Re: [asa] Guillermo Gonzalez mugging

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon May 14 2007 - 20:52:51 EDT

Terry, I agree with you, except that I'd want to qualify a couple of things:

1. Academic freedom should be the birthright of all faculty, tenured or
not. I understand what you're saying as a practical matter, particularly as
I'm one of the untenured masses, although in a discipline that's a bit more
freewheeling than the natural sciences, so, sure, I have to let the tenure
requirements and to some extent the politics cabin my choices for now. But
just because some self-censorship is wise doesn't mean it's good. (I'm also
a very atypical academic, having come to the ivory tower a bit later in life
after a career in the trenches, so I'm a little less willing to duck and
cover at the stage in my life....)

2. By all means, young folks, strive for tenure ... or for a vice
presidency in your company, or for a partnership in your firm, or whatever.
But let me offer something from hard-won experience clawing my way to one of
those brass rings: don't let any such goal become an idol. Life is too
long to think that it everything will end if some goal isn't achieved, and
it's too short to sacrifice family, friends, and faith to a career. If you
work hard with the primary aim of glorifying God, if you recognize that your
work is only one aspect of who you are in Christ, if you love people richly
and deeply and if you aren't ashamed of the Gospel, God will honor you --
maybe not with the "success" you initially sought in exactly the way you
first sought it, but above all with His presence and peace, and with the
reward of completing the race He has set before you. That's what it's
really all about.

On 5/14/07, Terry M. Gray <> wrote:
> Some aspects of this discussion remind me a bit of the advice given
> in Richard Bube's "So You Want to Be a Science Professor"
> ( ). His #1
> piece of advice is "Get Tenure". He refers to pre-tenure as
> "trial-by-fire, a 6-year indentured servanthood". This is not to
> comment necessarily on Gonzalez' case--perhaps it's more of a
> reflection on my own experience. The reality in the academic world
> today is that you must devote yourself to those things that
> those who will be judging you think to be important. Other issues--
> perhaps more interesting to you personally--should be put
> on the back burner until you've jumped through the tenure hoop.
> Whether this is Christian perspectives issues or even a more
> speculative research program, you might not be able to do it at all
> if you don't get tenure.
> As for the academic freedom issue, there's a sense in all this in
> which academic freedom is only for tenured faculty. After all, that's
> one of the purposes of tenure.
> TG
> On May 14, 2007, at 3:36 PM, wrote:
> > Pim wrote
> >
> >> For a wide range of opinions see for instance Denyse O'Leary on a
> >> young gifted astronomer
> >>
> >> on-gifted-id.html
> >> arguing that this is all a dark conspiracy against ID, Christianity
> >> etc or Ed Brayton on the brutal realities of tenure
> >>
> >> tenure_and_the_id_persecution.php
> >>
> >> Brayton describes the 'adventures' of Sean Carroll who was denied
> >> tenure even though he had quite an impressive publication record,
> >> etc.
> >>
> >
> >
> > Quite likely, the truth lies somewhere on one side or
> > the other of the middle.
> >
> > I do think it best you stay off of his involvement in
> > ID when questioning his credentials. In general,
> > scientists spend their life on their work, and
> > often sacrifice family, friends, relations, (basically
> > life) trying to push ahead their career. If we start
> > impugning involvement in harmless extra curricular
> > activities, and I would consider the intellectual
> > persuit of ID harmless, then we also can expect
> > anyone else who seeks a life outside of science, such as
> > campaigning for some cause, or playing in an orchestra,
> > or spending time with the boy scouts or any other
> > activity that keeps the scientist from always worshiping
> > his/her job, we are all in trouble. You wonder if
> > universities ever ask what they expect a scientist
> > to do after he/she retires, having sacrificed family,
> > hobby, and self all to the great god.
> >
> > We have all sinned, and surely, working long enough
> > in one place, much can be claimed on anyone.
> >
> > by Grace we proceed,
> > Wayne
> >
> >
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
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Received on Mon May 14 20:53:02 2007

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