Iowa State Faculty Admit Intelligent Design Played Role in Scientist’s Tenure Denial

Staff
Discovery Institute
May 18, 2007
Print ArticleAmes, IA – Two Iowa State University (ISU) faculty members of the department that rejected astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure application have admitted that his work on intelligent design played a role in the department’s denial of tenure.

“What possible academic reason was there to deny tenure to a candidate who met or exceeded every requirement?” asked Dr. John West, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, the nation’s leading think-tank supporting research into the scientific theory of intelligent design. “This is clearly a case of viewpoint discrimination and an attack on Dr. Gonzalez’s academic freedom and free speech rights.”

In a World magazine article released today, physicist Eli Rosenberg, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is described by the magazine as having admitted that Gonzalez's pro-ID book The Privileged Planet “played into the decision-making process. Rosenberg went on to explain that the reputation of a professor in his field is a significant factor.

“Normally a scientist’s reputation is based on publishing scientific articles, which Gonzalez excelled at,” said West. “Of course, if instead ‘reputation’ is used as a code word for whether one’s views are popular among fellow scientists, then this is another way anti-ID bias entered into the decision.”

ISU Astronomy Professor Curtis Struck, meanwhile, told World that he was not surprised at the tenure denial given Gonzalez’s intelligent design research that “people regard as taking a coincidence too far.”

The comments from Struck mean that at least three of the five tenured astronomers in Gonzalez’s department have now been tied to anti-ID bias. As discovered earlier this week, another tenured astronomer in the department signed a statement circulated by the Darwinist lobby organization National Center for Science Education denouncing intelligent design as “creationist pseudoscience,” while the husband of a third astronomy professor at ISU signed the same statement.

Dr. Rosenberg tried to do damage control by claiming that there was something deficient about Dr. Gonzalez’s sterling research record: “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.”

“Really? Was Gonzalez somehow remiss in publishing 350% more peer-reviewed publications than his own department’s stated standard for research excellence?” asked West. “Or in co-authoring a college astronomy textbook with Cambridge University Press? Or in having his research recognized in Science, Nature, Scientific American, and other top science publications?

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