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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Columnist and lawyer Ken Connor weighs in on Gonzalez tenure case

Here's columnist Ken Connor on the Gonzalez tenure denial:
It seems that many scientists and academicians who hold views contrary to Dr. Gonzalez have concluded that the best way to avoid debate about the evidence for intelligent design is to simply deny jobs to those who will not affirm their atheistic worldview. The fact that these scientists, who are supposedly open to following the evidence wherever it leads, have resorted to blatant discrimination to avoid having this conversation speaks volumes about the weakness of their position. They realize their arguments are not sufficient to defeat the intelligent design movement and they must, therefore, shut their opponents out of the conversation. All the evidence suggests that it is unjust that Dr. Gonzalez was denied tenure and that this ruling should be overturned on appeal. Nevertheless, what happened to Dr. Gonzalez is a reflection of the growing strength of the intelligent design movement, not its weakness.

My sense is that he is right about Gonzalez' tenure denial demonstrating strength, not weakness. The one thing that the materialist CANNOT abide right now is a frank assessment of the evidence.

Connor's byline describes him as
Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC and a nationally recognized trial lawyer who represented Governor Jeb Bush in the Terri Schiavo case.

Other Gonzalez case news:

Chuck Colson's team weighs in on "a career-killing theory", recalling the similar cases of Carolyn Crocker and Rick Sternberg:
Gonzalez is not being discriminated against for teaching intelligent design, but simply for believing it. He says he never even taught intelligent design in the classroom. His work on intelligent design has been extracurricular.
I’m appalled by the way the scientific and academic community blatantly discriminates against those who suggest that the universe may be something more than the product of chance. Iowa State’s decision is a blatant assault on academic freedom. It is ideological discrimination of the worst kind—something we would not expect in a free society or tolerate in academic institutions that claim to pursue truth.

Here's some information on Gonzalez's citation record, by science Ted Davis, not a fan of intelligent design. Davis is part of the "ASA List" which, heaven knows, I have flayed often enough in the past for playing "political church" while the right of anyone to question materialism in academic life is slowly being eroded. However, the Gonzalez case seems to have scared some of them smart - it's like, so blatant, so obvious, and so public now that only a useful idiot, fellow traveller, or materialist agent could doubt that a serious problem exists. Scroll through the comments I linked, for most interesting reading along those lines.

At Uncommon Descent, Bill Dembski points out an instance where Hector Avalos, an atheist religion prof who is Gonzalez's nemesis, appears to have coyly inflated a member magazine article into a journal article on astronomy. Raises some interesting questions. In the combox, at #15, Dembski notes,
A hundred years from now Gonzalez’s ideas about our place in the cosmos being designed to facilitate scientific discovery will be remembered. Avalos, on the other hand, will be seen as a crank flailing to find justifications for why the evidence of design in the universe is nothing of the sort. A key point to bear in mind: If Avalos is getting promoted for undercutting ID (in popular venues at that), and if ISU denies Gonzalez tenure because of his support of ID, then ISU has not only made up its mind about ID but also undercut academic freedom on this topic.

Well yes, Bill, but that's why the materialists must get rid of Gonzalez in the short term. To them, the short term is all that matters. If Avalos now has tenure, he can use his position more effectively to destroy the careers of any non-materialists. Anyway, at Comment #44, Dembski replies to Avalos's justifications, focusing on the main question we now want to know the answer to:
To Hector Avalos: I’m happy to concede whatever other designations the periodical MERCURY may have. The larger issue is that it is a popular periodical and you cite your piece in it as though it had some leverage against Guillermo Gonzalez and his scholarship. This is patently absurd. Gonzalez is a professional in astrophysics as well as in its larger metaphysical implications. You are an amateur in both. Moreover, the question of just what it took for you to gain tenure at ISU remains. Was your MERCURY piece one of the things you cited as evidence that you should receive tenure? Please answer the question (the timing is right since you were an assistant professor when the piece came out). Was it in fact counted in your favor? If so, why shouldn’t Gonzalez’s PRIVILEGED PLANET count likewise in favor of his tenure? Or do you know in advance (on what grounds? scientific? ideological? philosophical? …) that he’s full of it and you’re not.

This is one combox worth reading!, especially further down where our stalwart contributors start doing the "thang" that brought down Dan Rather - uncovering information that was actually available that no one had bothered to dig out before ...

Meanwhile, a friend draws my attention to some interesting opinions by religion prof Avalos:

Cutting violent passages out of Scripture. That reminds me of Bowdler, the English scholmaster who sought to protect the boys by cutting the bawdy passages out of Shakespeare, and gave us the word "bowdlerize" inconsequence.

Of course, Avalos is entitled to his opinions - on some of which I may well dine out, so I certainly don't want the little crank suppressed on that account. Besides, the Bible always changes more lives when people try to suppress it.

But people like Avalos, probably a maverick in his field, always end up outgrowing their ass hats, and then one must really do something.

My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

NEW!! Evolution in the light of intelligent design - look up intelligent design topics here.

Animations of life inside the cell, indexed, for your convenience.

Anti-God crusade ... no, really! My recent series on the spate of anti-God books, teen blasphemy challenge, et cetera, and the mounting anxiety of materialist atheists that lies behind it.

Catholic Church A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

Collins, Francis My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God

Columnists weigh in on the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

Darwinism dissent Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin

Gilder, George A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

Intelligent design academic publications.

Intelligent design-friendly students should be flunked, according to bio prof Evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Intelligent design controversy My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

Intelligent design controversy timeline An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Intelligent design and culture My review of sci-fi great Rob Sawyer’s novel, The Calculating God , which addresses the concept of intelligent design.

March of the Penguins A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

Origin of life Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.

Peer review My backgrounder about peer review issues.

Polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

Stove, David O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

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