Affirmative Action for Intelligent Design: “Martyr” Gonzalez continues to make a fool of himself

Guillermo Gonzalez, the Intelligent Design proponent who was failed to get tenure at Iowa State University’s astronomy department, is apparently still hell-bent on destroying his own career by making an issue out of it. When ISU originally denied him tenure, they quietly issued him a letter explaining their reasons. They did not publicize their list of criticisms and shortcomings. This is a good thing, of course: doing so would hurt the career prospects of a young Ph.D at other universities. And yet Gonzalez, for all the complaints about discrimination, has still failed to publicize this letter himself. And in the attempt to spin his case as ideological, anti-religious warfare, Gonzalez and the Discovery Institute keep forcing the issue, causing his actual record as a scholar to come under scrutiny. It’s not turning out well for him.

The Discovery Institute has naturally been a model of misdirection on this issue, citing Gonzalez’s publication records prior to his stint as ISU as evidence that he was a superior scholar. This is, as I mentioned, comparing rotten apples to fresh oranges: publishing under someone else’s wing is very different from seeing if you can carry your weight. But the DI is pressing on, now issuing a document purporting to show that Gonzalez published more than in the same time period than the professors who decided on his case: another irrelevant comparison. Even worse for Gonzalez, however, is that this data does contain a relevant comparison, and it is damning. As Ed Brayton over at Dispatches has pointed out that, when you place Gonzalez’s record side by side with the other candidate from his same department that did get tenure, Gonzalez doesn’t even come close to measuring up in either number of new publications or literature citations… the very two things the DI claims are most impressive about Gonzalez. And this isn’t even taking into account his failure to shepard graduate students or bring any significant amount of money into the school (his colleges averaged over a million: he brought in almost nothing at all). Or the actual quality of his work.

What seems clear is that Intelligent Design is quickly turning into little more than a scam for special treatment. They don’t want to play by the rules of science, where a claim must be confirmed or disconfirmed by evidence. They don’t want to be judged like other scientists on the quality of their work or their arguments. If anyone criticizes their work, it’s just a materialist paradigm defending its own. The possibility that their arguments are lousy, as lousy as those of countless normal scientists who have seen their ideas tossed down the crapper by their peers, isn’t even open for discussion. They bristle at the idea that their arguments are essentially based on religious presumption rather than scientific evidence, but then scream religious discrimination at the first sign of resistance to their ideas: even when their critics are themselves religious. If scientists criticize Intelligent Design, then they are engaging in a conspiracy to silence Intelligent Design. If they don’t, they are engaging in a conspiracy of silence to ignore it.

I’m sure other universities, after watching this spectacle, can’t wait to take Gonzalez on now and put up with this sort of behavior.

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9 Responses to Affirmative Action for Intelligent Design: “Martyr” Gonzalez continues to make a fool of himself

  1. mattgalyon says:

    “They don’t want to play by the rules of science, where a claim must be confirmed or disconfirmed by evidence.” Well in that case there should be no theories about the origin of the universe because a Darwinian evolutionist can offer no more “scientific” evidence than a proponent of I.D. These are philosophical theories as to the origins of the universe. We can’t run the creation of the universe through the scientific method. If there is one good thing that is coming out of the postmodern phenomenon in America it is that it exposes the philosophical presuppositions that underlie all arenas in life including mathematics and science.

  2. Bad says:

    Well in that case there should be no theories about the origin of the universe because a Darwinian evolutionist can offer no more “scientific” evidence than a proponent of I.D.

    I think you are confused. Darwinian evolutionists are not cosmologists. Their scope is the diversity of biological life on earth, not physics. Completely different subjects.

    And in any case, you’re going to have to explain that one if you want to apply the same claim to cosmologists vs. ID cosmologist theorists like Gonzalez. The ultimate origin of the universe may well be beyond our ability to see and gather evidence about. And scientists are generally the first to admit that, though we most certainly do not yet know for sure that we can’t know (and may never know) and lots of productive, evidence based research has and is being done into this question. There’s no sign of stopping so far.

    These are philosophical theories as to the origins of the universe.

    Uh, no, again: Darwinian evolution isn’t. Nor is it a philosophical theory. It is a scientific theory within the philosophical discipline of empiricism. Now, empiricism isn’t the only game in town, but it is the only game that can legitimately be called science. But it is pretty unavoidable: you can’t get up in the morning, out of bed, and tie your shoes without first pretty much conceding everything that empiricism requires.

