Friday, May 18, 2007

ISU Bias - Coincidence or Design?

It should come as no surprise that with the success of Guillermo Gonzalez' book The Privileged Planet and his appreciation for the Intelligent Design hypothesis, that the elites at Iowa State University would deny him tenure.

At first they would not admit that Gonzalez' book and ID promotion was the reason to deny him tenure. Then, they had to face the fact that Guillermo had an exemplary research record, including many scientific, peer reviewed articles for several of the major science journals.

Uh oh!

Guess they had to come clean and finally admit the real reason he was being rejected for tenure. I guess you could say at least they did, finally, admit it!

Breaking News: Iowa State Department Faculty Acknowledge ID Played Role in Gonzalez's Tenure Denial

Author John West writes:



According to a story to be published in the May 26 edition of World Magazine (already available online here), two faculty members of the department that denied tenure to Guillermo Gonzales at Iowa State University have admitted that his work on ID played a role in the denial. While Prof. Eli Rosenberg, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, insisted to the magazine that intelligent design "was not an overriding factor" (emphasis added), he then conceded according to the magazine that Gonzalez's pro-ID book The Privileged Planet "played into the decision-making process. He also explained that the reputation of a professor among others in his field is a significant factor." Of course, if "reputation" is used as a code word for whether one's views are popular among fellow scientists, then this is another way anti-ID bias entered into the decision.

But Rosenberg is not the only department member who admitted that intelligent design played a role in the tenure decision.

ISU astronomy professor Curtis Struck told World that he was not surprised at the denial of tenure to Gonzales because "[h]e includes some things in his astronomy resumé that other people regard as taking a coincidence too far." Struck was obviously referring to Gonzalez's arguments for intelligent design.

Struck's comments mean that at least three of the five tenured astronomers in Gonzalez's department have now been tied to anti-ID bias. As noted earlier this week, another tenured astronomer in the department signed a statement circulated by the National Center for Science Education denouncing intelligent design as "creationist pseudoscience," while the husband of a third astronomy professor signed the same statement.

Despite his own admission, Prof. Rosenberg tried to do damage control by claiming that there was something deficient about Dr. Gonzalez's sterling research record: "You take a look at somebody's research record over the six-year probationary period and you get a sense whether this is a strong case. Clearly, this was a case that looked like it might be in trouble." Really? Was Gonzalez somehow derelict in publishing 350% more peer-reviewed publications than his own department's stated standard for research excellence? Or in co-authoring a college astronomy textbook with Cambridge University Press? Or in having his research recognized in Science, Nature, Scientific American, and other top science publications?

It is worth pointing out that in early 2004 Gonzalez's department nominated him for an "Early Achievement in Research" award for an outstanding record in research. So what changed between 2004 and 2006 when Gonzalez submitted his tenure application? Well, 2004 was the year The Privileged Planet was published. Dr. Gonzalez continued to publish peer-reviewed journal articles, and even co-authored the Cambridge University Press textbook in 2006, but his department seems to have soured on him just as the controversy over intelligent design heated up on the ISU campus and around the nation.

Coincidence... or design?

Isn't the answer obvious?

*******

Update: 5/18/07


ID The Future — www.idthefuture.com


ISU Faculty Admit ID Played Role in Gonzalez Tenure Denial


On this episode of ID the Future we take a look at Iowa State University’s decision to deny tenure to astronomer and professor Guillermo Gonzalez, despite the fact that he exceeds his department’s standard of research by 350%. Two faculty members at ISU have admitted that the denial of tenure to Dr. Gonzalez had to do with his support for intelligent design, a clear violation of Dr. Gonzalez’s academic freedom. Listen in and learn more about Guillermo’s research record and how you can help support his right to follow the evidence wherever it leads.


Click here to listen.



*******
Update 5/21/07 - Email from Nota Bene

Action Item:
Help Guillermo Gonzalez in his fight for academic freedom.
Contact ISU President Gregory L. Geoffroy at (515) 294-2042 or email him at president@iastate.edu and let him know that you support academic freedom for Dr. Gonzalez to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

The big story this week was the denial of tenure to widely-published pro-ID astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University, despite the fact that he exceeded by 350% his department’s standard for research excellence in peer-reviewed publications. A quick recap of the key developments in the case:

1. Two tenured professors in Gonzalez’s department publicly admitted that his work on intelligent design played a role in his tenure denial.

