ID, for just some problems with the Kitzmiller ruling include the facts that Judge Jones:

Casey Luskin is partially correct in that Ravitch’s conclusions depends on the question of whether or not Intelligent Design qualifies as science. However, as I intend to show, Luskin’s claim that “nearly every one of his criticisms of ID cites to the Kitzmiller ruling” ignores the actual arguments by Ravitch although one cannot blame Ravitch for using the extensive testimony presented during the Kitzmiller trial

Contrary to Luskin’s claims, Ravitch does recognize the limited legal relevance of the Kitzmiller ruling while also observing how the nature of the case makes it still an effective future ‘precendent’ as future courts are likely to follow a similar reasoning. In other words, Judge Jones ruling is, if history is a reliable predictor of the future, unlikely to be the final word as we will see other attempts to work around the constitutional issues of teaching creationism in public schools. Nevertheless, the solid foundation behind Jones’ ruling, addressing the lack of scientific content of Intelligent Design, combined with the clear lack of any relevant track record, continues to make Intelligent Design scientifically vacuous which combined with its clear religious motivations, destine it to future run-ins with the law.

Ravitch wrote:

Of course, the decision of a federal district court does not have the precedential value of an appeals court decision, but the careful analysis of the district court on the science/religion issue will likely be followed by many courts because it is the first decision directly addressing the issue in the ID context and because so many leading figures on both sides of the issue testified at trial.

Ravitch then gets to his most compelling argument and addresses the ‘argument’ furthered by many ID proponents that science by relying on methodological naturalism, precludes other approaches from competing, using a compelling combination of Kuhn and a clever comparison with String Theory, Ravitch lays out a fascinating case as to why ID is and likely is doomed to remain without scientific content or relevance.

Ravitch observes that one of the objections raised by Intelligent Design is that a reliance on methodological naturalism provides science with an unfair advantage over Intelligent Design which has to rely on supernatural explanations, but can the same be said of any and all competing paradigm? History provides us with the answer.

Ravitch wrote:

ID theorists have attempted to argue, although frequently without much sophistication, that reliance on the current scientific paradigm excludes religious or other paradigms from competing.

Unlike other paradigms which face an uphill battle against a prevailing scientific paradigm, “ID, even if it proclaims itself to be a scientific paradigm, has not gained acceptance among credible scientists or scientific journals and is not part of the discourse of the mainstream sciences.” and the reasons for this are obvious

Ravitch shows a compelling example how science came to accept String Theory as a valid scientific possibility even though present day instruments are unable to prove or disprove the theory. Sure, many in science still believe that String Theory is likely to be wrong but one of the main reason that String Theory is at least tentatively accepted is because String Theory presents a comprehensive mathematical foundation which explains many of the observed facts. As Ravitch points out, the way String Theorists have dealt with the leading paradigm differs significantly from how ID proponents have dealt with this:

Ravitch wrote:

The reason for this is that ID theory is unwilling or unable to question its ultimate hypothesis of the existence of an intelligent designer, and it has failed to engage in experiments that could support or contravene evolution. ID works toward a predetermined end to disprove evolution, at least as to more complex life forms.

Compare this to how ID approaches the ‘problem’, best explained by William “Bill” Dembski:

William Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

Source: William Dembski Organisms using GAs vs. Organisms being built by GAs thread at ISCID 18. September 2002

Note the difference between how String Theory managed to convince the scientific community and how Intelligent Design is attempting to avoid convincing the scientific community and instead is relying more on popular support, legislative actions under the guise of “teaching the controversy”, even where no controversy really exists?

Now, it is fair to point out that Ravitch is not the first one to come to the conclusion that Intelligent Design is without scientific content. Others, such as Ryan Nichols whose paper Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 2003 ,vol. 77 ,no 4 ,pp. 591 - 611 outlines the problem of lack of scientific content. In his paper, Nichols argues

Ryan Nichols wrote:

In my argument against Intelligent Design Theory I will not contend that it is not falsifiable or that it implies contradictions. I’ll argue that Intelligent Design Theory doesn’t imply anything at all, i.e. it has no content. By ‘content’ I refer to a body of determinate principles and propositions entailed by those principles. By ‘principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue. By ‘determinate principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue in which the extensions of its terms are clearly defined. I’ll evaluate the work of William Dembski because he specifies his methodology in detail, thinks Intelligent Design Theory is contentful and thinks Intelligent Design Theory (hereafter ‘IDT’) grounds an empirical research program. Later in the paper I assess a recent trend in which IDT is allegedly found a better home as a metascientific hypothesis, which serves as a paradigm that catalyzes research. I’ll conclude that, whether IDT is construed as a scientific or metascientific hypothesis, IDT lacks content.

