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Martin Gaskell, The Latest Victim

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Astronomer Martin Gaskell, the latest victim of the gluttonous, one-minded, two-headed dragon known as “Evolution Promotion” and “Religious Persecution,” depending on which head one is referring to on the modern beast, has apparently been Expelled due to his critical remarks on evolution and for being “potentially evangelical.” Indeed, Mr. Gaskell was provoking both heads of this modern monster. How? By talking. You see, the beast hates words in plain language with real meaning that describe the eternal enemy called truth. The short, abrupt words with all the sense of sunlight sting its sensitive ears, which need the dark and gray smooth sounds of ambiguities and soft soap of appeasements.  This monstrosity has been spotted at several universities.  The latest sighting was in Kentucky:

No one denies that astronomer Martin Gaskell was the leading candidate for the founding director of a new observatory at the University of Kentucky in 2007 — until his writings on evolution came to light.

Gaskell had given lectures to campus religious groups around the country in which he said that while he has no problem reconciling the Bible with the theory of evolution, he believes the theory has major flaws. And he recommended students read theory critics in the intelligent-design movement.

That stance alarmed UK science professors and, the university acknowledges, played a role in the job going to another candidate.

Now a federal judge says Gaskell has a right to a jury trial over his allegation that he lost the job because he is a Christian and “potentially evangelical.”

“The record contains substantial evidence that Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position until the issue of his religion or his scientific position became an issue,” U.S. Senior District Judge Karl S. Forester of the Eastern District of Kentucky wrote late last month in rejecting the university’s motion for summary judgment, which would have dismissed the case.

Forester has set a trial date of Feb. 8 on Gaskell’s claims the university violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on job bias on the basis of religion.

UK, in a legal brief, acknowledged that concerns over Gaskell’s views on evolution played a role in the decision to chose another candidate. But it argued that this was a valid scientific concern, and that there were other factors, including a poor review from a previous supervisor and UK faculty views that he was a poor listener.

In its brief, UK said professors worried about Gaskell’s “casual blending of religion and science” and feared the then-planned MacAdam Student Observatory’s “true mission … would be thwarted by controversy that has nothing to do with astronomy.”

Gaskell’s lawsuit, however, argues UK officials repeatedly referred to his religion in their discussions and e-mails. And he argues that UK mistook him for a creationist — someone who believes the Bible disproves the theory of evolution.

I thought it necessary to tell the story here, as a whole, as I found it. The famished beast has been active for ages, roaming the earth in search of whom it may devour.

16 Replies to “Martin Gaskell, The Latest Victim

  1. 1
    uoflcard says:

    This is close to my home (hence my moniker representing UK’s rival, the University of Louisville). This does not come as a surprise to anyone following this debate. I hope Mr. Gaskell gets a fair hearing. If he lost the job to a more qualified candidate, so be it, but it doesn’t appear that is entirely the case.

  2. 2
    O'Leary says:

    uoflcard, you write, “I hope Mr. Gaskell gets a fair hearing. If he lost the job to a more qualified candidate, so be it, but it doesn’t appear that is entirely the case.”

    With respect, that is NOT the view that the law, when not corrupted, takes of the matter. If a person loses his job due to prejudice, that is the deemed cause. The presence of a more worthy candidate is irrelevant.

    Were the more worthy candidate the true cause, prejudice would be superfluous to the candidate; thus, if prejudice is exercised, the presence of the more worthy candidate is superfluous to the prejudice. It’s only fair.

    We must not sink into a mentality – common enough when prejudice is exercised – to look for some “real” reason. It calms our fears if we are vulnerable, and delivers us from responsibility if we are not.

    And it allows the victim of prejudice to know that his community is perfectly willing to pay taxes and vote to support the persecution.

    Gaskell is lucky to live in a country where he still has legal recourse (so far).

    I am curious: Why do evangelicals just go away and march for Jesus when they have a clear and present civic duty to address issues like the “potentially evangelical” tag? Shouldn’t that be a source of scandal, and loss of funding and votes?