2. Two additional faculty members in Gonzalez’s department were found to be connected to a national statement denouncing intelligent design as “creationist pseudoscience.”

3. Tenure statistics were obtained showing that 91% of faculty who applied for tenure this year at ISU received it, refuting the university’s claim earlier in the week that its tenure standards are “so high, that many good researchers have failed to satisfy the demands of earning tenure” at ISU.

4. Tenure standards for ISU's Department of Physics and Astronomy were released showing that outside research funding was not a stated criterion for tenure decisions in the department.

5. ISU continues to pretend that nothing is wrong while ignoring the hostile work environment for Gonzalez.

*******

About Nota Bene
Nota Bene -- Latin for "mark well"-- is the periodic e-lert newsletter for the Center for Science & Culture. The goal of Nota Bene is to quickly disseminate information regarding important events, activities and milestones related to the scientific theory of intelligent design and about efforts to fully and completely teach Darwinian evolution theory, including both its strengths and weaknesses. Please forward this e-mail to friends and family you think would be interested in this important issue.

10 comments:

Christinewjc said...

What a travesty!

Mr. Gonzalez' freedom of association and freedom of speech rights have been clearly violated here. I hope readers will take action and help Mr. Gonzalez and his supporters in their efforts to right a wrong that was unabashedly done in the name of blatant bias.

an astronomer said...

Mr. Gonzalez' constitutional rights include freedom of association and speech, but they don't include the right to a job at Iowa State.

While his astronomy work might normally have been good enough for tenure at Iowa State, his promotion of Intelligent Design damages the reputation of the University. The same would be true if he were an outspoken member of the Flat Earth Society. Having a tenured faculty member that is an outspoken supporter of such anit-scientific ideas would make it more difficult to recruit good students and faculty in the future, so no one should be surprised that he was denied tenure.

Intelligent Design is simply an attempt cloak a religious attack on the theory of evolution in the language of science, but since ID makes no testable predictions, it is not science. If you want to argue otherwise, you need to state some set of experiments or observations that could prove that ID is wrong. You can't do so, because you have a religious faith that implies that ID must be right. So, why not just be honest and say that you reject evolution because of your religious faith?

Frank said...

I will make a couple of quick comments here. Nobody should be denied a job because of their religious beliefs unless those beliefs conflict with their job responsiblities. On the other hand, transparency is important in academia as trust and honesty are critically important in scientific communications. I'm not sure that IDeists are necessarily considered in the "trustworthy" category. They might if they were up front about their motivations, but are they? Keep in mind the driving force behind ID is the "Wedge Strategy" of the Discovery Institute, a concept that has less to do with science than providing an opening for religion-based philosophies (and very specific religions at that) to supplant scientific methods in science education.

I notice that most of the publicity about this tempest is emanating from the Discovery Institute. It is interesting that they label their bulletins "EvolutionNews" when what they really are is of course, anti-evolution. Incidentally, did anyone notice in any of these DI bulletins where they mention that poor Gonzalez is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute? What an interesting omission. This is not just an innocent scientist who happens to have a minor out-of-mainstream sideline interest. This is a serious IDeist who is probably looking for a publicity generating controversy opportunity.

With all of his publications, isn't it interesting that he has never managed to mention ID in any of his peer-reviewed publications? Did he ever try? Couldn't he pull a Meyer/von Sternberg somewhere along the line and get something into print or better yet, actually come up with a testable ID-based hypothesis and find some ACTUAL evidence for it?? Apparently one of the school's concerns with him was that for all of his papers, he wasn't generating much grant money for the department. Couldn't he have gotten his rich buddies at the DI to fund a search or two for evidence of design somewhere out there?

I'd like to make another point on his publications. The DI touts his list of peer-reviewed papers and says that he has been recognized in Science and Nature, the most prestigious of journals. Well, did he get his own papers published in these august communications? Um, no; they were mentioned in articles written by others but he never had anything of his own appear in their pages. So why mention them? Face it, the DI is much better at producing publicity than results.