You can also listen to a recent podcast with Dr Nichols on: Are ID and Theology Inseperable ? in the Jason Rennie series, full of insights as to why ID fails.

Ravitch continues to point out how String Theory earned itself a “place at the table” through hard work, even though it still has many skeptics and even though at present, String Theory cannot be disproven since science lacks the necessary technology.

Ravitch wrote:

A good example of a highly controversial theory that has gained a good deal of acceptance while also garnering a good amount of skepticism is the field of string theory in physics. Of course, one reason the theory is so controversial is that it is hard to falsify based on real world observations-string theory is primarily a set of mathematical models supported by some real world research. Of course, string theorists do not use this to avoid the scientific method. Rather, they have endeavored to analyze (i.e., prove or disprove) their theories by using more and more sophisticated experiments and equipment.

ID’s lack of content

In this context, the admissions by leading Intelligent Design proponents, that a theory of ID is lacking is extremely relevant. In fact, as I and others have argued, ID, by virtue of being based on an argument from ignorance, cannot even compete with said ignorance and since ID is unwilling or unable to constrain its ‘Designer (wink, wink)’, it is doomed to remain without scientific content. It’s not wrong, it’s not even right…

Let me take a short side track and explain why ID is doomed to remain without scientific content or as others have called it “scientifically vacuous”.

ID at its foundation is based on the following definition of ‘design’. “Design design is the set-theoretical complement of regularity and chance”. What this means is that Intelligent Design insists on calling that which cannot at present be explained by either chance or regularity should be considered ‘design’, even though, lacking any positive evidence, a much better, and a scientifically defensible position would be, “we don’t know”. As Del Ratzsch points out

Del Ratzsch wrote:

I do not wish to play down or denigrate what Dembski has done. There is much of value in the Design Inference. But I think that some aspects of even the limited task Dembski set for himself still remains to be tamed.” “That Dembski is not employing the robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design that most of his supporters and many of his critics have assumed seems clear.

Source: Del Ratzsch in “Nature, Design, and Science:The Status of Design in Natural Science”, SUNY Press, 2001.

Indeed, few ID proponents and many ID opponents seem unfamiliar with the less that robust conception of design.

In fact, as Dr Nichols points out in his above paper, Dembski has made an important concession, not well known to its followers

Ryan Nichols wrote:

Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption noted above. When the EF implies that certain systems are intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, “even though in practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an intelligent agent, taken by itself design does not require that such an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design inference must not be confused with intelligent agency”

Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 2003 ,vol. 77 ,no 4 ,pp. 591 - 611

Until Intelligent Design or Science expands our understanding of said ‘designed’ system, we should not jump to any conclusions which can be easily confused by people to suggest that ID’s form of ‘design’ has any relevance to how the term is more commonly used, or let alone, to the concept of agency. And as has been shown, when ‘design’ is combined with any constraints on the designer, such as applications of means, motives, opportunities, eye witnesses, physical evidence etc, such ‘design’ which is more accurately described by the term ‘rarefied design’ is an incredibly unreliable measure. To show this we need not go back further in time than Sir Isaac Newton, who, unable to understand how his laws could explain the stability of orbits of planets, concluded that God must be involved in correct said orbits. It took almost 50 years until another scientist name Laplace resolved this conundrum. In other words, it was Newton’s ignorance which caused him to infer a design inference which science showed to be unreliable. In this context, it is important to point out that William Dembski has argued that if the explanatory filter, used to infer design, allows for false positives (i.e. it infers design where there was none), the filter is useless. Of course, when faced with such examples, ID proponents are quick to argue that ‘design’ is still not disproven, showing once again why ID remains scientifically vacuous.

I understand that Intelligent Design proponents, rather than dealing with ID’s shortcomings have decided to appeal to sentiments about fairness and censorship, however, they will continue to face an uphill battle unless they can resolve the scientific vacuity of ID. The problem is that once they do this, they will have to appeal to revealed knowledge and expose ID to the same standards that apply to creationism, or alternatively they can decide to keep ID scientifically vacuous which also dooms the future of ID.

