Re: [asa] Expelled Explained

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Apr 15 2008 - 11:15:06 EDT

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 7:46 AM, Austerberry, Charles <
cfauster@creighton.edu> wrote:

>
>
> I don't like what the ISU religion prof. Hector Avalos did to Gonzalez.
> It wasn't necessary. No one would think ISU is pro-ID just because one
> of its professors is pro-ID. But, I also think it's possible that the
> ISU physics dept. decided the tenure case fairly. Tenure decisions
> themselves are hard to judge from the outside as to their fairness. I
> just don't think Dr. Gonzalez should have been the target of a faculty
> letter complaining about his intelligent design work.
>

Neither do I and a number of people who are not pro-ID inside the ASA
expressed our displeasure concerning this to President Geoffreys (both when
it originally happened and while Dr. Gonzalez' tenure was on appeal). That
being said, we really need to separate the original decision and the appeal.
It's human nature that people with unpopular views are going to get extra
scrutiny. To cite another example consider Ward Churchill. His unpopular
views concerning 9/11 got him extra scrutiny. That extra scrutiny popped up
issues with plagiarism and it was for that he was terminated. (Is this still
on appeal?) The same happened with Dr. Gonzalez where his views on ID made
him (in)famous. This resulted in greater scrutiny on his tenure and may have
influenced the way professors voted on his tenure. But, once it was on
appeal it became clear there was insufficient scholarly activity *while he
was at ISU*. The graph I previously posted showed that his output dropped
before PP so it wasn't like he was blocked from publishing because of his
views. Also missing was an important component of students of his
co-publishing with him. The reason why tenure committees look at published
output is to try to predict what kind of academic leader he will be. That's
also why they focus at the output while he is at the institution because now
he is on his own and not under the tutelage of another professor.

While I was an undergraduate at ISU there was a lot of controversy about the
bad influence of the Dungeons and Dragons game. Somehow we were supposedly
going to be sucked into the occult. Rather, what happened was for some
people it proved to be such a *distraction* they ended up dropping out. Many
people have noted that there appears to be a correlation between having ID
views and negative career implications. It is my contention it is not their
views *per se* but the distraction that ID gives that is the issue -- at
least in this case. Dr. Gonzalez was a very talented and promising post-doc
(and that was why he was originally hired by ISU). He got involved with the
IDM and that distracted him from his job. Many of us have career setbacks
and no one mistake is usually fatal. Nevertheless, I am not so optimistic
here. And that's because he has been made the poster child for ID. If he
didn't have that albatross around his neck all he would need to do was kick
up his output back to the level he has proven in the past quite capable of
doing. Now, I don't see any secular university touching him. It's a shame.
It really is.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Tue Apr 15 11:17:14 2008

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