Thursday, February 07, 2008


Falling Star

The Iowa Board of Regents voted 7-1 today to uphold Iowa State University's decision to deny Guillermo Gonzalez tenure. Gonzalez, author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery that claims there is evidence for a Designer in astronomy, alleges that he was denied tenure because of his support for the "science" of Intelligent Design. Gonzales said, after the vote:

If academic freedom doesn't defend the professor with minority viewpoints, what good is it?
This is, of course, wrong. The administration did not try to fire him or silence him. The university just refused to offer him one of those "lush positions" Ben Stein thinks exist in academia.

Naturally, the whining began immediately.

[Gonzalez] said he believes the vote may have turned out differently had the regents accepted his request for oral arguments as well as considered a bank of e-mail messages obtained earlier this summer through an open records request by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank leading the intelligent design movement. ...

They say the e-mails point to "hostile colleagues who plotted behind his back, suppressed evidence and then misled the public" by saying Gonzalez's tenure denial was based little, if any, on his advocacy for intelligent design.

"I don't see how they come to reach an informed decision without all of the relevant facts," Gonzalez said today.
If they had those e-mails last summer, certainly Gonzalez and his Discovery Institute handlers had plenty of time to present them as part of the appeal or could have made a request for more time to complete a written submission. Oral argument on the date scheduled for the vote is no place to be presenting "relevant facts." Unless, of course, Expelled needs more dramatic footage. Or this may just be a prelude to litigation, as Gonzalez said he is undecided on whether to further pursue the case in court.

But you'd think the DI would've had its fill of courts.

Via Pharyngula.

Update: The Des Moines Register has more on Gonzalez' complaint about the e-mails being excluded. According to Andy Baumert, the interim executive director of the regents, they were excluded because they had not been considered in the earlier appeals. While you can't push the analogy of this process to that of the courts too far, the Supreme Court, for instance, will not listen to new evidence. The appellant has to go back to the trial court to try to reopen the evidentiary stage.

In any event, the e-mails were truly irrelevant. The DI is trying to confuse two different things. A couple of faculty members said that they didn't think ID was very important in the faculty vote. However, their opinion does not set any standard for the faculty to follow. The faculty can vote on any criteria they like, up to and including personal dislike of the candidate.

The president of the university stated that he did not consider ID in his hearing of Gonzalez' appeal. The president, in promising an objective review, was morally bound, at least, to try to do what he promised: to ignore the ID controversy. The e-mails only went to the factors that might have entered into the faculty vote. If the DI had found anything to bring the president's promise into doubt, we would have heard about it. That means they do bear on any issue of the fairness of the appeals.

It's more smoke and mirrors.

When a proponent of ID is evaluated negatively it is, in their book, censorship and perhaps even persecution.

When they turn around and use the same tactics on those they disagree with, it is "moderation" and an attempt to "elevate discourse".
So, according to Casey, the ID savants at the DI were able to break the encryption of the super-secret emails between Gonzalez' colleagues showing that they're all a bunch of meanies. These emails weren't as super-secret as the ID research program which takes place at an undisclosed location.

By the way, I can't get sued for linking to Answers in G... I mean Evolution News, can I?
This is all a part of the same smug certainty that their voices are the only ones deserving to be heard and the paranoia that derives from that when they are denied a certain stage for their preferential use or forced to share it. Not being able to pass out bibles in public school classes is just the same as leting a Hindu priest pray before a bunch of politicians in Congress. Both are forcing Christians out of the "public square," since both deny them the sole right to be heard on all matters, private or public.

Thus, any ill consequences imposed on good Christians cleverly circumventing the Supreme Court's "improper" interpretation of the Constitution as requiring separation of church and state is impeding God's work, while keeping godless atheists (anyone not a conservative Christian) from spouting vile heresy is advancing it.
I can't get sued for linking to Answers in G... I mean Evolution News, can I?

As lawyers are always at pains to explain, you can be sued for anything, including general mopery. What counts is what you can be successfully sued for.

Luskin should be happy that he cannot be successfully sued for malpractice for giving bad legal advice to the public at large. "Due process" on an administrative appeal on a matter of whether employment for life is going to be given a candidate who had never been given any guarantee in the first place is denied by not allowing oral argument (no doubt to be filmed by the Expelled crew)? You've got to be kidding!
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