Let’s recap Ravitch’s argument so far: Intelligent Design has failed as a science and as such science departments at universities can apply the same rationale that allows them to reject other inappropriate concepts from being taught.

However, Ravitch’s analysis does not end here

Research on ID Theory in Public University Science Departments

Ravitch points out that while case law is straightforward when it comes to what deciding what and what should not be part of the curriculum, the case is less clear when it comes to research.

Observing that ID proponents at Universities tend to suffer from a set of shortcomings, including publication output, the ability to obtain grants and the general professional reputation amongst peers.

Ravitch wrote:

Yet we know that in hiring, tenure, promotion, and merit increase decisions in the sciences much depends on the researcher’s publication output, ability to get grants from recognized granting sources, and professional reputation among peers. It is also clear that ID theorists are not generally published in mainstream science journals, their work is not highly regarded (if regarded at all) by scientific peers, and their ability to get grants from mainstream granting institutions is basically nonexistent.

This leads Ravitch to two separate questions

Ravitch wrote:

First, despite the academic freedom to pursue ID research, can science departments choose not to recognize that research as meaningfully aiding the department’s research interests-either substantively through grants and publications or reputationally? Relatedly, could a science department simply exclude ID research from any support or recognition? In other words, could a science department simply decide that ID is not science, and therefore that ID research has no place in a science department (or using the name of such a department)? Second, could a science department revoke the tenure of a faculty member who, post-tenure, engages only in ID research and refuses to teach courses that do not include ID?

Obviously, the second question is a more serious one as it involves revoking tenure, an act which requires extraordinary circumstances.

Ravitch reaches a reasonable conclusion that while universities are under no obligation to give credit and or support to ID research, it should also treat all tenured positions equally.

Ravitch wrote:

A science department could deny any support for ID research (including the use of the department, college, and university name) and give no credit for it in terms of research productivity, but such a department should not treat an ID theorist differently from any other non-productive researcher in terms of tenure revocation.

We have seen examples of the former in case of Behe’s department making a clear statement that they do not support the ID position argued by Behe, or Baylor’s position regarding Mark’s website.

As to revoking tenure, this may only be possible in extraordinary circumstances, depending on university policies, due process and evaluation of basic job requirements.

Ravitch wrote:

If, on the other hand, a faculty member refuses to teach his or her courses or refuses to teach them without including ID, and that faculty member engages primarily in ID research-which does not help, and may hurt, a science department’s reputation-tenure-revocation would be a possibility; but even then it would depend on university policies, and due process would certainly be required. The reason for revocation would be failure to perform even the basic requirements of the job, however, and not the faculty member’s belief in ID.

ID in Public Universities and the Establishment Clause

Ravitch then addresses an interesting argument which moves beyond what universities may do because ID lacks as a science and moves in an area in which the religious undertones of ID may force the universities to reject ID because of the Establishment Clause.

Using the Bishop case, Ravtich points out that religious endorsement and or coercion could be valid concerns.

Ravitch wrote:

The Bishop court relied, in part, on the university’s justified fear of religious endorsement and coercion when it upheld the university’s right to preclude Professor Bishop from teaching a religious approach in his exercise physiology class.

Ravitch then refers to Kitzmiller as an example and points out that the issue in Bishop does not directly address the Establishment Clause issue.

Ravitch, addresses the endorsement and coercion arguments and reaches a remarkable and important conclusion namely that even if the University were to decide to allow the teaching of ID in a science class under the concept of ‘academic freedom’, such would still run afoul of the endorsement test.

Ravitch wrote:

If one looks at the public university, however, the question would be whether the university had any purpose to endorse religion in offering the course or allowing it to be taught after having received complaints. As a general matter, there would appear to be a secular purpose under either circumstance. Certainly, offering science courses has a secular purpose, and even if the university is aware of concerns regarding ID it may allow the course to continue based on the university’s sense of academic freedom rather than an intent to endorse religion. This issue is of little import, however, because teaching ID as valid scientific theory in a science classroom would violate the effects element of the endorsement test.

Ravitch wrote:

As the Edwards, Bishop, and Kitzmiller courts all note, the effect of teaching religious theories of creation in a secular science classroom is to promote or endorse religion. Using the podium of a state university science department to promote a religious theory of origins that has been rejected by the broader scientific community is an endorsement of religion. As the Bishop court explained, it could make students feel that they must “take it” or have their grades affected, and as the Kitzmiller court explained, it can create a false sense of scientific views on central issues in students who do not have a strong grounding in biology, chemistry, etc.

