Thought Police Try To Stifle Academic Freedom at Iowa State University

Staff
Discovery Institute
September 1, 2005
In a blatant attack on academic freedom a small number of faculty at Iowa State University have organized a petition denouncing intelligent design as unscientific and urged the university community to essentially ban the theory from campus.

“The Darwinist inquisition is spreading,” said Bruce Chapman, president of Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think-tank researching the theory of intelligent design. “Darwinists at George Mason University, Ohio State University, and the Smithsonian have recently hunted down and tried to disgrace scientists and educators for daring to defy the Darwinian orthodoxy. Now we see that the witch hunt has turned to Iowa State University and is focused on an astronomer, Guillermo Gonzalez.”

Dr. Gonzalez, a senior fellow of Discovery Institute, is internationally known among astronomers and cosmologists as an expert on the astrophysical requirements for habitability and on habitable zones. He is a co-founder of the concept of Galactic Habitable Zones (GHZ). He and his colleagues captured the cover of Scientific American for their foundational and defining work on the very idea of GHZs. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed science papers, the latest being “Habitable Zones in the Universe” forthcoming in the journal Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres.

He is also a leading scientist who has put forward a testable argument for intelligent design--drawing on research from cosmology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics--and it is this that has spurred attempts to stifle scientific inquiry and academic freedom.

The Des Moines Register reports that faculty members have “accused Gonzalez of having a hidden religious agenda” and “fingering him as an academic fraud.” Gonzalez has commented that the incident has made his work environment less than collegial.

“A small group of narrow-minded and intolerant faculty members have started a petition to rule out intelligent design as inherently unscientific; and are seeking to essentially ban it from being researched, taught, even discussed, at ISU,” said Chapman. “In so doing they have targeted the only person on the campus who publicly is known to defend intelligent design in his work.”