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Reflections on today’s amazing revelations in the Guillermo Gonzalez case

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My recent post , two below, on the ISU revelations on Gonzalez’s tenure rejection prompts three reflections:

1. There are two separate issues regarding the rejection of Gonzalez on account of his support for intelligent design. The first is whether ISU can in fact get away with that. The faculty themselves did not seem to believe that they could get away with it, hence the second issue: This second issue – and I believe in this case the more significant one – is that ID was denied as a factor, and came to light mainly through a public records request. In other words, there was double dealing, not transparency.

2. The people in the combox who are trying to come up with reasons why Gonzalez should have been denied tenure seem to have missed the point. The decision appears to have been made in advance based on his support for intelligent design, and the process of sifting through his record looking for another excuse was just that – sifting through a record looking for another excuse. In other words, while GG was complying with whatever the process was supposed to be, another agenda was already in place and it did not matter much what his record actually said. Something would be found. That is a tainted process, all the more if the institution is supported by tax money.

3. The reason I think that the Regents had better look at all the material is that they had also better look at the cases of the other people who were denied tenure as well. Now, I am sure that those people don’t have as energetic a cheering section as Gonzalez. But why should I suppose they were not subject to the same regimen?: Make the decision in advance and frame the explanation from whatever can be found in the record to put the face of apparent honesty on the decision.

Basically, what do I know?: The decision was not apparently made when it was said to be, or for the reasons it was said to be. If I were a Regent, I would consider it irresponsible not to be deeply suspicious.

[...] on the grounds that it does not meet the criteria of scientific inquiry, not metaphysics.-MacT... angryoldfatman: At best, the jury’s out till there’s some solid evidence in support of ID. LOL! “Halt! [...] Darwinists in real time - a reflection | Uncommon Descent
At best, the jury’s out till there’s some solid evidence in support of ID.
LOL! "Halt! Who goes there?" "John Johnson. Please let me in the gate, I'm a villager here." "Nope, sorry, I can't let you past this gate unless you have proof that you're a villager." "I've been off trading village goods elsewhere. See my cart? I still have unsold village goods in it..." "That's not proof." "I'm wearing village-made clothes..." "Not good enough." "(Sigh) How do I prove that I'm a villager?" "Simple. You must be confirmed as a villager by the village elders." "But the village elders are in the village, which is past the gate!" "Yes, you are correct." "Well then how do I prove I'm a villager without going through the gate to get proof?" "Look, I don't make the village rules. Besides, you didn't sell all of the goods in your cart, so you're not productive enough to be a good villager, and we only want good villagers. Now move along." angryoldfatman
It's hard to believe scientists can be stupid enough to conspire in authenticated emails on a university network. If anyone at ISU doesn't deserve to be a "science educator" it's those morons. DaveScot
DLH: I wasn't at ISU, and certainly not on the review committee, so I don't really know how the decisions there unfolded. If you weren't there, then you probably know approximately as much as I do. I do think, however, that it's a slight stretch to place GG on a par with Galileo. At best, the jury's out till there's some solid evidence in support of ID. MacT
MacT Thanks for the practical advice. However, in this circumstance, may I recommend you review the background to the Aristotelian academicians vs Galileo. His facts and theories destroyed the foundations of their theories and their careers. They secretly conspired to eliminate him. The same process appears to have occurred at ISU. Intelligent Design if effective undermines Darwinianism and philosophic naturalism. Consequently, the decision was made to reject tenure the year before Gonzalez even applied for it. DLH
I'd like to offer an insider's perspective. I'm a tenured faculty member in a major research university. Prior to my tenure review, a few colleagues expressed concern to me privately, and probably among themselves in emails that I didn't see, that some of MY scholarly activities may not be viewed favorably when it came time for a tenure decision. What was my transgression? Wrong question. The issue was never whether my activities were inappropriate per se. The concern in my case had to do with the fact that I had set up a spin-off company to commercialize some of my research. That work did take me away from campus, and shifted the focus on that particular research away from basic research. For my colleagues, who are interested (mostly) in pursuing basic science, and being seen internationally as a department that excels at that work, my commercial activity was not seen as a solid contribution. This is parallel in some ways to what GG apparently heard from colleagues. That is not a sign of some conspiracy. On the contrary, I'd be concerned if nobody bothered to mention what they perceive as a potential block to tenure. It was meant as advice, not a threat. It certainly helped me to shift my focus. There is no formula for tenure. Each case is treated individually. In my case, my outside reviews (5 self-nominated ("friendlies") and 5 invited ("independents") all voted strongly in my favor. I note that GG did not receive unanimous support from the outside reviewers (3 of 10 against; and we cannot tell from that whether any of the positive ones were lukewarm, which is common). Those aren't votes, they are input to help the tenure review committee get an outside perspective. In most departments, anything less than strongly unanimous is the kiss of academic death. Judging by the comments on this and other threads regarding GG's tenure case, it seems clear that there is very little understanding or familiarity with the tenure process. It ain't perfect, but I don't recognize it from O'Leary's broadsides. MacT
This is getting better and better. Remember things like this next time someone says that no scientist ever brought evidence against impersonal evolution. Mats
ISU (and maybe Baylor too?) seems to be like the Dwarves in C.S. Lewis's "The Last Battle." Collin
Secret Mailing List Rocks Wikipedia: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/07/12/04/0333252.shtml Robo
Very true Jason. But the annointed seem to know how to spend money more wisely than the unwashed masses. With a teenage boy going into college soon, my advice to my son is think critically and logically. But, alas, he seems more interested in girls right now - hopefully he absorbs some advice through osmosis. pwieland
"That is a tainted process, all the more if the institution is supported by tax money." I actually think this is the most important part of the issue. Public monies are clearly being used to try to discredit an unpopular opinion. If people want to do this in private with their own money more power to them. Maybe somebody should suggest that ISU should have its tax dollars taken off it for behaving like this. Jason Rennie

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