Friday, June 01, 2007

Combating Radical Left's Hold on Universities

The radical left's hold upon our colleges and universities is obvious for all to see. It's been going on for decades now. However, I am so pleased to learn that organizations like Alliance Defense Fund and David Horowitz's National Campaign for Academic Freedom are actively fighting against such strongholds.

This morning, I was responding to a member at my message board regarding the denial of tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez because certain faculty colleagues (admittedly) didn't like the hypothesis he presented in his successful book The Privileged Planet.

Here's what I wrote:




I think that the point is that Gonzalez is being denied tenure because of personal beliefs that he has pursued on his own time and not because of his teaching ability (as well as the requirements he met for papers published) at the university. To me, it appears that the thought police are "doing him in" and, in essence, actually firing him from his position (in which he has apparently done an exemplary job, btw) just because they don't like his hypothesis in his successful book The Privileged Planet.

I think it is unbelievably ironic that a rabid, anti-American professor like Ward Churchill can keep his job after calling the people who died in the World Trade Center terrorist attack "little Eichmans" and making the terribly heartless statement that they "deserved to die;" but a man like Gonzalez gets booted from his university because of a successful book that the elitists don't like.

Something doesn't smell right.

Oh yeah...it's probably the permeating smell of the "burn the conservative American" for his personal views at the stake while letting the socialist commie get a pass...

Then, I received an email message that demonstrated yet another attempt to silence those with whom the rabid leftists disagree:



I've got some truly great news to share with you immediately.

We've opened another door of opportunity - this time it's on the campus of Stetson University, a prestigious private school in DeLand, FL. I know you're busy, so let me give you a quick summary.

Almost two years ago, Stetson's College Republicans invited me to speak at their school about our National Campaign for Academic Freedom. As you know, I'm always delighted when students want to hear about our campaign and become involved in our efforts to promote intellectual diversity in the academic curriculum .

Sitting in the audience that evening was Mrs. Martha Apgar a benefactor of the university. Following my presentation and subsequent discussions she had with Stetson students, Mrs. Apgar donated $1 million to establish a conservative speakers' program! Their first speaker? William F. Buckley, Jr.

I hope this lifts your spirits as much it does mine. The support of conservatives across the country for the National Campaign for Academic Freedom is truly making a difference.

Of course, as important as each victory like this is, you understand well the battle that remains. For more than four decades radical leftists have embedded themselves on campuses in every state, from community colleges to major universities and attempted to turn classrooms into political platforms.

These are men and women who've made careers out of their anti-American beliefs - they're not going to give up their turf without a fight. And they'll go to any extreme to crush their enemies - even ruining livelihoods.

Take, for example, the outrageous action undertaken by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) system against Professor Walter Kehowski.

Last fall, as Thanksgiving Day approached, Kehowski emailed his colleagues the text of George Washington's "Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789" along with a link to the webpage where he'd found it - conservative writer Pat Buchanan's web log.

In a very short time, five faculty members filed complaints, claiming Kehowski's email was "hostile" and "derogatory" because of the link to Buchanan's website.

Just days ago Chancellor Rufus Glasper placed Kehowski on leave and recommended his firing. That's right. They want to fire a professor for sending colleagues an email of the text of our first president's Thanksgiving address and because that email had a link to a conservative's website.

I need your financial help to take these two steps right now:

Place an ad in the Maricopa County Communty College District school paper, alerting students to this violation of Kehowski's First Amendment Rights and introducing them to our Campaign and our Academic Bill of Rights.

Continue to expand our Campaign by readying materials for 30 more chapters of Students for Academic Freedom when students return to campuses in mid-August.
Your past support has helped the Center establish more than 215 SAF chapters! They've become powerful resources for students who dare to challenge the radical left's hold on their schools.

Too often our victories - as in the Stetson University case - are bittersweet. The radical left is scared of our National Campaign for Academic Freedom and they turn that fear into vicious attacks whenever and wherever possible.

I hope you will take a moment to stand with me again now. Our goal is to make our campuses bastions of unbiased learning and thinking, not political indoctrination. Thank you again for all of your past support.


Sincerely,
David Horowitz


This effort is, indeed, good news.
I say it's about time!!

If you can help out, please click here.

6 comments:

Ubersehen said...

All this says nothing about the fact that Intelligent Design has not met the rigours required of a scientific theory.

It has also been shown quite clearly to be religiously motivated (as much as it's supporters, who are nearly all Christian, would like it to be otherwise), as revealed, for one, in that infamous little "Wedge Document" that indicates its desire to do away with the practices of modern science and replace it "with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions", all to better "affirm the reality of God." How can you state that Intelligent Design has no religious agenda when such a document clearly states that there is?

All that aside, ID's examples of irreducibly complex structures and organisms (bacterial flagellum, etc) have still been shown to be, well, not.