The ISU astronomy department is apparently still dealing with this issue and as a personnel matter, it really isn't appropriate for anyone to be be getting too worked up over it yet. Nonetheless, since everyone else is speculating here, I will too. I suspect that Gonzalez has said enough things that make people around him suspicious of his motives and his ultimate activities if he gets tenure. Those around him don't want to be associated over the long haul with someone who is perceived in the scientific community as less than forthcoming about his actual motives and interests. Moreover, they don't want their good name touted by the DI as coming from a "credentialled scientist" every time Gonzalez says something controversial with less science than spin behind him. They are wise to be careful. As I said to open this, nobody should be denied a job because of their religious beliefs, but perhaps they should be denied if they are not honest about them and calling ID anything but religion is a great example of that.

Christinewjc said...

Hello "an astronomer,"

Welcome to Talkwisdom. You stated, "So, why not just be honest and say that you reject evolution because of your religious faith?"

I don't reject micro-evolution. It's macro-evolution, the unfounded extrapolation of the evidence for micro that I reject. There are hundreds of scientists who have already rejected macro-evolution because of the impossibility of it. Many more are coming aboard with the same belief every day!

I keep hearing this same argument about ID being "religious" in nature. That is a lie. It may have additional religious implications, which can be explored in philosophy classes, but examining the evidence for design is just as scientific as micro-evolution.

Evolutionists insist all the time that "abiogenesis has nothing to do with evolution." So, evolution is studied without identifying the currently unknown mechanism of how we got here. However, the same courtesy is not afforded to the ID Hypothesis.

Studying the "evidence wherever it leads" may imply that we are designed, however, the mechanism of the specific "designer" (or Designer in religious circles) need not enter the scientific discussions.

About Mr. Gonzalez' denial of tenure. According to everything that I have read, he did not promote ID in the classroom. Doesn't the man deserve freedom of speech, freedom of association and the right to explore alternative theories on his own in his own time? What is this...a dictatorship?

Secondly, if ID wasn't genuinely threatening to macro-evolutionary theory and scientific evidence and truth, then the faculty elites probably wouldn't care. However, we know that the opposite is true.

If Gonzalez' book wasn't so successful, then they wouldn't feel threatened by it now would they.

The area of cosmology is most threatening. To atheistic evolutionists, the "big bang" reveals how God was inconsequential in the creation process and indicates that billions of years have passed since earth began. However, when we look at the Creation side of the issue, breakthroughs, including the "big bang" literally "prove" creation. With limitation of time, matter, and space, evolution is absolutely absurd. God was a necessity.

Now, ID would state this same idea thus:

On the ID side of the issue, breakthroughs, including the "big bang" literally "prove" that the universe had a beginning. The fact that we live in a "privileged planet" environment indicates design. With limitation of time, matter, and space, evolution is absolutely absurd. Design (not specifying identity of designer) was a necessity.

I realize that nothing I share here is likely to change anyone's mind. It has been my experience that debates like these oftentimes end up as futile. But as a Christian, I am activenly engaged in sharing everything that I can to demonstrate "the hope that is in me."

This subject has more at stake than just the verbal battles going on between the camps.

I have stated the following points and links to articles in past posts:

Over the last 150 years, philosophical Darwinism has done tremendous harm to the hearts, minds, souls and spirits of children who have been indoctrinated into believing that "macroevolution is fact". The belief that we are "nothing but mammals" affects the intellect, wisdom, values, virtues, sexual proclivities and overall behavior of those who adhere to Darwinism's religious dogma.

In my conversations and debates, I have found that proponents of macroevolution and proponents of Creation/Intelligent Design tend to talk past each other.

I made a comment about a visit to a museum that had plaster representations of supposed ancestors via evolutionary theory. I said, "What a bunch of hooey." The man who was about to take a picture of the exhibit obviously agreed and decided not to take the picture. It was quite a moment (for me, at least) because I made a commitment to learn more about this theory of evolution. From that point on, I have discovered so many frauds, fallacies, hoaxes, fake icons and extrapolations of evidence that not only makes macroevolution appear ridiculous, but even more importantly shows evidence that it is indeed impossible.

No matter how many debates and conversations that I have with Darwinists I find such conversations often turn out fruitless. Why? Because they think higher of themselves and their science than they do of God. Science is their "Tower of Babel" and those that think of themselves as the "scientific elites" will probably always reject Creation Science and/or Intelligent Design Theory out of prejudice, pride, and extreme, unchanging bias.

