Skip to comments.Astronomer claims he lost University of Kentucky job because of faith
Posted on 12/13/2010 11:18:17 AM PST by SeekAndFind
An astronomer is suing the University of Kentucky, claiming he was denied a job running its observatory because of his Christian faith.
Martin Gaskell was once considered the leading candidate to be the founding director of the observatory, opened in 2008.
The Courier-Journal reports that a trial has been set for Feb. 8 after a federal judge ruled Gaskell has the right to a jury trial.
Gaskell argues that the school discriminated against him because he had given lectures in the past discussing astronomy and the Bible and his questions about the theory of evolution, even though he accepts it.
The university acknowledges there were questions about his beliefs, but there was valid scientific concern. It also claims there were other factors in denying him the job, including a poor performance review in a previous job.
Sue them and stew them. Lather, rinse and repeat.
More here :
Monday, December 13, 2010, 11:16 AM
A federal judge in Kentucky has denied the University of Kentuckys motion for summary judgment, paving the way for a jury trial on the merits of astronomer C. Martin Gaskells claim that the University engaged in religious discrimination when it did not offer him the postion of Founding Director of its observatory.
There appears to be no dispute about the quality of Gaskells scholarly work, nor about his record of already having done what the University of Kentucky needed done. Butgasp!he has lectured on Modern Astronomy, the Bible, and Creation in a way that some biologists regard as creationist. Given these passages from his lecture notes, how they could do so with any intellectual integrity is beyond me:
God made everything pretty much as it is now in six 24-hour days about 6000 years ago the so-called Creationist position (a bad name! I, and many writers on the subject prefer the name Young-Earth Creationist for this position). This is the position of the Creation Research Society (CRS), the San Diego based Institute for Creation Research (ICR), and a number of other Creation Science organizations. I have a lot of respect for people who hold this view because they are strongly committed to the Bible, but I dont believe it is the interpretation the Bible requires of itself, and it certainly clashes head-on with science.
The Answers are not in yet. This is part of my own viewpoint. I believe that God has not yet revealed everything to us in the Bible (see Deuteronomy 29:29 and I Corinthians 13:9-10,12) and I know that we dont know all the answers in science yet.
The main controversy has been between people at the two extremes (young earth creationists and humanistic evolutionists). Creationists attack the science of evolutionists. I believe that this sort of attack is very bad both scientifically and theologically. The scientific explanations offered by creationists are mostly very poor science and I believe this sort of thing actually hinders some (many?) scientists becoming Christians. It is true that there are significant scientific problems in evolutionary theory (a good thing or else many biologists and geologists would be out of a job) and that these problems are bigger than is usually made out in introductory geology/biology courses, but the real problem with humanistic evolution is in the unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations. It is the latter that creationists should really be attacking (many books do, in fact, attack these unwarranted assumptions and extrapolations).While discussing controversies and interpretations of Genesis I should mention something that has been much debated in recent years but is not an interpretation of Genesis: what is called Intelligent Design. This movement, which is often erroneously confused with young-earth creationism, is just exploring the question of what evidence there is in the universe for design by an intelligence. This is really a general, non-religious question (although with obvious religious implications), and there is no opinion on the interpretation of Genesis.
The University contends in part that because the position for which he was applying involved public outreach, there was legitimate concern that he would use his affiliation with the University to promote his private religious views. If this position stands, then woe be unto any of us who teach at public institutions, have private religious opinions that somehow find their way into our work (perhaps even for good reasons), and are identified by our institutional affiliation. Wouldnt that be a kind of viewpoint discrimination?
The case goes to trial in February and bears watching.
Detailed report of the story can be found here :
There’s a story about a young man who applied for the job of teaching at a one-room school up in the Ozark hills. He was interviewed by the president of the school board, who asked him if he believed the earth was round or flat. He pondered a minute, then answered “I can teach it either way”.
Obama’s “War on Science”?
Is that even allowed?
My boss: Oh, by the way, I see you had a bad performance eval at your previous job. I'm gonna have to dock you some pay.
Me: But that was 10 years ago! I was barely old enough to drink let alone do well in a new job about which I was totally green.
My boss: Well, we still think your performance 10 years ago affects your current performance, so we're going to dock you pay for that error.
