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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?


Intellectual freedom: The reformed Huckleberry Finn - all whine all the time, I guess

Ruben Bolling - the cartoonist who draws Tom the Dancing Bug - gives the new revised [politically correct] edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn comic book treatment. Political correctness is easier mocked than blocked, and mockery is the best strategy in the long run.

Hey, it works. People of my 60-ish generation retired the chronic “I cam from a broken home” whine, not so much because many of us also came from broken homes, but because it was a sacrosanct whine. Getting whining out of earshot was easier than getting whinemeisters out of their jobs.

Curiously: Where I grew up, the N-word was treated as a sign of low class upbringing. An "in" person knew that other people could come from different places and look different.

Hat tip: Franklin Carter at the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee


Intellectual freedom: Friends have been asking if this is the most asinine newspaper column ever written

Can you offer me a better one?

A Brit graces the world by emitting:
Free speech can't exist unchained. US politics needs the tonic of order

If America is to speak in a way that heals, as Obama wishes, it needs the curbs and regulations that make freedom of expression real.
The scary thing is that journo Simon Jenkins probably even knows who George Orwell is and what Newspeak is.

And in the new muffle-topia, he’d have which big job, I wonder?

Foreign papers please copy: Since Obama properly put an end to the blame circus, rare moments of sanity on the subject have become general.

Better  still,  It’s now apparent just who supports thought control for abetter world, precisely because they were free to say it.


Online game helps predict how RNA folds

The folding of RNA molecules is difficult to predict, because each molecule is a long string of units, or bases, that can pair up with each other in many different ways. Because of this, even the best computer algorithms do badly at predicting the shape a molecule will actually take.

A team led by computer scientist Adrien Treuille at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, turned the problem over to online gamers to crack.

- Bob Holmes, "Online game helps predict how RNA folds" Neww Scientist (13 January 2011 )
What does it mean if the gamers beat the computer, the scientists, or nobody at all?


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