    The rest of us cannot easily protect them from prejudices they won’t protect themselves from.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks:

    I am an evangelical.

    That — to make it utterly plain — is a public declaration of my stance on what I found to be true about the world, God Christ and the Bible on long study, not a confession of guilt, vice, hatefulness, bigotry, theocratic tyrannical intent or crime.

    That evangelical, orthodox, catholic Christian — note the small letters and the big one — stance is one I am fully prepared and willing to defend in any civil forum. (Indeed, I am currently drafting an online systematic theology course based on the Nicene Creed in its biblical, apostolic, C1 historical context. [For, evangelical Christians are going to need this in the stormy days ahead for our civlisation at the hands of the nihilistic amoral looters who have seized control of key institutions, including state universities like U of K, here.])

    It is also (on the law of nature and of its Creator-God) my sacred human right to be such an evangelical, and it is not to be censored or made the object of discrimination, abuse, persecution or exclusion from status I otherwise have a right to.

    I am also a scientist and educator.

    I am also a friend of liberty and an enemy of license, its destructive counterfeit.

    And the attempt to turn being a Bible-believing Christian — such as many of those who were in the forefront of the founding era of key sciences and equally in the forefront of the rise of modern liberty and democracy — into a dirty word, is an utter, inexcusable, Saul Alinsky slander tactics, demonising outrage.

    So, let us correct it, forthwith.

    As a first step, we must excise the corruption of our language. So, let us now go back to 1828, to pull the venom of Newspeak from our language.

    Let us hear what “prejudice” really is.

    Webster’s Dictionary, 1828:

    prejudice

    PREJ’UDICE, n. [L. prejudicium; proe and judico.]

    1. Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination. It is used in a good or bad sense. Innumerable are the prejudices of education; we are accustomed to believe what we are taught, and to receive opinions from others without examining the grounds by which they can be supported. A man has strong prejudices in favor of his country or his party, or the church in which he has been educated; and often our prejudices are unreasonable. A judge should disabuse himself of prejudice in favor of either party in a suit.

    My comfort is that their manifest prejudice to my cause will render their judgment of less authority.

    2. A previous bent or bias of mind for or against any person or thing; prepossession.

    There is an unaccountable prejudice to projectors of all kinds.

    3. Mischief; hurt; damage; injury. Violent factions are a prejudice to the authority of the sovereign.

    How plain this abuse is, and what prejudice it does to the understanding of the sacred Scriptures.

    [This is a sense of the word too well established to be condemned.]

    It is plain that Mr Gaskell was a credible candidate for the job in question, at a university in a region of the USA where certainly the bulk of the taxpayers will be of similar general Christian opinions.

    But, on uncontested evidence, on PREJUDICE, BIGOTRY, and “might- makes- right” evolutionary materialist nihilism, he was disqualified in the minds of those who held the duty of just and fair decision.

    The university should be subjected to judicial censure and further investigation to see how widespread the rot is; so the cancer can be excised.

    Those who made this particular decision should be personally made the subjects of exemplary damages and public censure. Indeed, they have forfeited the offices of trust they hold.

    But, we are in a mortally wounded gangrenous, cancerous intellectual and moral culture where the metastases of ruinous nihilism are running rife and setting up new colonies of rot all over the place.

    So I have but little confidence that justice will be done.

    But, we can take due notice of the terrible, wrecking storm ahead, and prepare to survive and then help our neighbours recover from the crash.

    GEM of TKI

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    It should be clear by now to every thinking person that the enemy of science and reason is not the Christian, regardless of whatever degree he accepts the literalness of Genesis, but the evolutionist.

    If it’s dogma it’s not science, and evolution has become a dogma else why the discrimination against those who doubt it?

    It’s akin to YEC albeit far less honest and destructive to reason. YEC is a dogma. It’s a claim that the study of scripture reveals the age of the Earth and hence is not refutable by observations of nature.

    You can certainly be a reasonable person — and even a scientist — and accept YEC just so long as you understand that your view is a matter of faith.

    What you can’t do, however, and remain reasonable is deny proved observations, or claim that you have a science-based view without the necessity of proved observations.

