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Scientific American Conspiring Against Guillermo Gonzalez?

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SciAm Cover

Refuges for life in a hostile universe
G. Gonzales, D. Brownlee and P.D. Ward
Scientific American, October 2001, p.60-6

Et tu, Brute?

The cover story of the October 2001 issue of Scientific American was an article by Professor Gonzalez. I found a copy of the article in teaching resources at the University of Arizona.

Interestingly, the cover story isn’t mentioned on the Scientific American contents web page for this past issue. Cover stories are certainly mentioned the month before and the month after. Indeed I’d wager that no mention of the cover story in any past issues web page is a very rare thing.

It’s not like this article was panned by peers. Indeed it’s part of the syllabus in astrobiology courses like this one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

One World, Many Worlds:
Searching for Life on Earth and on Other Planets

Course Syllabus
Fall/Winter 2004-2005
Irene Porro, Ph.D.
MIT Center for Space Research

December 6, 2004
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
• How Big Is the Universe?: Activity and Discussion
• Signatures of Habitability and Life: Remote Sensing – Activity and Discussion
• How Rare is Earth-Like Life?: Activity and Discussion
Readings for this session:
Refuges for life in a hostile universe,” G. Gonzales, D. Brownlee and P.D. Ward –
Scientific American, October 2001, p.60-67

“The origins of water on Earth,” J.F. Kasting – Scientific American – New Light on the
Solar System, 2003, p. 28-33
“Migrating Planets,” R. Malhotra – Scientific American, Sept. 1999, p. 56-63
“Can interplanetary rocks carry life?” – Cosmic Horizons p. 170-175

David Rothstein, an NSF postdoc astronomy research fellow at Cornell, refers to Refuges in answer to the question Could there be life in the galaxies nearest to the Milky Way? and is even surprised enough to mention he couldn’t find it on Scientific American’s website.

For more information about the sorts of environments within a galaxy that might be hospitable to life, have a look at the article in the October 2001 issue of Scientific American entitled “Refuges for Life in a Hostile Universe” (by Guillermo Gonzalez, Donald Brownlee and Peter D. Ward). I could not find this story on the Scientific American website but I did find a PDF copy from another source.

Interestingly Scientific American does sell two of Professor Gonzalez’ books in the Science Bookstore; The Privileged Planet and Observational Astronomy. I wonder whether that’s a conspiratorial oversight or a case of money trumping principle? Speaking of oversights evidently they forgot to cull Refuges from this Scientific American Special Issue of “classic Scientific American articles” entitled Mysteries of the Milky Way.

Observational Astronomy, 2nd Edition, D. Scott Birney, Guillermo Gonzalez, David Oesper is used in astronomy courses at institutions like these; New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Manitoba, Franklin & Marshall, University of Wisconsin, University of Toronto, and others.

[...] I note that in what must be thousands of words Rennie wrote about Expelled, where he was trying to play down persecution of the expelled (he mentions Rick Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, and no others), Rennie seems to have conveniently forgotten to mention Guillermo Gonzalez. I find this interesting because Gonzalez’ work in extra-solar planetary discovery was the cover story of the October 2001 issue of Scientific American. [...] Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed–Scientific American’s Take | Uncommon Descent
I found a 2005 article about ID in the Wall Street Journal that mentions Guillermo Gonzalez (It was on the ISU Atheists website), so I sent an email to the reporter suggesting that he might want to follow up on the tenure-denial story. I included a link to the Discovery Institute story. I don't think the reporter is sympathetic to ID, but the publicity may help. russ
From Amazon, here are six books that cite Guillermo's college textbook "Observational Astronomy": A Skywatcher's Year by Jeff Kanipe Back Matter Telescopes and Techniques: An Introduction to Practical Astronomy (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) by Chris Kitchin Back Matter The Design and Construction of Large Optical Telescopes by Pierre Bely page 40 Seeing Stars: The Night Sky Through Small Telescopes (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) by Chris Kitchin Back Matter Observational Astrophysics by Robert C. Smith Back Matter Photo-guide to the Constellations: A Self-Teaching Guide to Finding Your Way Around the Heavens (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) by Chris Kitchin Back Matter russ
, they report that the astronomy department of the college that has denied him tenure actually uses the textbook [published by Cambridge] he authored!
If weren't such a sad situation for Guillermo, I'd actually laugh at the farce of what's going on a ISU. scordova
"I was looking for an excuse to expose some of Guillermo’s work and who’s using it in academia." - Dave Scott Well, here's one entity that's "using [his work] in academia": Iowa State University. Over at evolutionnews.org, they report that the astronomy department of the college that has denied him tenure actually uses the textbook he authored! russ
This Guillermo outrage is yet another reason for parents to start defunding the biased bigots in the universities. Enough arguing. Use your economic power. mike1962
Okay, so maybe nothing nefarious is afoot. I was looking for an excuse to expose some of Guillermo's work and who's using it in academia. Iowa State granted tenure to 63 of 66 applicants this year - 95%. I wonder how many of those 63 captured the cover of Scientific American? We all know this isn't about academic performance. This is about being a fellow of the Discovery Institute and the book/movie "Privileged Planet". Guillermo is getting sternberged by people who can't defend their worldview in the honest, open marketplace of ideas so they choose to defend it through dishonest politics of personal destruction. DaveScot
I suspect that zeitgeiber is correct. When I access SciAm via my university library account (which gives me full access), the article is there. The Scubaredneck The Scubaredneck
I wouldn't jump on the conspiracy bandwagon either, but it looks suspicious at first glance. I spot-checked about 10 issues, and all of them referenced the cover story. Are there other examples of issues that don't reference the cover story? dl
Perusing the other 2001 issues, the March, April, June, and August (not positive about August, though) also ignore the cover article in the contents list. And a preview of the article is on the SciAm website here, though full access requires payment. KevinWParker
I'm pretty new at scientific american, and I don't speak for the company, but given what I know about how our websitet works, I'd say that the reason the cover story doesn't appear on that page you link to is that only some articles are made free every month on the web, and for whatever reason that month they didn't choose the cover story to be one of the free articles. If you were to buy the digital issue of the magazine, the cover story would be part of it (it's the whole issue, after all). In other words, this is hardly a conspiracy. zeitgeiber

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