…we’ll deny tenure to anyone who wants to pursue the ideas, or develop them to the point where they can make predictions.
If that sounds like a Catch-22, it is. Iowa State University Professor of Physics John Hauptman explains his No vote on Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure decision as a simple matter: intelligent design isn’t science. Hauptman liked Gonzalez as a colleague:
He is very creative, intelligent and knowledgeable, highly productive scientifically and an excellent teacher. Students in my Newspaper Physics class like to interview him.
None of that counts, however, as Hauptman sees it. Rather what counts is the definition of “science.” Intelligent design, which Hauptman compares to the ancients attributing the growth of grain to the god Ceres, just isn’t science:
Intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement. Its proponents can call it anything they like, but it is not science.
That’s the bottom line. Or, perhaps more precisely, that’s the closed circle: science is applied naturalism; if you challenge naturalism, you’re not a scientist; and those who are not scientists do not deserve tenure in academic departments of science. Simple as that.
Guillermo is tough, very bright and creative, and determined: he’ll land on his feet elsewhere and go on to a distinguished career in science. Why? Because the scientific community has more curious and independent-minded people in it, who admire courage and new ideas, than those who let philosophically convenient Catch-22s do their thinking for them.