What can little ole' me do to change the mind of a person like that? Probably nothing. But I do know that science is always attempting to catch up to God. So I'll take His Wisdom and Word above any man's word regarding the origin of life. I'll take belief in the eternal, infinite God of the universe above any man's finite words or knowledge any day...including scientific knowledge simply because, as I mentioned before, science is a discipline that is forever attempting to catch up to the God who created it in the first place!

I have often found that debating with the other side only leads to insults. Plus, most claim that none of the work done by Creationists or IDeists has been "published in peer reviewed journals." The reason? Bias! One did get published in 2005, but the evolutionists had such a hissy fit over it that they demanded it to be retracted.

Methodological naturalism isn't the only thing at play here. It's philosophical naturalism that prevents other viewpoints, scientific papers and evidence from being heard and written about in peer reviewed periodicals.Call it the "don't let God's foot in the door syndrome." Even when the Intelligent Designer is not specifically identified (hey! It could be an alien like Carl Sagan thought), the argument from design is rejected just because of the possibility that students could believe in the Creator God of the Bible. This is even when there is no mention of Genesis or the Bible in discussions of ID. Students in high schools and college are becoming more and more curious though. They are researching ID on the internet because their teachers and professors "won't allow it" in class. But their curiosity has led to thousands investigating the controversy. In fact, the Discovery Institute only asks that the controversy be taught at this point.

But no!

The scientific elites have their a priori view of naturalism which is their own form of secular religious faith.

Greg Koukl describes it well in Evolution - Philosophy not Science.

One question included in an article here asks,




"Why, I ask, should reasonable people be so afraid of an intuitively appealing suggestion that a scientific theory may need modifying? They reply that the suggestion itself is not "scientific," and thus has no place in a class on science. Let it be studied, if at all, in courses on religion."



The response?

"And let their response be included in courses on logic, as a stellar example of intellectual dishonesty."


I have discovered, over and over again through articles written by people much more intelligent than I that not all scientists and/or people walk lock-step in tune with the macroevolutionary extrapolation of the overall theory of evolution. It takes a lot of faith, faith in the Darwinian form of religion, to believe in such a theory and call it "fact".

We get the argument that science cannot include "religion" and be legitimate.

We also get the argument that science and philosophy "do not mix."

Why not?

The philosophy of Darwinism mixes in with science already.

What is it then? It's a particular type of philosophy that they don't want to mix in with science. Why...it's built into the definition of science...isn't it?

Change the definition!


And what about intellectual honesty? I love this quote from Monkeys and Atheists. It clearly illustrates the lengths to which Darwinian religionists will go...




"Thomas Huxley ("Darwin's bulldog") is said to have come up with the most famous defense of the atheist belief that life was created by chance, not God. In a debate at Oxford, he is reported to have stated that if enough monkeys randomly pressed typewriter keys for a long enough time, sooner or later Psalm 23 would emerge.



Not all atheists use this argument, but it accurately represents the atheist belief that with enough time and enough solar systems, you'll get you, me and Bach's cello suites.

This belief has always struck me as implausible. The argument that infinitely complex intelligence came about by itself, unguided by any intelligence, can only be deemed convincing by those who have a vested interest (intellectual, emotional, psychological) in atheism.

I fully acknowledge the great challenge to theism – the rampant and seemingly random unfairness built into human life. But no intellectually honest atheist should deny the great challenge to atheism – the existence of design and intelligence. The belief that Bach's music randomly evolved from a paramecium should strike anyone as so fantastic as to be absurd, even more absurd than the belief that a monkey could monkey Shakespeare. The finite number of years in the universe's existence and the finite number of planets would not come close to producing a few sentences, let alone Psalm 23 or a Shakespeare play.

But a just reported English University experiment has convinced me that the number of monkeys and the amount of time are irrelevant. Psalm 23, let alone Hamlet, would never be written. Why? Because the monkeys probably wouldn't do any typing.

According to news reports, instructors at Plymouth University put six Sulawesi crested macaque monkeys in a room with a computer and keyboards for four weeks. Though one of the monkeys frequently typed the letter "s", the other monkeys ignored the keyboard, preferring to play with one another and with the ropes and toys placed there. When they did pay attention to the keyboard, one smashed it with a stone and the others repeatedly urinated and defecated on it.