Me: But I was docked pay by that company at that time. You're going to penalize me again for something I learned from and never did again?
My boss: Doesn't matter. We just don't want you to slip up like that again, so we're docking you pay; and oh, by the way, you won't be getting that promotion this year either.
RE: Obamas War on Science?
Well, let’s not blame everything on Obama the way the left wants to blame everything on Bush.
This has been going on even before Obama was President.
An outstanding Astronomer named Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure by Iowa State for similar reasons as the one in this article.
See that background story here :
■Gerald E. Aardsma (physicist and radiocarbon dating)
■Louis Agassiz (helped develop the study of glacial geology and of ichthyology)
■Alexander Arndt (analytical chemist, etc.)
■Steven A. Austin (geologist and coal formation expert)
■Charles Babbage (helped develop science of computers / developed actuarial tables and the calculating machine)
■Francis Bacon (developed the Scientific Method)
■Thomas G. Barnes (physicist)
■Robert Boyle (helped develop sciences of chemistry and gas dynamics)
■Wernher von Braun (pioneer of rocketry and space exploration)
■David Brewster (helped develop science of optical mineralogy)
■Arthur V. Chadwick (geologist)
■Melvin Alonzo Cook (physical chemist, Nobel Prize nominee)
■Georges Cuvier (helped develop sciences of comparative anatomy and vertebrate paleontology)
■Humphry Davy (helped develop science of thermokinetics)
■Donald B. DeYoung (physicist, specializing in solid-state, nuclear science and astronomy)
■Henri Fabre (helped develop science of insect entomology)
■Michael Faraday (helped develop science of electromagnetics / developed the Field Theory / invented the electric generator)
■Danny R. Faulkner (astronomer)
■Ambrose Fleming (helped develop science of electronics / invented thermionic valve)
■Robert V. Gentry (physicist and chemist)
■Duane T. Gish (biochemist)
■John Grebe (chemist)
■Joseph Henry (invented the electric motor and the galvanometer / discovered self-induction)
■William Herschel (helped develop science of galactic astronomy / discovered double stars / developed the Global Star Catalog)
■George F. Howe (botanist)
■James P. Joule (developed reversible thermodynamics)
■Johann Kepler (helped develop science of physical astronomy / developed the Ephemeris Tables)
■John W. Klotz (geneticist and biologist)
■Leonid Korochkin (geneticist)
■Lane P. Lester (geneticist and biologist)
■Carolus Linnaeus (helped develop sciences of taxonomy and systematic biology / developed the Classification System)
■Joseph Lister (helped develop science of antiseptic surgery)
■Frank L. Marsh (biologist)
■Matthew Maury (helped develop science of oceanography/hydrography)
■James Clerk Maxwell (helped develop the science of electrodynamics)
■Gregor Mendel (founded the modern science of genetics)
■Samuel F. B. Morse (invented the telegraph)
■Isaac Newton (helped develop science of dynamics and the discipline of calculus / father of the Law of Gravity / invented the reflecting telescope)
■Gary E. Parker (biologist and paleontologist) [more info]
■Blaise Pascal (helped develop science of hydrostatics / invented the barometer)
■Louis Pasteur (helped develop science of bacteriology / discovered the Law of Biogenesis / invented fermentation control / developed vaccinations and immunizations)
■William Ramsay (helped develop the science of isotopic chemistry / discovered inert gases)
■John Ray (helped develop science of biology and natural science)
■Lord Rayleigh (helped develop science of dimensional analysis)
■Bernhard Riemann (helped develop non-Euclidean geometry)
■James Simpson (helped develop the field of gynecology / developed the use of chloroform)
■Nicholas Steno (helped develop the science of stratigraphy)
■George Stokes (helped develop science of fluid mechanics)
■Charles B. Thaxton (chemist)
■William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) (helped develop sciences of thermodynamics and energetics / invented the Absolute Temperature Scale / developed the Trans-Atlantic Cable)
■Larry Vardiman (astrophysicist and geophysicist)
■Leonardo da Vinci (helped develop science of hydraulics)
■Rudolf Virchow (helped develop science of pathology)
■A.J. (Monty) White (chemist)
■A.E. Wilder-Smith (chemist and pharmacology expert)
■John Woodward (helped develop the science of paleontology)
After the discredited whiners of Expelled, I take all such accounts with a big grain of salt.
