Re: [asa] University Denies Tenure to Intelligent Design Theorist

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sun May 13 2007 - 22:51:10 EDT

I don't know but it is currently in process of appeal to the
university president. Thus, he couldn't comment in the Ames Tribune
article, nor did Gonzalez comment. In the past it has been claimed
that reason why ID proponents were oppressed was because they didn't
publish in "real" journals or that they were obsessed with an ID
agenda. Gonzalez' paper trail denies both of these assertions. The
only place his privileged planet hypothesis showed up was in a
monograph. All the rest of his papers were on other matters in the
mainstream of astronomy and astrophysics. There could very well be a
good reason why he was denied tenure but let's look at the Ames
Tribune quote again:

> According to ISU's policy on promotion and tenure, evaluation is
> based "primarily on evidence of scholarship in the faculty member's
> teaching, research/creative activities, and/or extension/
> professional practice."

> In addition to that criteria, Gonzalez's department of astronomy
> and physics sets a benchmark for tenure candidates to author at
> least 15 peer-reviewed journal articles of quality. Gonzalez said
> he submitted 68, of which 25 have been written since he arrived at
> ISU in 2001.
> "I believe that I fully met the requirements for tenure at ISU," he
> said

Assuming that what Gonzalez is true with respect to the number of
published journal articles and given the breadth of "quality"
astronomy and astrophysics journals I saw it appears that
departmental requirements have been satisfied. Then the elephant in
the room quote:

> Gonzalez said he would rather not comment on why he believes he was
> denied tenure.

Maybe it was real hard to get tenure at my alma mater. Nope.

> ISU considered 66 faculty cases for promotion and tenure during the
> past academic year. Only three, including Gonzalez, were denied
> tenure.

Gordon, you are on to something about the department versus other
professors. The 120 professor petition at ISU against ID contained no
one in Gonzalez' department. The two main instigators were Hector
Avalos a religious study professor who is the faculty advisor to and
founder of the ISU Atheist and Agnostic Society and Materials Science
Emeritus Professor John Patterson. That name rang a bell with me. I
was a student an engineering student at ISU in the early '80s when
atheist Patterson started his public battles with creationists. To
show you how "unbiased" the pair is see the following from the Iowa
State Daily:

> Atheists offer different perspective on Sept. 11 attacks
> Professor gives non-religious view
> By: by Michaela Saunders
> Iowa State Daily
> Posted: 10/19/01
> More than 150 students and members of the Ames community packed the
> Campanile Room of the Memorial Union Thursday night for an
> alternative perspective of the attacks on the United States last
> month.
> “God didn’t answer on 9-11 Tuesday, because imaginary beings never
> answer anybody — so there,” said John Patterson, professor emeritus
> of materials science and engineering.
> Hector Avalos, faculty adviser for the ISU Atheist and Agnostic
> Society, said free will, the greater good and punishment for sins
> are reasons given by religious people for God’s “lack of response.”
> He refuted each of these claims.
> “Why not let the Taliban women be beaten for the most minor
> infraction if there is a greater good to be served? This position
> is self defeating,” said Avalos, associate professor of religious
> studies.
> Ryan Doyle, sophomore in religious studies, said he learned a lot
> at the hour-long electronic slide presentation.
> “It was very informative,” said Doyle, who said he was raised by a
> Roman Catholic and a Christian Fundamentalist. “There were a lot of
> ideas presented that I haven’t been exposed to before.”
> Avalos said this event gave students a choice.
> “It’s important, because it offers an alternative view that you
> don’t hear very often,” he said.
> “Until now, we haven’t heard from non-religious views on this campus.”
> William Christopher, president of the ISU Atheist and Agnostic
> Society, said he was glad there was a forum for an alternative
> point of view.
> “The other forum was almost completely Christian,” said
> Christopher, junior in biophysics.
> “The views expressed at the beginning of that presentation
> completely discounted secular humanist views.”
> The club’s vice president, Dan Skinner, said he was happy with the
> turnout.
> “When you run out of chairs, you know your forum’s been a success,”
> said Skinner, sophomore in mathematics.
> Patterson was introduced as “a long-term opponent of creationism
> and all things paranormal.”
> He told the crowd science is completely atheistic, and he said all
> religious explanations are counterfeit.
> “All we have is this life,” Patterson said. “Some people cannot
> handle that, and some can’t be moral unless they are threatened
> with eternal hell and damnation.”

On May 13, 2007, at 6:19 PM, gordon brown wrote:

> Is there any information as to the level at which Prof. Gonzalez's
> case was decided? Was he supported by his department only to be
> turned down by a committee of people not in his field?
> Gordon Brown
> Department of Mathematics
> University of Colorado
> Boulder, CO 80309-0395

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Received on Sun May 13 22:52:35 2007

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