09 February 2008

Gonzales Loses Iowa State Tenure Case

"The Iowa Board of Regents denied ISU assistant professor of physics and astronomy Guillermo Gonzalez tenure appeal in a closed session Thursday morning."
And now the IDiots will continue to cry foul. Their claim is that Gonzalez was denied tenure because he believed in intelligent design.

Well, yes. And no. It's not as simple as they'd like you to believe. (Then again, they're masters at being simplistic.)

Gonzalez was denied tenure because he didn't bring in enough research grants, and because he didn't have enough peer-reviewed publications. Iowa State's Department of Physics and Astronomy is a Ph.D. granting program. The highest standards for grant receiving and publication are found in Ph.D. granting programs. Requirements tend to be lower in programs that grant no higher than a Master's degree, and are lowest at colleges that grant only Bachelor's degrees (where often there are no grant or publication requirements at all--just a "keep your nose clean" standard for receiving tenure.)

Gonzales just didn't meet the tenure standards of a Ph.D. granting program. And it's unlikely that he could, while focusing on something as unscientific as creationism, intelligent design. Assuming ID had some scientific bases, he could have received some grants and published some peer-reviewed articles about it. Let's assume nobody would approve a grant or article bluntly asserting intelligent design. Just don't bluntly assert it. Let the evidence speak for itself, and you'll never have to use those words. It's fairly easy to overcome bias in science--just do some research that somebody else can replicate. Gonzaeles didn't do that.

He'll probably land at a Bachelor's granting Christian college. There's nothing wrong with that. I work at a B.A. granting institution (with a weak denominational affiliation), I'm on the verge of receiving tenure, and I've published a fair amount, but not what would get me tenure at a Ph.D. granting school. So I don't think Gonzalez' dearth of publications is itself something to criticize, just his claim that he did enough to get tenure at Iowa State.

The ID advocates have been unable to get peer reviewed publications except through deceit and trickery. Alfred Wegener's theory of drifting crustal plates was criticized as loony, but accumulating evidence convinced everyone. The problem for ID is that they keep insisting that lack of evidence proves creation--that is, if we can't find any evidence at present for a particular feature of some organism, then we must assume it was designed. But of course the absence of evidence can never be evidence of absence. Lack of evidence proves exactly nothing except we don't at present have any evidence. If Gonzalez can't figure that out--and I bet he really can, and is just fighting to save a good job--then he's not much of a scientist anyway.

No comments: