[asa] Guillermo Gonzalez mugging

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Mon May 14 2007 - 08:47:58 EDT

I learned about this late Sat, from a friend close to ID. I have been
unable to comment here or elsewhere, and will be unable to comment much even
now and in the near future--my wife and I had to leave early yesterday
morning to attend a family funeral and related events several hours away
from home. Coupled with having to bring my daughter home from college and
somehow complete final exam week, I do not expect to be able to take this
all in for several days.

For the time being, however, I state uncategorically my anger and
disappointment about this academic mugging. I am more than a little annoyed
by Pim's efforts to suggest that Guillermo was not a top junior
scientist--give it a rest, Pim, his record is far more impressive than that
of most young scientists at similar universities. Having followed events
there in recent years pretty closely, it is clear to me that this results
from "viewpoint discrimination" of the most vicious kind. No one at Cornell
or Oxford or Harvard initiates petition drives to ensure that the public
does not think the university endorses the religious interpretations of
science advanced by Sagan, Atkins, Dawkins, Wilson, or anyone else on those
faculties. It was simply outrageous that Avalos did this to
Gonzalez--utterly and completely outrageous--and it has led to this, IMO.
Pim suggests that the university's reputation was brought into question by
Gonzalez' work. Well, Pim, let me remind you of something. sUniversities
foster something called academic freedom. This means that anyone knows that
Dawkins doesn't speak for Oxford any more than Sagan speaks for Cornell or
Gonzalez speaks for Iowa State. Is it really less acceptable, for Gonzalez
to write a very good book giving science a religious interpretation, than
for Dawkins or Sagan to do the same thing?

I wrote the ISU president two years ago, and alerted him explicitly to the
possibility that the faculty advisor to the campus atheist organization was
deliberately orchestrating an effort to discredit an untenured facutly
member. It now appears to me that I was entirely correct in issuing that
alert. I plan to follow up on this more formally, and I invite members of
this list to contact me PRIVATELY if they want to be given the opportunity
to co-sign a strongly worded statement about this. Guillermo is an ASA
member, and I am fully convinced that he has fallen victim to religious
discrimination, pure and simple. I invite those private communications.
You'll hear from me when I can get my head back above water.

With disgust,


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Received on Mon May 14 08:48:46 2007

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