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Friday, May 18, 2007

Updates on "Privileged Planet" astronomer dumped by Iowa State University

If you have been following this controversy, you will know that gifted and productive astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez - best known for the Privileged Planet film narrated by John Rhys-Davies (Gimli in Lord of the Rings) and the subsequent uproar when it was shown at the Smithsonian - has become an unperson at his post at Iowa State University (denied tenure), apparently on account of his sympathy with the idea that there is meaning and purpose in the universe.

Go here and here for previous posts on this developing story.

Here are the most recent developments:

- The Iowa State spin doctors have posted a FAQ on the Web site. It practically defines organized dissembling, and should be studied for that reason alone.

- Gonzalez is a fellow of the Discovery Institute and they have been defending him in a series of posts:
Tenure Statistics Contradict Iowa State’s Claim that “many good researchers have failed to satisfy the demands of earning tenure” at ISU In fact, few have failed to gain tenure and the number has dropped significantly over the last few years, focusing attention on the fact that ISU refused Gonzalez. Also, the claim that he didn't raise enough money for the department is awkward because that was not one of the standards they were supposed to use. Anyway, some faculty even admit that ID was one of the reasons he was denied tenure. The hilarious part is that if ID really was religion, as so many claim, they would be guilty of religious discrimination. But don't count on anyone there noticing that. Oh, and here for mor departmental anti-ID stuff.

Disco also offers a biosketch of Gonzalez (News flash: He is decidely not a member of the Taliban) and a tour of the kind of scuzz that passes for discussion of the issues raised by intelligent design at popular science blogs. (Note: Get a load of the "angry astronomer", for example.)

- Don't miss The Brites' take on the whole thing. The Brites are an ID-friendly spoof of the entirely serious Darwinist group, The Brights.

- Here's a comment from Gonzalez himself from back in the fall of 2005, when he thought he could just brazen out the stupid attacks of the atheist yay-hoos infesting religion departments.

- Here's a classic in the kind of garbage that Gonzalez has had to defend himself against. (No joke. This guy is apparently taken seriously. 120 faculty signed his anti-intelligent design petition that does not mention Gonzalez but everyone not hiding under a rock for the last five years knew that was who the petition meant to target.)

- I have been somewhat critical of the American Scientific Affiliation of late, because their "ASA list" was a home to all sorts of flotsam and jetsam, attacking most viable Christian positions on life and the universe. However, some of the more responsible members of that list have been - I am very glad to say - outspoken in support of Gonzalez, and disinclined to believe the spin from the "unpersons creation committees" at Iowa State U. (Follow the threads here.) They seem to have begun to notice what the ID theorists have been coping with for years - the concerted efforts of materialists to destroy all non-materialists in academia who have any evidence that might support their view. But I have little faith in the ASA guys. They will not get real. They have recently begun to discuss (poss May 16 and 17) whether they would have signed an amended petition, similar to the one Hector Avalos' used to attack Gonzalez, drafted to their liking. The worst thing I could ever say about any of them is, yes, maybe ...

(I have said this a zillion times: No one cares if you have a PhD in some science and feel like hollering for Jesus. Or feel like a popsicle. Or feel like a dog. The mugging starts when you say, "I have evidence that materialism is not true." For that you will suffer, as many have and do.

If you have evidence, you must be a materialist, for your own safety. If you are not a materialist, you cannot have evidence. That rule is called methodological naturalism, if you must know the fancy terminology. It is a popular way for Christians and other theists to sell out quietly to materialism.)

- Is it possible that many theists/Christians/people who want to judge the evidence for themselves are beginning to wonder about the significance of the fact that it is legitimate to attack Christians and theists generally at American universities? Don't assume too quickly that attacks on them will be considered viewpoint discrimination. Non-materialist viewpoints, supported by evidence, are simply not to be tolerated.

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