Friday, May 25, 2007

Intelligent Design and Academic Freedom

How many unborn toddlers were murdered today because of the humanistic, paganish decisions of the United States Supreme Court?

Stop the
Murder of

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4: 17 (NIV)

I have just begun reading The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. I’m not a particular fan of the concept of Intelligent Design for one obvious reason—it does not specifically give praise, glory, and honor to GOD for HIS creation. On the front cover of the book, the following is printed:
“You think you know about Darwinism and Intelligent Design. But did you know:
1) The famous ‘ape to man’ species chart is based on guesswork, not evidence
2) Intelligent design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief
3) What many public schools teach about Darwinism is based on known falsehoods
4) Scientists at major universities see good evidence for intelligent design
5) Scientists who question Darwinism are punished—by public institutions using your tax dollars” (The numbering of the five “did you know” were by my addition) The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, by Jonathan Wells, Ph.D., Regnery Publishing, Inc., One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., 20001, © 2006, front cover.

This is certain: Intelligent Design is correct in that it argues that creation and man demonstrates design and that design requires intelligence. The problem, of course, is that the concept does not define the designer as GOD. Thus, Intelligence Design is correct but incomplete. That, of course, is certainly better than the nonsensical, unscientific concept of Darwin’s slime to man. Certainly, the best explanation is GOD CREATED as specifically declared in the WORD of GOD throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

I recently received my latest edition of World magazine, May 26, 2007. A short article on page 24 was entitled “Publish and perish” with the subheading “Iowa State denies tenure to an intelligent design advocate with impeccable credentials.” The article was written by Mark Bergin. I don’t think you will find another article in the mass media magazines covering this same story. I certainly did not see a newspaper story about it. Since one of the points quoted above was “Scientists who question Darwinism are punished—by public institutions using your tax dollars” and since Iowa State is one such public institution, I thought I would quote the article in its entirety. Here it is:

“Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez never anticipated becoming a test case for academic freedom. Soft-spoken and mild-mannered, the self-described ‘geek-scientist’ is heralded throughout his field for developing the concept of a Galactic Habitable Zone. Journals such as Nature, Science, and Scientific American have featured his work.

But in his spare time, Gonzalez shuns scientific orthodoxy to research evidence of intelligent design (ID), an extracurricular pursuit that draws sharp criticism from many colleagues and now threatens his job. Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy denied Gonzalez tenure last month despite a distinguished publishing record that includes 68 peer-reviewed articles.

‘I was surprised and a little depressed,’ Gonzalez said of his emotional reaction. ‘I almost decided not to turn in an appeal, but several friends convinced me to do so. This might have precedent, so it was important for me to go through it for the sake of others who might go through this in the future.’

Gonzalez filed his appeal May 8. President Geoffroy has until June 6 to consider overturning his initial ruling, an unlikely reversal that would defy the consensus recommendation from the tenured faculty of the Physics and Astronomy Department, a committee from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the dean of that college, and the university provost.

Gonzalez elected not to share with WORLD the specific stated reasons for his tenure denial or the substance of his appeal, fearing such public revelations might hinder the process. He referred to the disputed issues in more general terms: ‘I really don’t think they have a legitimate reason for denying me tenure.’ He also said that possible discrimination for his views on intelligent design was one of his concerns.

Geoffroy declined to make any public comment on the matter while it remains under review. But Eli Rosenberg, chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department, told WORLD the central issue was not ID: ‘That was not an overriding factor in the decision that was made at the departmental level. You take a look at somebody’s research record over the six-year probationary period and you get a sense whether this is a strong case. Clearly, this was a case that looked like it might be in trouble.’

John West of the ID-advancing Discovery Institute, which counts Gonzalez among its senior fellows, scoffs at that explanation. ‘His department’s standards for excellence in research require 15 peer-reviewed publications. Guillermo has nearly 70,’ West said. ‘It’s pretty apparent that the reason for this tenure denial is because he is a proponent of intelligent design.’ Statistics obtained by the Discovery Institute reveal that 91 percent of faculty up for tenure this year were approved. Gonzalez fell short of that soft standard despite co-authoring one of his department’s textbooks last year.

Two years ago, on the heels of Gonzalez publishing his pro-ID book The Privileged Planet, Iowa State religious studies professor Hector Avalos circulated a petition calling for university faculty to denounce ID as non-science. (Notice two things: one reason why the mass media may not be covering this story is because they don’t want to publicize the book—The Privileged Planet. Publicize the existence of such a book and the possible scandal of the denial of tenure and people might buy the book and have their views influenced by the material presented. It’s better to remain silent and let it blow over rather than make it a news worthy story. Also, it seems that Hector Avalos is not a scientist since he is a professor of religious studies.—my addition) Avalos, an avowed atheist, procured the signatures of 120 faculty members and generated what Gonzalez calls ‘an extreme level of hostility against me.’ (Does it seem strange than so many professors in religious studies seem to be atheists, if Avalos is one? Maybe, it just seems to be that way and most have some religious belief. I don’t know.—my addition)

Curtis Struck, a colleague of Gonzalez in the Physics and Astronomy Department and professor at ISU for 24 years, told WORLD he was not surprised by the decision to deny tenure. ‘Some of Guillermo’s papers any astronomer would be proud to have written. Some others that is not the case,’ Struck said. ‘He includes some things in his astronomy résumé that other people regard as taking a coincidence too far.’ (Do you think this professor is referring to Intelligent Design?—my addition)

Specifically, Gonzalez listed The Privileged Planet on his résumé when applying for tenure. Rosenberg ([the chairman of the Physics and Astronomy Department] I had to go back into the article to remember who he is so I thought I would save you the trouble.—my addition) admitted that the presence of that text played into the decision-making process. He also explained that the reputation of a professor among others in the field is a significant factor. (Is this peer pressure rather than academic freedom?—my addition)

Gonzalez said he does not regret his ID work despite the resultant grief. He has never introduced the topic into his classes and sees no reason why academia should require him to abandon a personal interest. ‘I’ve never been involved in any of the educational debates over whether creation or evolution should be taught in schools. I just want to do ID research on my time,’ he said. ‘Maybe I should have waited until after I received tenure.’ (It seems that Iowa State University believes he should have more free time to devote to Intelligent Design research!—my addition)

What do you think? Of course, based upon the information given, we can not draw a definitive conclusion. But, what do you think? Do you believe he was denied tenure in balance because of his work on Intelligent Design and his publication of The Privileged Planet? (I thought I recognized this title. Lee Strobel in his book The Case for a Creator lists the book The Privileged Planet in his section at the end of Chapter Seven entitled “FOR FURTHER EVIDENCE: More Resources on This Topic”)

Could it be when other scientists, as broadcast by the mass media, claim that no reputable scientist believes in Intelligent Design it is because they have intimidated such scientists into silence and/or they simply refuse to mention those who do because it contradicts their own view point on the subject. Is this another case of the liars shouting down those who disagree? Is this another case of intimidating those who disagree?

Where is the academic freedom that academics claim is so important for learning? If there were real academic freedom, wouldn’t academics push for a plethora of views, rather than only one, attempting to stimulate discussion and honest intellectual debate? What are they afraid of? THE TRUTH!!!


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