An incomplete comparison of Luskin quotes and the actual paper

Quote 1

Casey Luskin wrote:

According to Ravitch, “ID is a religiously motivated theory” and therefore “public universities and science departments may preclude ID from being taught in science classes.”

That is incorrect, as Ravitch clearly states that it is the lack of scientific relevance which may lead science departments and public universities from rejecting ID being taught:

Luskin may have been confused by the somewhat ambiguous paragraph:

Ravitch wrote:

This Article addresses questions that arise when ID theory is brought into science departments at public universities. When one evaluates the case law, philosophy of science, and the substance of modern science, it becomes clear that ID is not a scientific theory. The case law, at least, along with statements and documents from the ID movement, makes it clear that ID is a religiously motivated theory. This Article asserts that as a result of both this and the law governing academic freedom and university curricular control, public universities and science departments may preclude ID from being taught in science classes. Establishment Clause concerns could make this “may” a “must.”

Which is clarified by Ravitch

Ravitch wrote:

Relatedly, could a science department simply exclude ID research from any support or recognition? In other words, could a science department simply decide that ID is not science, and therefore that ID research has no place in a science department (or using the name of such a department)?

and the argument is pretty straightforward and does not include any First Amendment issues

Ravitch wrote:

The first question above involves no special First Amendment analysis. If ID is not science, science departments have no duty to fund it any more than a science department would have a duty to fund a professor’s art collection. A department or university would also have the ability to require that its name not be used in connection with the work. For example, if a faculty member wants to engage in a partisan political blog or a blog promoting drug use, a public university would have the right to refuse the faculty member resources for the blog and to require that the university name not be used to promote the blog. This is not required, but the university may do so. The same would be true with ID theory.

In other words, Ravitch clearly argues that ID need not be religiously motivated to be rejected by departmental curriculum committees, as long as ID fails to be scientifically relevant.

A failure to understand the arguments raised has led Luskin to conflate two different issues.

Luskin wrote:

Thus Ravitch’s argument is that if a scientist has personal religious beliefs and motives, he therefore cannot advocate his views to students in the university classroom setting.

Is this correct? Again, the devil is in the details.

If ID is lacking as science and if ID is religiously motivated then do ID proponents have a right to advocate their views, which are not scientific, even if they believe otherwise, and instead are religiously motivated, can universities prohibit professors from teaching such viewpoint? As Ravitch has argued, if ID lacks as a science, it certainly may do so and given that ID is religiously motivated, Ravitch argues that under the establishment clause, it ‘must’ do so.

Ravitch observes

The primary Establishment Clause concern regarding ID in science departments at public universities involves teaching ID. Support for research may also be an issue, but as will be seen, the teaching of ID poses a far more significant problem under the Establishment Clause. The Bishop court relied, in part, on the university’s justified fear of religious endorsement and coercion when it upheld the university’s right to preclude Professor Bishop from teaching a religious approach in his exercise physiology class

Referring to the Kitzmiller ruling Ravitch observes that similarly

Since ID was found not to be science and to be a religiously based approach, the Kitzmiller court held that allowing even a disclaimer in a science textbook would create endorsement problems.

Since Ravitch recognizes that

Bishop engages similar reasoning in the university context, but the Establishment Clause issue was not directly before the court.

he addresses the “Establishment Clause” issue in more detail

The tests that have been applied in these situations are the endorsement test, the coercion test, and the Lemon test (as combined with endorsement analysis or as a separate analysis). As will be seen, teaching ID in science classes, as opposed to philosophy or religion courses, does raise significant Establishment Clause problems, while research support for individual researchers (if any credible science department would provide it) does not. The obvious reason for this is the difference between classroom and “scholarly” contexts

In this classroom context Ravitch argues that issues of endorsement and coercion are unavoidable:

When one registers for a course in the science curriculum, one does not expect to have religious positions on creation thrust upon oneself. Once one is registered for the course, it may be hard to withdraw for any number of reasons. If the professor imposes his or her religious views on the scientific subject matter of the course or, for religious reasons, skews his or her teaching so as to create a false impression that a generally scientific approach is invalid, there are clear problems of endorsement and coercion.

Ravitch points out that whether or not the professor believes or professes ID to be a valid scientific theory is irrelevant.