BTW, my college astronomy teacher was admittedly highly religious, and I never saw the religion get in the way of the science. His view was that science was a way to delve into the mechanics of God’s creation. But then he wasn’t a literal creationist either. He thought that God setting up all these intricate, interrelated laws of physics to make things happen as they did was even more incredible than simply creating something.
That is a classic statement!!!!
I can’t say for this case, but in general poor performance in a previous job for an academic is bad because it reflects on his overal academic history. Academics in the sciences is usually a cutthroat world, and unless you have a sugar daddy up high, any screwup will get you passed over for someone else.
But note that’s for the sciences. Once you get into the social, racial and PC stuff, it’s mainly about how well you can BS and how radical the junk is that you preach.
What does your reply mean?
I can accept that premise in a vacuum as long as you're extremely careful not to play god of the gaps. Unfortunately, the modern reality is that the founders of the modern ID movement, and it's prime movers and funders, are people who admittedly see ID as a way of Christian evangelism.
Another good reply...
“Do you believe the sun orbits the earth?
Have you ever said ‘The sun has risen’ or ‘the sun has set’ instead of ‘the earth has rotated enough during its orbit of the sun for the sun to now be visible...’”
And, of course, he had a thorough grasp of everything involved in "simply creating something."
RE: Unfortunately, the modern reality is that the founders of the modern ID movement, and it’s prime movers and funders, are people who admittedly see ID as a way of Christian evangelism.
Can you name some of these Christian Evangelists?
Can’t some of these folks be fired cuz they suck at the job or perhaps not working to the potential that they had in 2008? I mean victimization works both ways.
ROTFLMAO. That was funny.
From a theological point of view creation is a simplistic, primitive event. Most cultures have some type of fairly simple ancient creation myth. But the idea of a god who would just put everything in motion billions of years ago and have it result in this using complex interacting laws was to him far more glorifying.
Sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it isn't.
To the boss — “Would you put that in writing?”
Better have a back up job, though. :)
See Discovery Institute, specifically their Center for Science and Culter, more specifically their Wedge Document that outlines the strategy. Most of the top names in ID are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, including Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, Scott Minnich and Guillermo Gonzalez (whiner of Expelled fame).
Just as so many modern atheists see evolution—a certain view of evolution-as a disproof of religion.
Many scientists have almost no philosophical training. Therefore even the biologists have a rather naive view of evolution, have not in fact moved much beyond Haeckel.
The papers these guys publish ( e.g. Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe and yes, even the so called whiner, Guillermo Gonzales) do not even contain any references to Jesus Christ.
I don’t see how they’re evangelizing anyone to make them Christians.
It's the motivation, and the level of trust that engenders. They have all signed onto the DI's program. By doing that they agree that NO scientific finding can contradict the Bible. If it appears to do so, then the finding or the interpretation of it must be incorrect. This is completely opposite of science, where you are supposed to follow the evidence.
I dont see how theyre evangelizing anyone to make them Christians.
It's a stealth program. Nobody is supposed to see that. Read the Wedge Document.
Dr. Gonzalez now has an observatory he can work with at Grove City.
He has close to 70 peer reviewed papers on astronomy published at various scientific journals. NONE of these professional work even mentions God at all (they would not have been published otherwise).
It was his extra-curricular work — THE PRIVILEGED PLANET that put him on the “target” list IMHO.
RE: It’s the motivation, and the level of trust that engenders
There you go, you just hit the nail right on the head.
Anyone who takes his religious belief seriously REGARDLESS of his professional work is automatically considered suspect.
Some do, as some atheists ironically make a religion out of it. But in fact, all most natural sciences (geology, astronomy, biology, etc.) do is disprove young earth creationism. Religion in general is outside their scope.
RE: Cant some of these folks be fired cuz they suck at the job
That SHOULD be the reason for firing someone, not what they personally believe about God.
“He thought that God setting up all these intricate, interrelated laws of physics to make things happen as they did was even more incredible than simply creating something.”
Indeed. Such is truly the workings of an amazing and transcendent God. A God who goes “poof” and things happen is a God that even a child can understand.
No, it's more of the fact of affiliation with an institution with an admitted agenda to subvert modern science. Then that institution being the leader of the modern ID movement makes anybody suspect of any work in the area.
