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Iowa State Daily on Gonzalez tenure emails


Organization attacks ruling to deny tenure

E-mails suggest Gonzalez’s beliefs affected decision

Kyle Miller and Ross Boettcher

“Issue date: 12/4/07  The Discovery Institute, a pro-intelligent design organization, released portions of e-mails of ISU professors and administrators “conspiring” to deny tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez, associate professor of physics and astronomy, in a press conference in Des Moines on Monday.

Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs for the Discovery Institute, said “thousands of pages of e-mails” obtained through an Iowa Open Records request from earlier this year hold statements pointing out a possible “hostile work environment” at Iowa State. Luskin said it points to a conspiracy to deny tenure to a “deserving professor” involving not only Iowa State but the Board of Regents as well, who have decided not to use e-mail evidence in its upcoming decision on whether to grant tenure. State Sen. David Hartsuch, R-Bettendorf, was on hand to speak about academic freedom in institutions of higher learning in Iowa. . . .” continued at: Full Article HTML 
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Is there any legal recourse to get the uncensored versions? If ISU is legally obligated to provide the e-mails, how is it that they can legally censor their content? Doesn’t this completely defeat the whole purpose of the freedom of information principle?
Gil: I asked my wife, who practiced law for 10 years, about this. She said (unofficially) that if the law required the disclosure of the emails, but the university redacted several sections because, for example, they're confidential personnel matters, then a judge would have to view the censored portions to make sure they're legitimately off-limits. If they're just incriminating to ISU, then the judge would order the blanked-out sections restored. russ
“Here is an undeniable, scientific fact: Absolutely everything that exists is material and natural, period. Ideas, time, truth - all of these things are made out of atoms or quanta, . . .” Statements like this, which are often repeated by otherwise sensible academics, are evidence that most of our brightest people are not liberally educated. Consider just what this statement implies normatively: one is obligated to believe the truth. But that normative claim is not empirical; and yet, it seems undeniably true. Consider another: the number 3 exists and I can know it. Now there are those who deny the ontological status of numbers. They may be correct. But it is certainly not the case that their is view undeniable, that somehow a logical contradiction is entailed by affirming that one can know immaterial entities like numbers, the principles of logic, or even relationships between propositions and the world. Consider yet another example: ID advocates are dishonest. This is something often asserted on assorted blogs. And yet, the premise beneath this claim, that gives us warrant to believe it--one ought not to be dishonest--is a non-empirical normative claim that implies a certain end or purpose to human character, precisely the sort of telos that we are told by non-theistic materialists cannot be known or proven. And yet, the charge of dishonesty, and its implied wrongness, depends entirely on that understanding, that is apparently known. At some point those who persist in uttering these moral declarations--without any awareness of their inconsistency with their public project--have to rely on something far more stable than just the fact that their equally uninformed peers let them get away with it. How ironic: the worshippers of "reason" become the followers of Rorty. francisbeckwith
I still don’t understand why those people saved those incriminating emails. Anyone have an answer?
They were probably stored on the university server. Bob Bob O'H
Whoa- released emails? Pie is on someones' faces... This evidence is damning. bork
nullasalus Thanks for clarifying. I missed the satire/irony. Straightforward statements would help when quickly reading arguments. DLH
DLH, I don't really believe "all that exists is material and natural", certainly not that ideas, time, and truth are all made out of atoms and quanta. I was just frustrated with the argument 'style' of a couple people who seem to no longer be with us. But I won't rehash their posts. But no, I'm definitely not on the side of philosophical naturalists. And I personally think the idea of time, ideas, and truth being 'made out of atoms or quanta' is pretty ridiculous itself. Just wanted to clear that up. nullasalus
"Here is an undeniable, scientific fact: Absolutely everything that exists is material and natural, period. Ideas, time, truth - all of these things are made out of atoms or quanta, . . ."