The instructors hastened to note the study was not scientific, given the short duration of time and the small number of monkeys, but some of us find this "study" to be a hilarious vindication of our view of the "enough monkeys for enough time" argument for random creation."

More great articles:

Inherit the Spin

Icons of Evolution

Christinewjc said...

Well Hello Frank!

Welcome to the blogosphere! Took a few years for you to venture over here. I guess the denial of tenure to Gonzalez pushed you over to this venue?


I was happy to read this portion of what you said:

"Nobody should be denied a job because of their religious beliefs"

But disappointed to read the rest of it.

You described "The Wedge" of the philosophical side of ID. What about evolution's philosophical side?

Not a good enough reason to deny the man tenure.

You stated, "It is interesting that they label their bulletins "EvolutionNews" when what they really are is of course, anti-evolution."

You obviously didn't read the explanation for that title:

Nota Bene -- Latin for "mark well"-- is the periodic e-lert newsletter for the Center for Science & Culture. The goal of Nota Bene is to quickly disseminate information regarding important events, activities and milestones related to the scientific theory of intelligent design and about efforts to fully and completely teach Darwinian evolution theory, including both its strengths and weaknesses.

You stated, "Couldn't he have gotten his rich buddies at the DI to fund a search or two for evidence of design somewhere out there?"

You're joking...right? Yeah! Like the university would allow that!

It certainly would be nice if such freedom was allowed, but the science gestapo would probably rather die than switch! ha ha!!

You stated, "Moreover, they don't want their good name touted by the DI as coming from a "credentialled scientist" every time Gonzalez says something controversial with less science than spin behind him."

Oh... you mean like the Inherit the Spin domination of those who were so desperate to find any fossil of evidence for macro-evolution that they would resort to deceptively creating (pun!) them and passing them off as true fossils; attempting to indicate transitions between kinds? So, how are Archaeoraptor and Archaeoptyryx doing these days?

Banned from the imaginary "transitional" exhibit at the museums yet?

Are they still in textbooks and being fraudulently tauted as transitionals?

How unscientific! (and dishonest!!)

Tsk tsk!!

an astronomer said...

Dear Christinewjc,

Thanks for your very lengthy response. However, you did not address the central point of my comment: ID is not science because it doesn't even attempt to make any testable predictions. This is the essential feature of a scientific theory, and it is what makes science so successful in figuring out what is true and what isn't.

To qualify as a scientific theory, ID would have to make some prediction and dare those that don't believe to prove it wrong. Evolution has done this, but ID has not. So, ID simply does not qualify as science. ID proponents generally argue against evolution, and simply assume that if evolution is wrong, then ID must be right. But this is not how science works.

So, it is not hard to understand how Mr. Gonzalez' colleagues might be uncomfortable offering him tenure, since by promoting ID, he appears to have a serious misunderstanding of how science works. This is not a good thing for a science professor. If he simply said that he doubted some aspects of evolution and preferred a religious to a scientific explanation for the origin of species, this might have been ok for a tenured position in a physics and astronomy department (although probably not in the biology department).

Anyway, my question for you, Christinewjc, is how can we prove that ID must be wrong? If you cannot answer, then please admit that ID is not a scientific theory.

Christinewjc said...

Currently, (as far as I know) ID theorists are only seeking the chance for schools to teach the controversy over macro-evolutionary thought. ID can be presented as an hypothesis.

You can go to ResearchID.org for the definition and links to many research articles.

Because it is labeled as an hypothesis, perhaps your question cannot be answered at this point in time. However, you may find your answer at the link above. There are hundreds of pages to explore.

I found this page What Intelligent Design is not quite interesting too.

Examples of Design detection is also available.

Christinewjc said...

On this page, I found the following:

"The ID conjecture is that “there are phenomena in the universe that are best explained as the result of intelligence.” This is eminently falsifiable, since any alternative hypothesis based on law or chance that explains a phenomena better will easily do away with intelligent design. As William Dembski explains:

‘‘If it could be shown that biological systems like the bacterial flagellum that are wonderfully complex, elegant, and integrated could have been formed by a gradual Darwinian process (which by definition is non-telic), then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely.’’[1]
The ID conjecture is also verifiable, with many theorists currently working on the task of design detection. Moreover, ID makes unique predictions. So ID will additionally be able to strengthen its place in science by finding a concrete hypothesis fulfilling these criteria. Therefore, ID is shown to be a valid scientific hypothesis.