Well, I do not accept Genesis as an historical account. On the other hand, I reject the Darwinian view of man engaged in a struggle with nature. Aristotle had a view more persuasive. That we must work with nature as it NOW exists since we are part of it. That we are animals, but thinking and willing animals. Genesis depicts the ideal, where man is the gardener., in which he lives and moves and has his being, but which he has not made.
If Discover has an agenda, it is not to subvert modern science but questions certain sacred cows.
Having once been a faculty member of UK, I’m not surprised. It was a terrible place to work. I had the good fortune of being the victim of diversity.
Creation is a broader concept than just originating the universe. It looks at the whole thing and sees how it exists, and more narrowly why it does not not exist.
Creation is a broader concept than just originating the universe. It looks at the whole thing and sees how it exists, and more narrowly why it does not not exist.
In a way you are correct. The problem was that he took a couple years to write The Privileged Planet, and during that time his scientific output dropped like a rock. Unfortunately for him, that was the period leading up to the tenure decision. Those deciding tenure got to see a pattern of diminishing scientific output from what appeared to be a once-promising scientist. Also hurting was his relative lack of ability to get research grants, him achieving $22,000 vs. the 1.3 million average for someone seeking tenure. He also had a lack of successful supervision of graduate students, only one completing his dissertation in seven years.
Basically, he blew all his time on ID and severely neglected his academic duties. It's no wonder he was denied tenure.
RE: Then that institution being the leader of the modern ID movement makes anybody suspect of any work in the area.
What a person does OUTSIDE of the academe should be his own business.
He should be judged BASED ON HIS WORK WITHIN THE ACADEME ITSELF.
Did he teach well ? Did he publish peer revieiwed papers ?
Is his research cited by other peers ?
*THAT* should be the criteria.
If what they did to Gonzalez were done to men like Isaac Newton, who wrote books on Biblical Prophecy and even wrote a number of religious tracks, a lot of great and interesting science would have been thrown by the wayside.
If they have valid performance issues supported by his previous poor performance reviews, he won't be getting anything.
No, their agenda is to evangelize Christianity through subversion of modern science. They admit it. Any actual science is only a small part, the rest revolves around non-scientific PR and government work. Don't forget, the Discovery Institute was part of the Kitzmiller case from the beginning, but tried to pull out once they saw they were going to lose.
The Iowa Board of Regents assumed Guillermos guilt in advance, and denied his defense the opportunity to present evidence in favor of his innocence. Based on my readings of his case:
1) The Board of Regents would not allow into the record extensive e-mail documentation showing that Dr. Gonzalez was denied tenure not due to his academic record, but because he supports intelligent design.
2) They denied his due process rights throughout this entire appeal.
3) They refused Dr. Gonzalez the opportunity to present his case fully to the Board and to have face-to-face contact with the Board through oral arguments.
4) They refused to let him cite key NASA/Smithsonian Astrophysics Database information that shows how he outperformed many of the tenured faculty in his own department in productivity.
I believe that the arbitrariness of this decision to deny tenure will discourage people from accepting tenure-track faculty positions at the U. of Iowa (and probably also Iowa State U.).
The pretexts for denying tenure were that Gonzalez did not bring in a lot of grant money and did not advise a lot of graduate students who got degrees, but he did have a lot going for him: he was author or co-author of dozens of peer-reviewed papers, he co-authored an astronomy textbook that is used by his own department.
RE: No, their agenda is to evangelize Christianity through subversion of modern science.
Actually, I kinda like the Wedge document.
And you don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate what it plans to do. Jews, Muslims, Theists or even Buddhists can appreciate its goals.
Also, it isn’t as if the Discovery Institute is hiding its agenda or something, They’re pretty upfront about it.
My favorite part is where it says that the goal is to bring together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.
I think desiring to look at how new developments raise doubt on the materialistic paradigm is a goal worth acheiving.
Nowhere does this imply concocting developments or distorting them. Whats so wrong with this goal? Am I missing something?
Those are the excuses I expect to hear in the preponderance of cases of Christians being denied tenure. Christianity won´t be specifically cited as the reason for its denial, threading through liability issues, so they come up with this other subterfuge.
Academics write books all the time. Christians though, who are clearly not wanted in academia, do so at their peril.
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