From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Thu May 17 2007 - 12:32:10 EDT

>>> "Dick Fischer" <> 5/17/2007 10:44 AM >>>writes:

I can see a glaring difference in your examples. Oxford is in the UK,
and Cornell and Harvard are privately funded institutions. Iowa State
is a state university and relies on public funding.

Ted replies:
Cornell is a mixed bag--both public and private. In any event, I think
this is a red herring. Faculty at all US research universities get funds
from the same sources. More to the point, let's do a thought expt. Let's
suppose that Prof Avalos were not on faculty at ISU. Would there then be
this petition against Gonzalez? I very much doubt it. We have prima facie
reasons to think that Avalos felt threatened by Gonzalez' presence and
potential influence (of a conservative religious nature) on his campus and
wanted him removed. Having talked to people in contact with lots of faculty
there, my sense is that this is an accurate impression of what probably

Again, these other things are red herrings. Faculty at many other public
universities write controversial books, some of them giving religious
interpretations to aspects of their disciplines. Yet their colleagues don't
organize petitions dissociating the university from their views. The one
exception I can think of, was the faculty member at U of Colorado, who said
ridiculous and offensive things about 9/11, and even he has not been
dismissed (a fac committee voted 3-2 to suspend him, not to dismiss him).
And that isn't in the same league as what Guillermo was writing about.

Ronald Nash (Christian), Michael Ruse (agnostic), and Bob Kingdon
(Christian), all public university faculty, have all written about their
beliefs and their disciplines; none has encountered this type of response on
the part of their colleagues. And, no one assumes that the university
necessarily endorses their religious opinions: no petition is needed. Nor
was any petition needed in Gonzalez' case.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu May 17 12:32:45 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu May 17 2007 - 12:32:46 EDT