You commit the logical fallacy of claiming to prove a negative from incomplete knowledge. Without comprehensive knowledge of all the universe over all time, your assertion is vacuous. You are only declaring your presupposition of philosophical naturalism. DLH
Casey, were you misquoted:
"He has stellar reputation as cosmologist and astrologer. Why wouldn't you want a great scientist like that on your staff?" Luskin said.
Would this be intentional? A Freudian slip? bFast
aardpig wrote: And to Casey Luskin: Sir, would you fault a geography department for declining to give tenure to someone who adheres to a flat-earth system?” I really enjoyed your comments in the other thread related to tenure, and I was in full agreement with you on that. Your comments were quite good. These latest comments almost seem to appear like you now are baiting WmD to ban you. The above quote is nothing more than stupidity. Based on your insightful comments on tenure, I should think you know better than that. Also, the venomous spewing in a few of your posts are so unlike what I read in the other thread. Were you just trying to be on your best behavior, and is your normal state of emotion that of an insulting jackass? I'm really disappointed in your flat-earth argument. It really shows your ignorance. Two things on this: 1. I can take a plane or sail a boat around the world and discover that the earth is round. I could send a satellite up into space and also prove it. And, if I had no technology at all, I could watch my friend sail over the horizon and magically return. That would pretty much prove the Earth is not flat. Then, I could use proven mathematical models from geodesy to prove that the Earth is round. To attempt to place NDE on the same level as those tests, is incredible. Even SJ Gould and Dawkins would argue about NDE mechanisms. Was Gould a nut job? If not, then how could he ever disagree with Dawkins... 2. before Christ, virtually everyone knew that the Earth was round. In fact, Eratasthones calculated the actual size of the Earth in 500BC, using the principles of trigonometry. Therefore, for you to try and tie NDE to round vs. flat Earth is absolute stupidity. The tie-in of flat earth to ID is sad, and really causes me to question your judgement on any analysis you might make. Heck, I even checked the spelling of aardpig because I could not believe that the same person who had such good insights on the tenure situation could be so ignorant to use one of the cheesiest arguments out there. But, sadly, it is the same person. I guess it shows that even bright people can be so overcome with blinded hatred of religion that they will buy into the most juvenile arguments that has ever been brought into the debate. I hope you stick around. I also hope you come to your senses and return to the rational aardpig we saw previously. ajl
aardpig, you said "simply those who cannot come to terms with the success of science in illuminating the beautiful universe around us." That is a incredibly arrogant and condescending statement. There are many of us here who are voracious readers of science and its history and marvel at its success and those that have practiced in the field. We find those who are anti ID are nearly always ignorant or what ID means or stands for. For purposes of debate I hope you stay here but over the years I have seen those who oppose ID usually disassemble in some obvious way, usually in name calling or discussing completely irrelevant items. I have never seen an anti-ID person win an argument against the basic ID positions though we often learn from those who don't agree with ID on a lot of scientific issues. If you think you can refute the basic ID position, I hope you stay around and try. jerry
aardpig wrote: "I place you in the latter category, and will light a candle tonight in the hope that one day, perhaps, you will emerge from your cave of willful ignorance and enjoy the true splendors of the world." I can't help but wonder what the naturalist explanation is for how one person lighting a candle has some influence on another person "emerging from their cave of willful ignorance" etc. Sounds like superstition to me. TRoutMac
Again, let me stress again, as the guillotine hangs suspended: if and when aardpig is gone, it would reflect better on this blog's integrity to keep rather than purge his comments. getawitness
aardpig states that supporters of ID "...cannot come to terms with the success of science in illuminating the beautiful universe around us." I beg to differ. Science cannot illuminate the beauty of anything. Beauty is a subjective quality, which science cannot speak to. Scientists can explore nature and may find beauty in what they are studying. However, modern naturalistic science is incapable of dealing with the concept of beauty. Materialists cannot explain beauty. DrDan