If the professor is teaching ID as a valid theory and one looks to the professor’s purpose, there would be a strong case that the professor’s purpose is to endorse religion. The professor would be teaching, as valid, a religious theory that is not scientific, and any argument that doing so promotes secular pedagogical purposes in a science classroom is inadequate once ID material is taught as science. If anything, teaching ID as a valid scientific theory in a science classroom would go against secular pedagogical purposes.

Relying on the Edwards, Kitzmiller and Bishop ruling, Ravitch concludes

As the Edwards, Bishop, and Kitzmiller courts all note, the effect of teaching religious theories of creation in a secular science classroom is to promote or endorse religion. Using the podium of a state university science department to promote a religious theory of origins that has been rejected by the broader scientific community is an endorsement of religion. As the Bishop court explained, it could make students feel that they must “take it” or have their grades affected, and as the Kitzmiller court explained, it can create a false sense of scientific views on central issues in students who do not have a strong grounding in biology, chemistry, etc.

In this context, the ruling in Bishop is of interest

As for the University’s claim of an Establishment Clause violation by Dr. Bishop’s actions, the district court found that his conduct had a primarily secular purpose which did not amount to an establishment of religion under Lemon.

SourcePhillip A. Bishop, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Aaron M. Aronov, et al Defendants-appellants, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. - 926 F.2d 1066

In other words, when a valid secular purpose exists, then Bishop’s actions did not amount to a violation of Lemon. The logical extension is that unless ID has a valid secular purpose, which is not a sham, teaching ID may not run afoul of Lemon. However, since ID lacks as a science, which is often claimed to be the valid secular purpose, it cannot avoid the Lemon violation.

Luskin spends quite some effort ‘indicting’ science proponents for holding religious beliefs but ends undermining his efforts when he states

Luskin wrote:

I do not raise these examples to argue that one cannot accept evolution and religion or to argue that neo-Darwinism is not science. And I should note that these anti-religious advocates of evolution have every right to hold their anti-religious beliefs and motives. But these examples expose the intense hypocrisy and failure of Ravitch’s harping upon the alleged religious motives of ID proponents. If Ravitch wants to argue that the religious motives of ID proponents make it unfit for the college classroom, he should consider what would happen if a fair court scrutinized the anti-religious motives of many leading neo-Darwinists.

Is Ravitch guilty of of hypocrisy? Only if Luskin’s logic holds and Luskin already has provided the answer which is that it is not just the religious belief but a valid secular purpose, which differentiates Neo-Darwinism from Intelligent Design. Ravitch is actually quite clear on this.

Quote 3

Luskin wrote:

Ravitch doesn’t just want ID out of the classroom. He wants scientists who actively research ID out of tenured positions in the university entirely:

Does Ravitch actually want scientists who hold a tenured position to be removed? Again the paper paints a different picture

Ravitch wrote:

It is one thing to deny merit increases and research support to a faculty member because his or her ID research is essentially useless to a department, but it is quite another to revoke a faculty member’s tenure because he or she is engaged in “junk theory” outside of his or her teaching and service. Unless a department is willing to revoke tenure for all non-productive researchers, it seems problematic to revoke tenure because of what is essentially an outside hobby (since it would not count as scholarship).

Not surprisingly Luskin continues to provide as an example “Guillermo Gonzalez” who

Thus, Ravitch’s argument begs the question: What would happen if an untenured pro-ID scientist at a state university produced solid pro-ID research and also published sufficient numbers of peer-reviewed scientific papers supporting ID that would otherwise normally warrant tenure?

To answer this question, consider the case of Guillermo Gonzalez. Gonzalez was an untenured assistant professor of astronomy at Iowa State University (ISU) who happened to be pro-ID, and his support for ID played a major role in his denial of tenure last year.

Now compare this with Ravitch’s arguments

Ravitch wrote:

The credit issue is even easier to deal with. Science departments, like other departments, need not support or reward research that does not meet the basic criteria set for such support or reward. If an ID researcher cannot place work in accepted peer review journals, get grants from (scientifically) credible granting institutions, and/or get favorable peer review from scientists, there is no duty to support the work. It is not science. One would not expect science departments to have to fund research on ufology, why the Earth is flat, or why the Earth is the center of the universe. The same is true for ID research.

For people who want to learn both sides of this issue, I refer them to the Wikipedia entry.