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Academia's Assault on Intelligent Design
Townhall ^ | May 27,2007 | Ken Connor

Posted on 05/28/2007 5:44:20 PM PDT by SirLinksalot

There is evidence for intelligent design in the universe." This does not seem like an especially radical statement; many people believe that God has revealed himself through creation. Such beliefs, however, do not conform to politically correct notions in academia, as Professor Guillermo Gonzalez is learning the hard way. An astronomer at Iowa State University, Professor Gonzalez was recently denied tenure—despite his stellar academic record—and it is increasingly clear he was rejected for one reason: He wrote a book entitled The Privileged Planet which showed that there is evidence for design in the universe.& nbsp; Dr. Gonzalez's case has truly distressing implications for academic freedom in colleges and universities across the country, especially in science departments.

Dr. Gonzalez, who fled from Cuba to America as a child, earned his PhD in astronomy from the University of Washington. By academic standards, Dr. Gonzalez has had a remarkable career. Though still a young man, he has already authored sixty-eight peer-reviewed scientific papers. These papers have been featured in some of the world's most respected scientific journals, including Science and Nature. Dr. Gonzalez has also co-authored a college-level text book entitled Observational Astronomy, which was published by Cambridge Press.

According to the written requirements for tenure at the Iowa State University, a prospective candidate is required to have published at least fifteen peer-reviewed scientific papers. With sixty-eight papers to his name, Dr. Gonzalez has already exceeded that requirement by 350%. Ninety-one percent of professors who applied for tenure at Iowa State University this year were successful, implying that there has to be something seriously wrong with a candidate before they are rejected.

What's wrong with Dr. Gonzalez? So far as anyone can tell, this rejection had little to do with his scientific research, and everything to do with the fact that Dr. Gonzalez believes the scientific evidence points to the idea of an intelligent designer. In fact, as World Magazine has reported, at least two scientists in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the Iowa State University have admitted that intelligent design played a role in their decision. This despite the fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not teach intelligent design in any of his classes, and that none of his peer-reviewed papers deal with the subject. Nevertheless, simply because Gonzalez holds the view that there is intelligence behind the universe, and has written a book presenting scientific evidence for this fact, he is considered unsuitable at Iowa State.

What is the state of academic freedom when well qualified candidates are rejected simply because they see God's fingerprints on the cosmos? Isn't the Academy supposed to be a venue for diverse views? Aren't universities supposed to foster an atmosphere that allows for robust discussion and freedom of thought? Dr. Gonzalez's fate suggests that anyone who deigns to challenge conventional orthodoxy is not welcome in the club.

In the future, will scientists who are up for tenure be forced to deny that God could have played any role in the creation or design of the universe? Will Bible-believing astronomers be forced to repudiate Psalm 19, which begins, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands"? Will faithful Catholics be required to reject the teaching of Vatican I, which said that God "can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason..." Just where will this witch hunt lead?

The amazing fact is that, even as many science departments are working overtime to forbid professors from positing that there is evidence for intelligent design in the universe, more and more scientists are coming to this conclusion. The Discovery Institute has compiled a list of over seven-hundred scientists who signed the following statement: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged." The list of scientists who find good reason to doubt the strictly materialistic Darwinism that is currently scientific orthodoxy is growing every day.

It seems that many scientists and academicians who hold views contrary to Dr. Gonzalez have concluded that the best way to avoid debate about the evidence for intelligent design is to simply deny jobs to those who will not affirm their atheistic worldview. The fact that these scientists, who are supposedly open to following the evidence wherever it leads, have resorted to blatant discrimination to avoid having this conversation speaks volumes about the weakness of their position. They realize their arguments are not sufficient to defeat the intelligent design movement and they must, therefore, shut their opponents out of the conversation. All the evidence suggests that it is unjust that Dr. Gonzalez was denied tenure and that this ruling should be overturned on appeal. Nevertheless, what happened to Dr. Gonzalez is a reflection of the growing strength of the intelligent design movement, not its weakness.


Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC and a nationally recognized trial lawyer who represented Governor Jeb Bush in the Terri Schiavo case.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: aaup; academia; coyotecutnpaste; creationisminadress; fsmdidit; id; idisanembarrassment; idjunkscience; intelligentdesign; prejudice; tenure; thewedgedocument
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To: SkyPilot

So, who or what is the designer?

What is the difference between order and chaos?

What is number?

21 posted on 05/28/2007 6:07:08 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: SirLinksalot

the time is gonna come when lots of the ID folks are
gonna build their own university, and do their
own research with own suppositions......I mean 1,000 or so
Ph.D.’s would make a formidable faculty....
The state run colleges/universities can’t stop them
from doing that.....

22 posted on 05/28/2007 6:09:24 PM PDT by Getready (Truth and wisdom are more elusive, and valuable, than gold and diamonds)
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To: JmyBryan

What is the frequency, Kenneth?

23 posted on 05/28/2007 6:09:35 PM PDT by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: Cicero
A lot of scientists propose theories that turn out to be wrong.

You do know the difference, in science, between a hunch, a guess, a hypothesis and a theory, don't you?

24 posted on 05/28/2007 6:09:36 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: pleikumud
There could be more than one intelligent designer.