    We can’t run the creation of the universe through the scientific method.

    This is a common confusion. The scientific method does not require the replication of the entire universe to study the history or nature of the universe. Replication is a step used to verify the results of individual experiments, not the conclusions of overall theories about historical events. Of course, the universe is particularly neat in that we can actually see “back in time” to observe what the early universe looked like.

    In any case, your argument is like saying that we can’t know anything about the sinking of the Titanic unless we build another Titanic and then run it into an iceberg. Nonsense.

    If there is one good thing that is coming out of the postmodern phenomenon in America it is that it exposes the philosophical presuppositions that underlie all arenas in life including mathematics and science.

    Heh: I would say that it was mathematics and science that exposed the vacuity of post-modernism, not the other way around.

    And science and math have always been very upfront about their founding presuppositions: there is no “exposing.” You are perfectly welcome to reject the basic axioms of empirical knowledge and always have been. But I’d certainly love to see you try to read and post a response without first presuming them. :)

  3. mattgalyon says:

    Let me first say that I agree with your take on the Gonzalez situation, if he has been performing sub-par in comparison to the other professors the school has every right to let him go. It’s disappointing to see people pull the religion card on both sides of the gun in these instances. It’s sad to see people like Gonzalez bring a bad reputation to all proponents of I.D.

    My comment earlier was a little scatterbrained and not well thought out. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’m still learning on a lot of these issues. I was speaking of Darwinian evolution in regards to the cosmology debate because the arguments against I.D. are built on the framework of Darwinian evolution. I may be wrong, so help me out if you can.

    I do have to disagree that proponents of I.D. like William Dembsky, Michael Behe, and Alvin Plantiga don’t want to be judged like other scientists and philosophers. In an article on evolutionnews.com Jonathan Witt discounts the myth that I.D. is not empirically testable referencing Behe and his argument of the irreducible complexity. I find it hard to believe that Behe is against anyone putting forth scientific evidence to disprove his work. Like I said with regards to Gonzalez, it saddens me to see these professors and scientists who say they hold to I.D. tucking tail and running, but it seems to me that Gonzalez is not the representative for all I.D. proponents. You seem to be putting up a straw man with Gonzalez as exhibit A(and again, he deserves the criticism you’ve given him).

    Once again thanks for taking the time and responding to my comment even though it was all over the place. In regards to that I’d like to maybe email you about some of the stuff you brought up. If you don’t mind, shoot me an email at mattgalyon@gmail.com

    Thanks again.

  4. Bad says:

    The arguments against cosmological ID generally have very little to do with evolution: evolution is a very specific ratchet process that requires certain other conditions to be in place in order to operate. The general argument against cosmo ID is simply that we don’t have any grounds to conclude this or that about the ultimate nature of the universe, because we have no way of knowing what is common for universes, or possible for this one.

    Witt is wrong. IC would not be a test of ID at all: it is merely a potential test (though in practice a far more complex matter than Behe allows) of evolution. Being able to confirm or disconfirm whether evolution created some structure is not the same thing as being able to confirm or disconfirm whether or not a hypothetical being that can do anything did this particular thing.

    Gonzalez is not being put forth by me as exhibit A, he’s being put forth that way by the Discovery Institute, evolutionnews.com, Uncommon Descent, and pretty much every other ID outlet out there.

    Does Dembski want to play by the same rules? His own publications plummeted early in his career: it’s not even clear what he does now. Despite claiming to have developed all sorts of dramatic new mathemtical and information theory insights, he hasn’t published rigorous proofs on any of them: only vague arguments aimed at a popular audience. What’s really telling here is that he cannot blame anti-ID bias for this in the way that some of his collegues do. If he really had a proof of new information theory laws, he could publish them in an IF journal without even mentioning ID at all, and the sorts of things he’s claiming would be pretty darn impressive… if they actually worked. And yet he hasn’t done this. Why?

    Behe’s dropoff hasn’t been quite as dramatic, but it’s there. His one major paper that he claimed supported ID he had to admit on the stand in the Dover trial actually supported the idea that a purported IC system could evolve: even given that his experiment stacked the deck against this. And again, this was essentially just another test of evolution, not a test of ID. How DO you test something that can do anything?