    You can certainly claim, however, they are incomplete, which will ALWAYS be true in the case of science, since science by definition may not have dogma, hence one can be rational and a YECer via a claim to faith.

    The evolutionist — one who insists that it must be accepted that all life came from a single ancestor solely via random genetic changes fixed by natural selection — is in almost in the same position as the YEC-believer. There is one significant difference, however. The evolutionist has no recourse to a claim of faith.

    This means that in dealings with an evolutionist the default presumption should be that one is dealing with an irrational person.

  5. 5
    Joseph says:

    This just in-

    In order for Martin Gaskell to be qualified for a position at a public university he must undergo Special High Intensity Training (S.H.!.T.).

    Only those full of S.H.!.T. are allowed to teach science or run a science program at public schools.

    Thank you, carry on…

  6. 6
    tragic mishap says:

    Why do evangelicals just go away and march for Jesus when they have a clear and present civic duty to address issues like the “potentially evangelical” tag?

    Dr. Gaskell is being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice in his lawsuit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....26_Justice

  7. 7
    Upright BiPed says:

    55 Days….and counting.

  8. 8
    avocationist says:

    The problem, though, is that while yes, this is a religious turf war (with academia being the turf of materialist scientism), when religion is unopposed it tends to suppress any dissent and is not a champion of truth. This has certainly been true in the past for Christianity before we got the separation of church and state, and it is true now in Islamic countries in which there is still a state religion. We can speak of a certain amount of religious persecution here, but part of the reason for it is that they are afraid. They are afraid of the past and they have openly admitted it. Now, they are perpetrators of the same thing.

    Truth, of course, is the casualty. When, O Mankind, will you elevate the respect for truth at all costs above your petty considerations?

  9. 9
    avocationist says:

    If scientism in general and Darwinian evolution theory in particular are indeed a religion or religion substitute, then it stands to reason that the members want to pursue their religion unopposed. In the same way, you would not want to hire for the preacher at your church someone who had real doubts about the existence of God.

    For some academics or scientists, a large part of their passion is wedded to this metaphysical worldview. The problem is, though, that academia/science is more than a religion and the findings of science are the common property of society.

    Perhaps this is one religious war which will be won, paradoxically, as science proves the existence of the spiritual realm.

  10. 10
    cat herder says:

    It is really a shame that this isn’t getting more support from the governor, who has lent critical support to the mission of AIG. But, I suppose even he is leery of the activist judges.

  11. 11
    Upright BiPed says:

    I took the time to read through Dr Gaskell’s lecture notes, and now I understand why he was thrown overboard in the hiring process.

    He is erudite, reserved, cautious, modest, and respectful – and he probably has an attractive sense of humor as well. In short, he is the academy’s worst kind of Christian.

    54 days and counting.

  12. 12
    Upright BiPed says:

    So after the Search Committee found out that Dr Gaskel EGADS! believed in God, they went off to the Provost who told them they couldn’t use Gaskell’s religious views that against him, BUT since they had his lecture notes, they could certainly peek inside and find out if his SCIENCE was faulty as his worldview.

    Well hell, they couldn’t find any bad astroscience, so what could they do. Hmmm. Dangit. They MUST find a way.

    Yes, they ran over the BIOLOGY department for a whine and squeel-fest. At which point, of course, the biology department started kicking and screaming. They pissed and moaned, and rocked back and forth in their chairs, Then they told the Search Committe if they hired this Jesus-believer then the Biology Department would NEVER work with the Astronomy Department again.

    So there!!

    – – – – –

    Geeeez.

    You pathetic materialist are just full of it. All the way up to your pointy little heads. Please do tell us again about the echo chamber we ID proponents suppossedly occupy – won’t you? Pease do tell us about the enforcement you fear should someone suggest that perhaps there is more to the cosmos than you will allow. Tell us about lack of controversy again, thats always a good one. Regail us once more with the overwhelming evidence – that which needs no protection and leaves no doubt.