Perhaps I'm not informed enough on the issue, but might it be that Gonzalez's unsuccessful application for tenure stemmed, largely, because he simply refused to stop promoting scientifically refuted (and, thus, academically dishonest) ideas?

Tenure is a huge honour to bestow on an academic and is only done when the individual's department and colleagues are absolutely confident that the individual will provide a lifetime of valuable research and representation for the institute that grants it to them. Whether or not Gonzalez holds with all the religious trappings of the Intelligent Design movement, as laid out in the Wedge Document (and you should really read what it says, if you haven't already, to see exactly what they're talking about, since it seems like he does subscribe to those trappings), the level of his involvement with the movement, given its current academically reprehensible behaviour in the scientific sphere is more than enough to put his future contributions to Physics and Astronomy very much in question.

Until the Discovery Institute, or any other Intelligent Design/Creationism think-tank, succeeds in redefining science to such a degree that their theories can be accepted (along with those of astrologists and palm-readers, so I'm told), no responsible scientific body could possibly accept any research that doesn't measure up to the understandably high standards set by the scientific method.

Christinewjc said...

Ubersehen,

This post isn't only about ID. It's about the radical left's hold on universities to teach their ideology and thus impose only their ideological beliefs upon the students.

Those professors who do not walk in lock step with the radical left's mindset are subject to ridicule, debasement, scorn; and, what's worse, ultimately silenced through dismissal from the colleges. What is that commonly called?

Anarchy!

The fact that Ward Churchill could get away with his radical rhetoric for many years shows the hypocrisy of the education "elites" and what motivates them to dismiss some, but not others. When these elitists agree with (or, at least tolerate) what is being said by an employee or student, then, and only then, are they not scrutinized as has so obviously been done in the cases of Gonzalez and Kehowski.

Ubersehen said...

Those professors who do not walk in lock step with the radical left's mindset...

The "mindset" of the "radical left" that you're referring to is simply that they follow the established methodology for science research. I doubt that, outside of Gonzalez's ID leanings, the university has any problem with him at all. The issue really is quite simple:

1. Gonzalez actively supports Intelligent Design.

2. Intelligent Design claims to be, but is not, scientific.

3. ISU cannot give tenure to an individual who actively supports a demonstrably false area of research.

...and, what's worse, ultimately silenced through dismissal from the colleges. What is that commonly called?

Anarchy!


I do believe that the college followed very strict procedure in denying Gonzalez tenure. No doubt precedents were consulted, as well as the founding principles of ISU's tenure process, leading to a very thorough review of Gonzalez's overall eligibility. That would constitute a deliberate and concerted use of order and regulations, the very opposite of anarchy.

The fact that Ward Churchill could get away with his radical rhetoric for many years shows the hypocrisy of the education "elites" and what motivates them to dismiss some, but not others.

Should ISU have waited for fifteen years to reject Gonzalez just so things would have been fair?

But seriously, Churchill and Gonzalez are very different situations, involving very different issues. One deals with political speech, as well as poor individual research into these publications. Issues such as freedom of expression came into play making dealing with the man a very difficult procedure. Even still, I agree, ultimately dealing with Churchill went on for far too long. In the end, however, he was removed. Gonzalez, on the other hand, has been denied tenure because his ability to provide a lifetime of valuable scientific research for ISU is very much in question. Whether or not Colorado made a blunder in taking so long to get rid of Churchill has absolutely no bearing on ISU's very appropriate decision to deny Gonzalez tenure.

Christinewjc said...

Ubersehen,

From everything that I have read about Gonzalez, I have not seen any proof that he ever included ID in the classroom. What he does on his own time should not be the factor that determines whether or not he gets tenure.

The article stated that it was fellow professors who thought that his additional research, outside of the university and the teaching he does there, was the only reason why they thought he should be rejected for tenure. Apparently, every paper that he contributed to did not promote ID. Therefore, the university and the professors who vilified him do not have a leg to stand on.

It's a fact. The denial of tenure is based only on Gonzalez's outside work experimenting with the ID hypothesis. I thought that the goal of science exploration includes experimentation and following the evidence where it leads?

Apparently not.

As the following paragraph quotes show, it was the fact that "reputation" is used as a code word for whether one's views are popular among fellow scientists and that the lock-step view of the other professors opinion that Gonzalez was "taking a coincidence too far" were the primarly reasons for denial of tenure.

Quote: 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?

Unquote

an astronomer said...

It would appear that the ID issue not play such a large role in Gonzalez' tenure decision, after all. The Des Moines Register reports that ISU president turned down Gonzalez' appeal of his tenure decision without any consideration of ID issues. The story says that Gonzalez received only $22,661 in grant money since July, 2006, which compares to the physics and astronomy average of $1.3 million prior to tenure. So it would appear that Gonzalez did not meet ISU's research funding standards.

vargas said...

Gonzalez was most certainly turned down because of his views on ID. Many of those involved in the witch hunt against him have said admitted it.

I think the thought police are in full control and out in force these days.