Public university hires leader in intelligent design

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http://www.thestarpress.com/article/...

Apparently Mr. Gonzalez will start out teaching a couple of introductory astronomy classes. Should the scientific community be outraged?

I wouldn't say outraged, but I would say concerned, given the details of the situation.

As long as he's not using his classroom as a platform for evangelizing his unscientific beliefs, or teaching that the sun was created on the fourth day, I don't have a problem with his hire.

No way would I take him seriously as an academic, though - and if other students feel likewise, I could see that being a liability for him.

BSU and other professors should not be shocked if grants are hard to come by or if the college board looks into matters. Swap terms around and say that a medical school hires on a faith healer. Or a history department hires on a prominent holocaust denier. This is about the same thing, except the babbling bible belters have a political voice.

No outrage here. If he can teach the course, he can teach the course. I thought inteligent design was more about biology, the miracle of DNA or evolution than the order of planets, retrograde, constellations and gas nebulae.

fangblackbone wrote:

No outrage here. If he can teach the course, he can teach the course. I thought inteligent design was more about biology, the miracle of DNA or evolution than the order of planets, retrograde, constellations and gas nebulae.

Pretty much.

Should he decide to venture into a different discipline and muddy the waters, however, there are usually mechanisms for academic discipline.

There are two possible reasons for the hire, assuming the BSU official isn't a member of an offshoot of The Family:

1) They're counting on the "edgy" pushing of the bounds of academic freedom to attract attention. Which it has.

2) They figured, "Hey, our name is 'Ball State.' People are gonna mock us no matter what we do."

Not thrilled. Even if his ID beliefs don't color his teaching in some way (and I'd bet they will - some students will probably bring them up in class to mock him, if nothing else), I feel people who publicly espouse ridiculous beliefs like ID should be blackballed from all public university teaching positions. Those beliefs damage the person's credibility, IMO, especially if they continue to hold onto them despite all the evidence to the contrary.

fangblackbone wrote:

No outrage here. If he can teach the course, he can teach the course. I thought inteligent design was more about biology, the miracle of DNA or evolution than the order of planets, retrograde, constellations and gas nebulae.

ID is just a rebrand of creationism. It would be exceptionally difficult for him to teach about astronomy when he thinks the universe is only 6,000 years old.

The linked article didn't help me see where he takes these beliefs.

At first I wasn't sure if he was in the camp that would postulate something like - 'since we don't know what occurred before the big bang, perhaps a deity set the rules in motion and the universe and all that has come flowed naturally from that.' This approach is different than the universe is only 6,000 years old because what my bible in English says crowd.

Even looking at the wikipedia page about his book didn't really seem to cover what it was.

I did find http://ncse.com/rncse/25/1-2/review-... which is a negative review of the book and does seem to hold that Mr. Gonzalez is arguing life only could happen on Earth with divine inspiration.

While holding controversial opinions shouldn't bar someone immediately (after all good science such as evolution was controversial) but I find it hard to believe there wasn't one better qualified candidate who could better back up their beliefs.

I was under the impression that ID was looking for God in the wonder of science. Things like that banana video where the narrator marvels that God created bananas to miraculously fit into our hand on the straightforward end. And other stuff like looking at how complex and ordered the structure of DNA is means that it had to be designed by a higher power.

I don't recall any creationism stuff in ID because I am pretty sure that ID acknowledges science. It just assumes that the conclusion of all ground breaking discoveries will lead to proof of God.

Its like the difference between someone thinking the solar system revolves around the earth and someone who believes in a helio centric solar system but that the precision with which the planets and moons move around the sun without crashing into each other proves that God exists.

ID as said upthread is literally a re-branding of creationism. Not only was it actually proven so in the Dover trial, just listen to any ID proponent anywhere talk about "teaching the controversy".

ID is not looking for god in science. It is putting god in place of science and completely ignoring any and all contrary or conflicting evidence. It the exact opposite of science.

ID was created after creationism in schools was smacked down by the courts. It's just more goalpost shifting in order to trojan religion into schools.

Dammit BSU, I start classes there in Aug. According to my friend they already have a few religious nutjobs running around proselytizing and whatnot. Actually hiring one?

I have no idea what ID is, because all of its propoenents keep spending time and money to tell me what it is not.

All that I have managed to gleen is that they make no positive statements, but seek to refute the theory of evolution and refute painting them as creationists.

And I am not sure how something that posits nothing can be scientific or of any educational value.

Nope. ID holds things like there's no way a complex organ like the eye could have ever evolved ergo there is a higher power that did it who just so happens to be the Christian god.