Got any scientific data supporting your suggestion?

25 posted on 05/28/2007 6:10:54 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: saganite
Believers in ID are the worshipers trying to insert religion into science.

I have news for you pal. God created physics, fluid dynamics, statics, chemistry, biology, and anything else the little mind can try to comprehend.

We were created to worship God. If you don't worship God - you will attempt to replace Him with something else - like His creation.

Or yourself.

26 posted on 05/28/2007 6:12:03 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: sirchtruth

That’s not proof.

27 posted on 05/28/2007 6:12:17 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: HereInTheHeartland
He wrote a book entitled The Privileged Planet which "showed" that there is evidence for design in the universe.

Again, there are no scientific data supporting such a notion.

28 posted on 05/28/2007 6:12:58 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: JmyBryan
What is number?


29 posted on 05/28/2007 6:13:09 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot
The Privileged Planet bump!
30 posted on 05/28/2007 6:14:03 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: sirchtruth
What about the digital design of DNA? What about ORDER in general?

What about it? Even random events have statistical probabilities and their frequency distributions generate a standard normal curve--if that ain't order, I don't know what is.

"Digital design of DNA:" Talk about begging the question...

31 posted on 05/28/2007 6:17:47 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: gondramB
His beliefs and credentials don’t seem to be in question. It is his position as a senior fellow in a group that works against science education. No science based department is going to want that association.

He is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. That is the group famous for their Wedge Strategy, which was leaked and posted on the internet.

Now, one passage from the Wedge Strategy reads,

We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

What does "science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" mean? It sounds like somebody wants to censor scientific research where it does not agree with a particular religious belief.

I don't think that type of "science" or that type of censorship are good things, and I can imagine that the scientific community feels the same way.

Anyone who is a Senior Fellow in an anti-science group holding such a stated goal can't legitimately complain when the scientific community does not accept him with open arms. (Duh!)

32 posted on 05/28/2007 6:18:34 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: Rudder


33 posted on 05/28/2007 6:20:29 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Rudder
"Again, there are no scientific data supporting such a notion."

Bingo! ID better belongs in social studies, religious studies or political sciences, not the hard sciences.

34 posted on 05/28/2007 6:22:08 PM PDT by elfman2 (An army of amateurs doing the media's job.)
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To: SkyPilot

I see you use the base 10, hindu-arabic system. Obviously, God loves you.

Of course, design is a difficult word/definition to pin down without an opposite - much like symbolic versus diabolic.

35 posted on 05/28/2007 6:23:43 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: SkyPilot

LOL! The argument to end all arguments eh? Shut up, I’m right and you’re going to hell.

36 posted on 05/28/2007 6:24:01 PM PDT by saganite (Billions and billions and billions----and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: SirLinksalot

Intelligent design is repeatedly attempting to play chess using checkers rules. If you want to play chess, you play by the rules of chess, or you aren’t playing chess, no matter how much you want others to think you are playing chess.

Science is the same way. It has very exact rules, and if you perform scientific experiments by those rules, you have performed a scientific experiment. Nothing more. It is a closed system. The problem comes when you either interpolate or extrapolate something else from a scientific experiment that is outside of the parameters of the experiment.

The only distinction science has over other studies is that if you follow the recipe of an experiment, anyone should be able to duplicate that same result, anywhere, if they follow the recipe, exactly. Adding nothing extra and taking nothing away.

And that is science. It intentionally ignores variables that might incidentally change the outcome of the experiment. This is because the vast majority of times, that strange variable won’t happen, so is not part of the recipe. If it does happen, then it is ignored, and the experiment is tried again until it makes the same predicted result that it is supposed to.

So why try to subvert the rules of chess, or science, except that you resent the clarity that both have. If you are a novice, you cannot beat a chess master if you play by the rules, so you try to change the rules. You cannot defy a scientifically conducted experiment, unless you try and alter or interfere with the recipe.

And this is why that professor was denied tenure. Because he was hired to teach and practice the very exacting rules of science. By advocating intelligent design, he as much as said that he does not follow the rules, or believe that in following the rules a scientific result will follow from a scientific experiment.

In a way, that is like a master chess player who tries to play by different rules against other chess players, because he believes in other rules. How can that be seen as other than cheating? If he does it so much as once in a formal setting, I could imagine him being stripped of his title.

Even if he is a master, he is not playing chess.

37 posted on 05/28/2007 6:31:14 PM PDT by Popocatapetl
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To: SirLinksalot
Sue the University Dr. Gonzalas.

Another scholar, Dr. Michael S. Adams at UNCW, who was also denied tenor, is doing just that. PDF.file

38 posted on 05/28/2007 6:31:22 PM PDT by TOneocon (The reason there is so much poverty is because of the uneven distribution of capitalism...Rush)
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To: Cicero

For what you said-—”A lot of scientists propose theories that turn out to be wrong.”-—to be accurate, the professor would have to have abundant scientific data that have been repeatedly tested by himself and others before he could put forth a theory. And, as I said, there are no scientific data supportive of ID.

39 posted on 05/28/2007 6:34:15 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: Rudder

Not true.

40 posted on 05/28/2007 6:36:29 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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