What draws me to ID is the absolute failure of NDE in explaining the diversity and origin of life on this planet. Aardpig, if for you all of the discussion on UD boils down to religious fanaticism or willful ignorance, then you, sir, are the one living in a cave. ID proponents accept all of the science that everyone knows to be true. What they don't accept is the "science" that materialists faithfully assume must be true. What do you know? What do you assume? There is a difference. vrf
aardpig, its venimous comments like those spewed in post 18 that get you booted. Try being reasonable and actually saying something with substance, which doesnt' actually have to agree with the ID philosophy DrDan
When public schools and the secular (tax funded) community only funds researchers that have a naturalistic interpretation of the evidence with stolen tax dollars while not funding all opposing researchers and when they only introduce one side of the evidence to students with stolen tax dollars while censoring all other sides, what have they got to hide? Why introduce one side of the issue (that which is consistent with materialism) while censoring all opposing views? That's not science, science welcomes criticism and opposing views. When the secular community brainwashes students with naturalism with stolen tax dollars while censoring all opposing views they are being anti - scientific. UCD and other naturalistic philosophies are anti - scientific because they steal tax dollars for funding while censoring all criticism and opposing views, something that science would never welcome. Bettawrekonize
Could we avoid purging all the comments by a poster when that poster is banned? First, sometimes (as with Carl Sachs) that poster has said good things in the past. Some of aardpig's early comments are substantial if disputable. Second, even the silly and stupid comments should remain in the record as justification for the later banning. Removing comments that have been posted distorts history and makes it impossible for a reader who comes along later to figure out what happened. getawitness
vrf (11) — I, too, would like to see the emails. Why have they been censored? What is UD trying to hide?
Maybe they don't want us to be overwhelmed by irrelevant comments like the following.
And to Casey Luskin: Sir, would you fault a geography department for declining to give tenure to someone who adheres to a flat-earth system?
Seriously, the only thing dumber than the belief in a flat earth is the belief that the universe and life is the result of unguided naturalistic processes. Now, if any darwinists or naturalists have any serious and relevant arguments/comments about the OP then feel free to post and we will respond accordingly. If this is the best you can do then you pretty much admit defeat, Gonzalez was denied tenure because he advocates ID and that's evidence that UCD and other naturalistic philosophies can't stand up to scrutiny because if they could then the secular community would not need to resort to such dishonest tactics to brainwash people with naturalism/materialism at the expense of taxpayers and truth. Bettawrekonize
Bugsy and digdug are gone, I gather (not my doing), and aardpig will soon be too, as a matter of fact. It was expected that people anxious to paper over the scandal would post here to detract Gonzalez by associating him with nonsense. This is a case where the perpetrators of systems intended to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint have - so far as I can see - been caught redhanded. So the spin, spin, spin begins - and it won't end any time soon. Except here. O'Leary
aardpig wrote: "And to Casey Luskin: Sir, would you fault a geography department for declining to give tenure to someone who adheres to a flat-earth system?" How 'bout this one, arrdpig: Would you fault an archaeology department for declining to give tenure to someone who claimed that the Rosetta Stone is a product of blind, natural processes? TRoutMac
Isn't it wrong to keep misrepresenting Gonzalez's qualifications in presenting his case? The DI keeps quoting figures that count work he did under other departments and leaders, which is academically a very very different thing than running a section of your own department and seeing how you do. For a tenure decision, the only really relevant part of his career are what he did at ISU, and what they would expect he would do for the school in the future. The fact is, he brought in almost no grant money, published far far below what he had in the past and very few significant papers, and got only (as of now) a single grad student through to their dissertation. That's, objectively, just not a very good record at all. That doesn't say to a school "here is a guy that, when given the chance to work under his own power, can make things happen." As I blogged, there's another big problem here. If you want to convince people that ID is good science, then you can't immediately scream viewpoint discrimination every time someone criticizes ID without at least making some effort to get into the