Ted Davis, a historian of science who has often spoken against the ID guys, has weighed in heavily on the side of Guillermo Gonzalez in the recent tenure denial scandal:
From where I sit, the impact of Dr. AvalosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢[*] deeds is not hard to see: he poisoned the environment for Dr. Gonzalez, by undermining his academic reputation and isolating him at Iowa State*and all based on a book that is actually one of the best popular books about science in recent years. I am an expert on the history of religion and science in the United States (my current project on modern America has received significant support from the National Science Foundation), and in my opinion Dr. GonzalezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ treatment of historical topics in The Privileged Planet is far superior to the treatment of comparable topics in SaganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s famous series. His debunking of the so-called “Copernican principle,” associated with the late Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley, is an excellent corrective to the false view of Shapley, Sagan, and many other scientists that Copernicus somehow “demoted” humanity by moving us out of the center of the universe. As Dennis Danielson has shown decisively (in an ! article in American Journal of Physics and in The Book of the Cosmos), Copernicus and his followers believed no such thing, and GonzalezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ clear explanation of the details helps the record straight for many in the general public. A leading historian of astronomy, Owen Gingerich of Harvard (a former student of Shapley), justly praises Dr. Gonzalez for this in his recent book, GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Universe (Harvard University Press, 2006), itself yet one more example of a scientist offering a religious interpretation of his work to the general public.
Read more here.
I’m not completely surprised by this because Davis – whom I have accused in the past of being a mugwump* – has expressed distinct discomfort in the past with the right of people like religion prof Hector Avalos to poison the atmosphere with persecutions against working scientists like Gonzalez.
[*]Yes, Avalos is indeed the bowdlerizing little crank who wants to cut out the violent parts out of the Bible. Honest. Sigh.
And THAT guy got dozens and dozens of faculty to sign his petition against Gonzalez? Yes, it is long past time someone opened a window on American academic life ….
*A mugwump has his head on one side of the fence and his wump on the other. I withdraw the accusation. – d.