Footnotes: From Is Intelligent Design Testable? by William Dembski

an astronomer said...

Dear Christinewjc,
Your last post is helpful, but note that most of Dembski's quotes make the assumption that evidence against evolution is automatically evidence for ID. But this is not sufficient for a hypothesis to be considered scientific. To be a scientific hypothesis, ID would have to make a prediction of its own. After all, it is certainly a logical possibility that both ID and evolution are wrong.

The last quote does make the claim that ID theorists are working on the task of design detection, and so this suggests that perhaps ID will make testable predictions in the future. If so, then I suppose you would have a case that ID is really a scientific theory. But, this really seems unlikely to me. I think that virtually all ID believers are strongly motivated by their religious beliefs, and that it will prove too difficult to come up with realistic ways to test ID. Can you really think of some experiment or observation that could convince you that ID is wrong? I suspect not.

The thing that really distinguishes a scientific hypothesis from a philosophical or religious one is that a scientific hypothesis must provide testable predictions and essentially dare the world to prove it wrong. The aggressive attempt to prove ideas wrong is really the essence of the scientific process, and unless the ID community really provides some way to prove it wrong, it is not going to be considered as science.

If you want to get scientists to agree that it is reasonable to "teach the controversy", you would have a much easier time if you could admit that the controversy is between the scientific theory of evolution and the unscientific ID theory. In fact, I believe that I read somewhere that at least some of the folks at the Discovery Institute thought that ID was not really ready to be taught in schools, presumably because they haven't developed any testable predictions, yet.

Frank said...

Hi Chris,
It isn't entriely clear to me what the difference is between talking here or at your Forum, so I'm posting to both. Thanks anyhow for your welcome to BlogWorld.

You said: I was happy to read this portion of what you said:

"Nobody should be denied a job because of their religious beliefs"

But disappointed to read the rest of it.

Well, isn't it ironic that you keep saying that ID is NOT a religious position? This would mean that he isn't in trouble over religion after all. It's his somewhat wobbly view of science that is the problem and that is why he is having trouble keeping a lifetime job as a scientist.

If you want to discuss some philosophical implication of evolution, then do it, but don't just post a link to a lengthy rant by Kookl. If people misuse science for political and philosopical purposes, it isn't the fault of science any more than it is the fault of Jesus when people misuse Christianity for the same sort of mischief.

I said: "You stated, "Couldn't he have gotten his rich buddies at the DI to fund a search or two for evidence of design somewhere out there?"

Your reply: You're joking...right? Yeah! Like the university would allow that!

It certainly would be nice if such freedom was allowed, but the science gestapo would probably rather die than switch! ha ha!!


Actually, as long as funding was involved, they probably would. Do you have examples to the contrary or are you just projecting paranoia? Keep in mind that any such funding would have to be free of strings tying the results to a pre-conceived outcome as some Creationists have tried to do in the past.

No, Gonzalez had his chance to come with the funding the department expects and he came up short.

You said: Oh... you mean like the Inherit the Spin domination of those who were so desperate to find any fossil of evidence for macro-evolution that they would resort to deceptively creating (pun!) them and passing them off as true fossils; attempting to indicate transitions between kinds? So, how are Archaeoraptor and Archaeoptyryx doing these days?

Banned from the imaginary "transitional" exhibit at the museums yet?


Archaopteryx is still one of the best examples of a transitional organism ever found. You have always quit arguing when I try to discuss it. Wanna try again?

Archaeoraptor was an example of a quick trigger by National Geographic and it actually is a valid fossil genus, just not what it was originally thought to be. There are plenty of other transitionals that are well documented.

Are they still in textbooks and being fraudulently tauted as transitionals?

How unscientific! (and dishonest!!)

Tsk tsk!!


You mean Wells is unscientific and dishonest? We can agree on that. By the way, which textbooks include Archaeoraptor?

If you don't mind, I'll cross-post this exhange back at your fourm where html tags are easier to manipulate.