particulars of the claims and why they are or aren't legitimate. Like it or not, real scientific ideas get criticized and smacked down and declared worthless all the time. If a scientist finds someone's arguments vacuous, as one did in the case of Gonzalez, and then ID supporters immediately declare that this criticism is illegitimate, then this pretty much advances the point that to those supporters this is an issue of demanding respect for religious beliefs, not a scientific issue. Scientific ideas aren't due politeness. The DI and the producers of Expelled seem to be taking the tack that it's simply not even worth mentioning, let alone considering, the possibility that any supporter of ID could do wrong, make bad arguments, or engage in misconduct. That's a position that's very tempting for PR purposes, but is intellectually very sketchy. Bad
Regarding my comment above -- by 'emails', I mean the posts by Bugsy and digdug24. aardpig
Once again, I'm left wondering what all these comments are responding to... Can we somehow see the orginial comment? vrf
Casey, I noted that much of the text in some of those e-mails was blacked out. Is there any legal recourse to get the uncensored versions? If ISU is legally obligated to provide the e-mails, how is it that they can legally censor their content? Doesn't this completely defeat the whole purpose of the freedom of information principle? GilDodgen
Thank you, Casey. I just don't get where those guys were coming from. No one in this day and age with even a passing interest in science would give much credence to Bigfoot. Do they think they were being clever or something? Good riddance to bad rubbish and if that is uncivil of me, I'll understand if you want to edit it out of this comment. poachy
I still don’t understand why those people saved those incriminating emails. Anyone have an answer?
Why did GG's department head declare that ID is not falsifiable even as famous people like Ken Miller at Brown were loudly delivering falsification arguments against it? They're so smug and arrogant that they do no homework or research on the issue or their opponents. I guess this is what happens when you only ever have to engage like-minded academics---selected for their idiological conformity---and uncritical students who just want to graduate. russ
I still don't understand why those people saved those incriminating emails. Anyone have an answer? Larry Fafarman
The evidence released yesterday shows undeniable evidence that Dr. Gonzalez faced a hostile work environment and was denied academic freedom becuase he supports intelligent design. Regardless of whether you agree with ID, open minded people should be abhorred at what took place at ISU. Bugsy and Digdug24 provide us with excellent examples of how Darwinists cope with evidence of their academic intolerance towards ID: they change the subject and make comments about angels and cryptozoology, etc. To see a discussion of the issue of ID and the identity of the designer, see http://www.discovery.org/a/4306. Casey Luskin
Frankly, Bugsy, I'm tired of hearing all these baseless criticisms of "materialism". Here is an undeniable, scientific fact: Absolutely everything that exists is material and natural, period. Ideas, time, truth - all of these things are made out of atoms or quanta, and it's only a matter of time until we find chromatons in the lab. And intelligent design? I have news for you people: Absolutely nothing in nature is designed, period. Since everything can be explained by an entirely natural, mundane process - brains included - that means that there's no need for this "design" concept at all. Blog comments, airplanes, cities - all of these things are the result of chemical interactions, nothing more. Read your Dennett, people! (Lesson here being: Anyone can spit out caricatures and gimmicks, Bugsy. It's cute, but not exactly informative.) nullasalus
Here are the points for and against Gonzalez in my humble opinion : 1) Gonzalez's belief in ID should be a NON-FACTOR in determining whether or not to grant him tenure. If he can prove that it IS the decisive factor, then he would have a case. The fact of the matter is this -- Gonzalez's PUBLISHED and PEER REVIEWED work, including those cited by his peers have little to do with his personal belief in Intellient Design. 2) If Gonzalez's RESEARCH WORK were the sole criteria for granting tenure, then ISU's case is weak. By all criteria -- citation counts, published work, etc. Gonzalez's body of work EXCEEDS even the professors in the committee reviewing his tenure application. Now here is where Gonzalez's appeal starts to weaken. TWO ISSUES : A) ABILITY TO GENERATE RESEARCH GRANT MONEY. B) NUMBER OF GRADUATED STUDENTS SUPERVISED. Someone mentioned in another Gonzalez related thread that the amount of research grant money he generated was a pittance compared to the $1.3 Million on average his co-faculty were able to generate. Like it or not, MONEY TALKS and Money buys prestige, equipment, salaries, etc. If Gonzalez is unable to generate research grant money, he becomes an economic liability. So, it has nothing to do with his work. It has to do with his work's attractiveness to sources of funding. Grant Money of course relates to Graduate Students supervised. If you don't have the money, it goes without saying that you can't attract students who want to work under your supervision. Any refutations of my analysis to show where I am wrong are welcome of course. SeekAndFind
