Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Inquisition Lite

The Discovery Institute has announced that their sacrificial lamb, Guillermo Gonzalez, will continue to shred whatever chance he had of getting into another good astronomy department by appealing his denial of tenure to the University Regents and allowing the DI to make a cause célèbre out of a fairly common academic event. Those with reputations as grimly determined administrative headaches simply won't get hired elsewhere.

Of course, the Regents might be more sensitive to political factors and could well consider having an educational white elephant of the order of Michael Behe on their hands is a small price to pay to avoid the hassle.

In any event, the DI will be humping this for all its worth and much, much more. Unfortunately, this is an issue that may get them some traction among people outside the paranoiac confines of the Righteous Right. Despite the fact that tenure is no one's "right" but, instead, is guaranteed employment for life awarded on many factors outside simple competence, the American impulse for "fair play" and hearing out "both sides" of any question can be easily manipulated in a case such as this.

But, as Stephen Jay Gould famously said:

A man does not attain the status of Galileo merely because he is persecuted; he must also be right.

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