    From the legal filing:

    …the email written by Troland (the Search Committee Chair) to Cavagnero (the Physics and Astronomy Department Chair) just days prior to the Search committee’s vote to recommend Knauer for the position and thereby reject Gaskell.

    The email, with the subject line “The Gaskell Affair,” states:

    “It has become clear to me that there is virtually no way Gaskell will be offered the job despite his qualifications that stand far above those of any other applicant. Other reasons will be given for this choice when we meet Tuesday. In the end, however, the real reason why we will not offer him the job is because of his religious beliefs in matters that are unrelated to astronomy or to any of the duties specified for this position. (For example, the job does not involve outreach in biology.). . . If Martin were not so superbly qualified, so breathtakingly above the other applicants in background and experience, then our decision would be much simpler. We could easily choose another applicant, and we could content ourselves with the idea that Martin’s religious beliefs played little role in our decision. However, this is not the case. As it is, no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin on any basis other than religious.

    Another Preofessor, speaking to the University Emploment Officer gathering data about the case:

    “I was part of the entire process that led to this decision. I know what observatory committee members said in meetings and privately, not just their e-mail comments. I know that the university (not your office!) chose an applicant with almost no relevant experience over one with immense experience in virtually every aspect of the observatory director’s duties. And I know that this choice was made (to a significant extent) on grounds that have nothing to do with the job as advertised nor with the job as envisioned by our Department”.

    The University of Kentucky should be absolutely ashamed of itself. Moreover, the University of Kentucky owes more to this country than to allow its employees to spit at the law in order to exercise their own little brand of intellectual hatred.

    Yes I know its completely out of fashion in the academy to actually care about such things, but still one mighy think that someone would do it anyway.

    You are an embarrassment.

  13. 13
    Robert Byers says:

    Sounds and smells like another expelled thinker from ones own nations institutions.
    No one has the right to discuss someones religious beliefs before deciding if they should get a job. Especially the religion that built the nation and elements would bitterly complain if one said one should be Christian to seek high office or this or that.
    Its all about conclusions in origins being banned. They are clearly feeling creationism has taken back its historic stance of opposing ideas against God or Genesis.

    Creationisms are common beliefs in the nation. The nation that gives substance to all these institutions.
    Saying some beliefs are illegal or should prohibit hiring is truly taking us back to the dark ages.
    However as a creationist I welcome the publicity cases like this bring.
    Couldn’t ask for a better christmas gift.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    UB:

    Excellent reporting.

    You should write this up as a serious article!

    Looks like you got a couple of smoking gun emails there in the discovery documentation.

    This is real censorship and viewpoint discrimination based suppression, Larry Tanner and San Antonio Rose.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The survey notes by Gaskell are useful and largely fair.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: What William Jennings Bryan ACTUALLY argued, back in the 1920’s, in his In His Image:

    If [[atheists and agnostics] desire to teach that there is no God and therefore no Bible and no Christ, why do they not build their own col-leges and support them? Christians do not deny to atheists the right to dispute the existence of God or to agnostics the right to declare themselves without an opinion on the subject; Christians do not deny the right of atheists and agnostics to teach their views; Chris-tians would put all on the same level. The question in dispute is whether atheists and agnostics have a right to teach irreligion in public schools — whether teachers drawing salaries from the public treasury shall be permitted to undermine belief in God, the Bible, and Christ by teaching not scientific truth but unproven and unsupported guesses which cannot be true unless the Bible is false. [[ pp. 5 – 6. Emphases added.]

    The issues are just as relevant today as they were in the 1920’s.

    Gaskell is just the latest of a growing string of the expelled, suppressed and censored by the secularists, materialists and atheists dominating decision-making positions and tyrannically abusing their powers and the public trust in taxpayer-funded educational institutions.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Recall, we are not dealing with conclusive evidence but a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism on science and science education. Ideology and indoctrination, not sound education.

    As Lewontin so inconveniently admitted in his infamous 1997 NYRB article:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Cf discussion here]

    Onlookers, observe how NONE of the evolutionary materialism advocates are here in this thread defending what has been done?

    What does this tell us?

    I think this case should be headlined as a capital example of what is going wrong.

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