"What gives you the audacity to say that God definitely did not have a hand in creating such stunning complexity we see in life?" Somewhere I got the idea that ID did not invoke religious explanations, or specify any identity associated with the design. Was this wrong, or has it changed? MacT
Bugsy and Digdug, For you guys to belittle the ID hypothesis by trying to equate it with bigfoot and the study of Angels, in the face of such outstanding and mind boggling complexity that science is finding in molecular biology, is just plain wrong and blatantly biased as far as the pursuit of science is concerned. What gives you the audacity to say that God definitely did not have a hand in creating such stunning complexity we see in life? What gives you the audacity to think that science is not allowed to investigate if and how God may have created this stunning complexity, especially in the face of Darwinism's bankruptcy to produce ANY conclusive evidence. This following statement is very fitting for the ID/evolution controversy: No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. Albert Einstein So prove us wrong and demonstrate evolution empirically and be done with us heretics! Are you going to say we can't investigate how God may have created life because it is considered supernatural? Well I guess scientists should just stop all research into quantum mechanics right now, because this supernatural stuff is just a bunch of bologna in your eyes. It was commonly presumed by the materialistic philosophy that scientists would find a solid object in the atom somewhere. What scientists actually uncovered is a lot stranger than they had imagined prior to investigation. "Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum mechanics cannot possibly have understood it." Niels Bohr Though quantum mechanics applies to all sub-atomic waves/particles; protons, neutrons, electrons and photons (Richard P. Feynman), Let's look at some of the specific quantum mechanics of just the electron; The Electron; :performs something called a quantum leap, which means it disappears from one spot; then, instantaneously appears at another spot without traversing the space in between. :sometimes "blinks off" which means, for a short time, it just disappears before reappearing. :has actually never been seen; only the effects of an electron have been witnessed. :circles the nucleus of the atom billions of times in a millionth of a second; giving the atom the "appearance" of being solid. :acts like a particle sometimes; sometimes, like a wave, depending on how we look at it. The electron also acts like it knows how we were going to look at it before we actually look at it. :absolutely refuses to act like a solid particle; the best scientists can do for us is give us the likelihood that an electron will be in a certain place at a certain time; for you see, on the quantum level of the electron, anything is possible; but nothing is certain, as far as location is concerned. :has been proven by quantum non-locality to have the ability to instantaneously communicate its state of being anywhere in the universe. This ability defies the speed of light and also gives scientists the spooky impression that the electron may somehow be aware of everything that is going on everywhere in the universe. Mark 10:27 “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” These actions of one of the most foundational “material” building block of the atom, the electron, as well as the actions of all the other sub-atomic building blocks studied, should be very surprising to most everyone. What is very surprising about these characteristics is that they are defying our basic notion that there should be a solid, indestructible “material” building block in the atom, somewhere. Solid “material” objects simply do not disappear, then reappear; neither do they instantaneously move from one spot to another spot, not to mention instantaneous communication everywhere in the universe. Most people, from grade school forward, are aware that atoms are comprised mostly of empty space; yet, to find that there are no truly solid objects anywhere in the atom, obeying the three-dimensional constraints that we are subject to is a bit of an eye-opener, to say the least. Since only "material" objects which have their basis in a higher dimension can transcend boundaries imposed on objects of a lower dimension, This is obvious and compelling proof that the electron, as