    Plantinga is, of course, not a scientist to begin with, and there are no rules in theology to play by, so he can’t really be faulted for not following them. But I certainly find his theological arguments to have the same flaw: he feels free to help himself to any unbounded supernatural “explanation” he pleases, but doesn’t seem to acknowledge that this quite gives the game away. Once you’ve resorted to going outside of known natural laws, you might as well be able to make up anything you please, meaning that any of the designer explanation is dwarfed by an inifinite number of non-designer situations, all equally as likely as anything else (since what, outside of any known parameters, could make this or that likely or unlikely?)

  5. phillychief says:

    Mattgalyon,

    1) Evolutionnews.com, or Evolutionnews.org? The former isn’t a proper domain but the latter is a DI site.

    2) Behe is too far in at this point to accept a sound, evidentiary rebuttal to his work.

    3) Behe at least appears to have drunk the kool aid and is fully believing his creationist bullshit and won’t even take seriously any counter arguments. See his own take of the Dover trial. The nerve to assert a god as an answer yet discount opposition as “speculation” is amazing.

    Bad,

    Great post and great replies. I’ve bookmarked this.

  6. jimmycracka says:

    “It is a scientific theory within the philosophical discipline of empiricism.”
    Ha ha ha, evolution is to empiricism what psychics are to brain surgery, really. It cracks me up that when the evolution vs. creation debate pops up its always “religion vs. science” blah blah blah. The only reason evolution is so mainstream in education is because radical leftism controls most of the world including the world banking system. Radical leftists have always been out to crush religion or anything that teaches their is something more powerful than the almighty government. Other than that it IS nothing more than a theory as creationism is. However, ID has a lot more evidence leaning towards it. Evolution has none. “Micro evolution”, which is really only variations within a kind is used as “evidence” for macro evolution. Yes a dog can be cross bred with a wolf to form another kind of DOG but that doesn’t mean that dog came from a clam. It doesn’t prove species can form new species. The first phase of the theory of evolution is what discredits it the most. “Billions of years ago there was an explosion in a state of nothingness (nothing exploded) and the particles floated through space and collected matter (space?………matter?…but you said there was nothing).Ask an evolutionist about that. where did the matter come from? Where did space and time come from. Who made the laws you believe in. The laws of thermodynamics, physics, gravity etc. That right there is enough for me. This proves one thing. EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION!!!! Why? Because it would take lots of faith to believe that. Like the codes written on all this computer software, except much more complex, someone had to write DNA codes……………………….who? I know who? Can I tell ya about Him. Oooh I bet that one got ya frothing at the mouth. Go ahead fire away! I’m ready………Jimmy

  7. jimmycracka says:

    Oh yeah, one question. What about Dr. Kent Hovind. Gonzalez is a schmuck and shouldn’t be used as the spokesperson for ID. One more thing before you start ripping me a new asshole with scientific terminology. Where are all the fossils in there transitional phases of changing to a new species. There should be millions if evolution were true. There is nothing! The birds on Galapagos are born with the same beaks as others of its kinds. As they mature the beaks become thicker from having to crack through a coarser diet like muscles and bones on a human adapt to a harder workload. It still doesn’t prove evolution. Again, wheres the fossils???? I’ll admit I don’t have a degree in anything but it doesn’t take a phd to see the holes blown in the theory of evolution and the lack of true science to back it up.

  8. onein6billion says:

    The preceding post does not seem to be a parody, but it’s really hard to judge.

  9. Bad says:

    jimmycracka: Where are all the fossils in there transitional phases of changing to a new species. There should be millions if evolution were true. There is nothing!

    Actually, there are pretty much exactly what we expect to find where we’d expect to find them. Most likely you don’t know what is meant by a transitional fossil. Transitional fossils are rarely dramatic: what they have are a distinct cluster of traits that show them to fall solidly in a certain group but also be ancestral to another group which we previously didn’t know the exact lineage of. As such, whether something is transitional or not is really more a matter of the state of our taxonomic knowledge than it is a factor of the fossil itself. This is very often what confuses laypeople, who expect us to be looking for a dog/cat or Ray Comfort’s “Crocoduck” when in fact both such animals would be evidence against evolution, not for it.

    For instance, you are 100% right that dogs do not have clams as ancestors.

    I’ll admit I don’t have a degree in anything but it doesn’t take a phd to see the holes blown in the theory of evolution and the lack of true science to back it up.

    Anyone who thinks that they can see big holes and mistakes in something that experts haven’t seen is almost certainly fooling themselves: very likely, it is the neophyte who is misunderstanding or confused rather than the theory that is flawed. And in this case, that seems to be the case exactly. Your purported holes appear to be misunderstandings on your part from not knowing what evolution is or says.

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