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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breaking, breaking: University of Kentucky Pays “potentially evangelical” astronomer $100, 000 settlement


University of Kentucky Pays $100,000+ to Settle Gaskell Discrimination Lawsuit

According to news articles, the University of Kentucky (UK) has settled the discrimination lawsuit filed against it by Martin Gaskell, an astronomer who was denied a job due to his perceived doubts about neo-Darwinian evolution. The case was scheduled to go to trial on February 8th, but today counsel for both sides filed a joint motion to dismiss the case pursuant to the settlement. According to the Associated Press:

The university has agreed to pay $125,000 to Martin Gaskell in exchange for Gaskell dropping a federal religious discrimination suit. Gaskell claimed he was passed over to be director of UK's MacAdam Student Observatory in 2007 because of his religion and statements that were perceived to be critical of evolution.

Court exhibits showed Gaskell was a top candidate, but some professors called him "something close to a creationist" and "potentially evangelical" in e-mails.

Gaskell was represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which said:

"The standard of suspicion -- rightly described as a 'McCarthyism of the Left' by one UK professor -- applied by some to Gaskell because of his religious writings and statements should have no place in universities of all places," Manion added. "The ease with which some of the people involved in this process were willing to tar Gaskell with the labels of 'scientific creationist,' 'evolution-basher,' and other pejoratives based on half-remembered hearsay and extremely selective reading of his non-professional writings was truly disturbing to witness. We can only hope that this case will send a message throughout academia that religious intolerance is just as unlawful as other forms of prejudice and bias."
For more, go here.

Interesting: In general, the astronomers haven’t done too badly out of the Darwin troll attacks. Guillermo Gonzalez got a new observatory and Martin Gaskell got a nice (unintended) ssendoff.

Will the University of Kentucky be adding the cost of Darwin troll maintenance to their budget soon?

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