well as all other atomic “particles”, have their basis in a higher dimension; so they are able to seemingly “miraculously” transcend the three-dimensional constraints we are subject to. "Atoms are not things", Werner Heisenberg, author of the “Uncertainty Principle in Quantum Mechanics” It is now apparent the electron is far more than just a simple point particle. The "solid" physical reality of the electron is obviously based on transcendent principles we only naturally associate with the higher dimension of the invisible spiritual realm. The electron is capable of many things, that are clearly, not possible for a simple “solid” point particles. Thus, this hard scientific evidence offers very compelling and very logical proof that what we refer to as the spiritual realm (higher dimension) is, indeed, the ultimate source of our physical “material” reality. So Bugsy and Digdug do you think quantum mechanics is "bigfoot" research? bornagain77
Whoops, cut and pasted wrong. Oh well, you get the picture. angryoldfatman
digdug and Bugsy, I'm glad you see why Gonzalez had to be denied. He did not believe in the orthodoxy, so he definitely couldn't be asked to teach it. How could he possibly teach something as unscientific as ID? ID is not science, because there's been no research done on it, and anybody that researches it is not doing science because ID is not science because there's been no research done on it, because there's been no research done on it, and anybody that researches it is not doing science because ID is not science because there's been no research done on it, because there's been no research done on it, and anybody that researches it is not doing science because ID is not science because there's been no research done on it... angryoldfatman
According to one of the e-mails, Eli Rosenberg, professor and chairman of astronomy, said Gonzalez's belief in intelligent design "disqualifies him from serving as a science educator."
I guess Professor of Religion, Hector Avalos---who led a petition drive to isolate GG and repudiate ID---got tenured before their was a "beliefs test" for tenure. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/05/iowa_state_promotes_atheist_pr.html
Avalos's promotion to full professor comes just in time for the publication of his new book on the Bible later this month. According to the publisher's description, Avalos argues in the book --------- that our world is best served by leaving the Bible as a relic of an ancient civilization instead of the "living" document most religionist scholars believe it should be. He urges his colleagues to concentrate on educating the broader society to recognize the irrelevance and even violent effects of the Bible in modern life. ------ Just how extreme Avalos's view of the Bible is can be seen in his previous book, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (2005), in which he repeatedly equates the Bible with Hitler's Mein Kampf. Indeed, in a section of the book titled "Scripture: A Zero-Tolerance Argument," Avalos actually suggests that the Bible is worse than Mein Kampf: --------- In fact, Mein Kampf does not contain a single explicit command for genocide equivalent to those found in the Hebrew Bible... Thus, if all of Mein Kampf is to be rejected simply for its implied genocidal policies, we should certainly reject all of the Bible for some of its explicit and blatant genocidal policies. [p. 363] --------- At other points, Avalos appears to blame Jewish people for Hitler's attempt to exterminate them, locating the origins of the Holocaust in what he calls "Hebrew racism." Consider the following passages: ------- "The purpose here is to show that the Nazi policy of genocide was based on premises quite similar to those in the Hebrew Bible." [p. 316] -------- "the Nazi Holocaust represents the synthesis of attitudes found in both the New Testament and the Hebrew scriptures." [p. 318] --------- "[Scholars Katz and Wolpoff] fail to see the parallels between certain practices promulgated in the Hebrew Bible itself. Indeed, the supreme irony of the Holocaust is that the genocidal policies first systematically enunciated in the Hebrew scriptures were reversed by the Nazis. Nazi ideology simply had better technology to do what biblical authors had said they would do to their enemies." [pp. 318-319] -------- "Hitler saw himself as trying to counteract Hebrew racism, which he saw as the main counterpart and enemy of the German race." [p. 319]
What belief could possibly be out of bounds for a professor of religion if not the above? russ
From the full article: "Dr. Gonzalez is not teaching intelligent design in classes. The majority of his research is based on astronomy and cosmology. He has stellar reputation as cosmologist and astrologer. Why wouldn't you want a great scientist like that on your staff?" Luskin said. A "stellar reputation as" . . . an astrologer? MacT

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