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Sealing the deal

Cdesign propontentsist Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University last May.  The reason given was his lack of scholarly publications and failure to attract grant money.  His supporters contend that he was denied tenure because of his support for intelligent design.  They have now threatened to sue

The news conference scheduled for Monday at the Capitol will include attorneys for Gonzalez, representatives of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization that supports discussions of intelligent design in science classes, and one or more state legislators, staff of the Discovery Institute said.

Interesting to see them indentify the DI as “a Seattle-based organization that supports discussions of intelligent design in science classes“.  Actually they are so much more when it comes to ID.

“The main concern is one of academic freedom,” said Iowa Sen. David Hartsuch, a Republican from Bettendorf who said he plans to attend the news conference.

He said he thought Gonzalez was denied tenure because of his work involving intelligent design.

“We’re living in a day and age where there is nothing that is not politicized,” he added.

It’s interesting to see right-wingers standing up for intellectual freedom.  I assume that Senator Hartsuch was also a supporter of Ward Churchill, or at the very least, someone like Richard Colling?  I take it that his “nothing that is not politicized” comment is his attempt to justify his involvement? 

Reid said the Gonzalez case could turn into litigation in district court if all administrative options have been exhausted, which include appealing the tenure case to the Iowa Board of Regents in February.

That’s where things get interesting.  As Abbie advised creationists: If you have set yourself on fire, do not run.  Wesley Elsberry has a similar take on this situation

It’s one thing to shoot yourself in the foot. It’s quite another to plan to do it again. The DI can’t seem to help itself; it seems to be addicted.

He sees this as another Dover-like situation

Essentially, they will be walking into another courtroom and asking a judge to hear their arguments that “intelligent design” creationism is a legitimate scientific endeavor. I thought they had just spent the last year and eleven months castigating another judge for the temerity of actually ruling on that very issue, which they had urged him to rule upon in their amicus brief in the case.

It really does seem like a lose-lose situation for the cdesign proponentsists.  If they argue that ID is legitimate science, and that Gonzalez’s Privileged Planet book should be counted as legitimate astronomy, then they are, as Wesley suggests, asking a judge to rule on whether ID is science.  On the other hand, if they use the argument that a lot of people made back in May, that he was punished for his religious views, then it’s “game over” on ID.  (Ok, in reality it’s been “game over” since Dover).

I read their strategy a little bit differently – to me, it sounds like they are saying that Gonzalez was dismissed because he held non-mainstream opinions, that the thought police were out to get him – make it a blacklisting issue.  Are cdesign proponentsists the new communists?  That would make an interesting strategy.  Of course, in the world of academia, there’s nothing quite like suing your employer to actually get yourself on a “blacklist” of a sort.  No one wants to hire someone who sues his employer, or gets mobs on creationists to write letters complaining when you are denied tenure.

Of course, when it comes down to it, I think that the simple fact of being a cdesign proponentsist probably is reason enough to deny tenure in a science department – not because it’s a “politically incorrect” position, but rather, because it’s an anti-science position.  And why should you tenure someone who rejects the core mission of your department?

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One Response

  1. I read their strategy a little bit differently – to me, it sounds like they are saying that Gonzalez was dismissed because he held non-mainstream opinions, that the thought police were out to get him – make it a blacklisting issue.

    Yeah, that’s the new “viewpoint discrimination” ploy that been floated a few times. See the discussion by the Disco Institute’s legal beaglets here.

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