The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District tore apart the assertion that DI was different than creationism. At one point in the trial the plaintiff's lawyers pulled out galleys of the ID "textbooks" the school district had gotten from the Discovery Institute. They showed that the ID textbooks were exactly the same as the institute's creationism version except for one, tiny detail: every mention of the word "creationism" had been replaced with the phrase "intelligent design."

Judge Jones' opinion on the case is a beautiful and extremely detailed take down of ID and one that shows the history of how creationism morphed into ID.

As Nuean said ID mainly came about as a way to try and wrap science language around a counter argument to evolution. The most common example I've seen is people talking about how complex the human eye is and trying to suggest that no incremental process would start at one place and end with the human eye and therefore, presto, only a divine hand could created it.

In my mind this same wonder at that actually supports evolution because of the number of different ways eyes have developed in a number of different animals.

I did want to mention, if you watch Ben Stein's movie. You get a big let down because it spends half the movie painting the scientific community and those who deal directly with evolutionary theories-anthropologists, botanists, etc as atheists and god haters; the other half is about how Hitler was a big fan of Darwin.

I keep meaning to go to the local Discovery Institute, maybe someone else can go to theirs.

fangblackbone wrote:

No outrage here. If he can teach the course, he can teach the course. I thought inteligent design was more about biology, the miracle of DNA or evolution than the order of planets, retrograde, constellations and gas nebulae.

As far as I'm concerned - as long as he keeps his faith from the lecture course (of which it is entirely possible to do) then he's fine. There are many people who "have faith" within the scientific community that manage to perform their jobs without bias... and yet there are many more who perform their jobs with either monetary or belief bias or worse already... accepting one more person who promises to "behave" won't, IMO really change anything.

Of course, I'd love a full time position in astronomy... I'd get Scott Manley to write my lectures for me!

Interesting. I hadn't realized that "intelligent design" had recently been co-opted to represent creationism. The classical definition of ID, while still deist, tends to be fairly compatible with the theory of evolution--the watchmaker argument, for example.

OG_slinger wrote:

The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District tore apart the assertion that DI was different than creationism. At one point in the trial the plaintiff's lawyers pulled out galleys of the ID "textbooks" the school district had gotten from the Discovery Institute. They showed that the ID textbooks were exactly the same as the institute's creationism version except for one, tiny detail: every mention of the word "creationism" had been replaced with the phrase "intelligent design."

See also: Cdesign Proponentsists. The "missing link" between ID and creationism.

I personally think that if he is qualified to teach the course then his religious background should not matter. Not every Christian out there is a "Bible Thumper" or some crazed individual that thinks "God hates gays" like some of those down south. As long as he keeps his religious views to himself, there should be no problem.

Duoae wrote:

There are many people who "have faith" within the scientific community that manage to perform their jobs without bias...

How many of those members of the scientific community are actually doing jobs that challenge the core principals of their faith? Not many to none.

This guy is going to be teaching astronomy and yet believes the entire universe was created in seven days some six thousand years ago, something astronomy itself says is absolute hooey. I have an exceptionally hard time believing he's going to be able to objectively teach a topic that so threatens his deeply-held personal beliefs.

He should be immediately fired, along with whoever hired him. He can get a nice job at some barely accredited Christian college where he can teach bullsh*t to people who want to lap up even more bullsh*t.

The Conformist wrote:

I personally think that if he is qualified to teach the course then his religious background should not matter. Not every Christian out there is a "Bible Thumper" or some crazed individual that thinks "God hates gays" like some of those down south. As long as he keeps his religious views to himself, there should be no problem.

I suppose so. Larry Lessig teaches at Harvard given some of his pretty outrageous statements and publications on copyright and patents. He mostly deals in ethics at Harvard, not IP law though.

OG_slinger wrote:
Duoae wrote:

There are many people who "have faith" within the scientific community that manage to perform their jobs without bias...

He should be immediately fired, along with whoever hired him. He can get a nice job at some barely accredited Christian college where he can teach bullsh*t to people who want to lap up even more bullsh*t.

I'm sorry man but you saying something like this is no different than someone saying "those negro's should go back to there own schools" or "those homosexuals should just be segregated to themselves". Intolerance is intolerance and you are being very much so. As a Christian I can say that what I believe is definitely not bullsh*t in my eyes and think that your opinion could be very offensive to a large group of people. Not all Christians are bad man.

The Conformist wrote:

I'm sorry man but you saying something like this is no different than someone saying "those negro's should go back to there own schools" or "those homosexuals should just be segregated to themselves". Intolerance is intolerance and you are being very much so. As a Christian I can say that what I believe is definitely not bullsh*t in my eyes and think that your opinion could be very offensive to a large group of people. Not all Christians are bad man.

So should I submit every one of my posts to you in advance so you can make sure they don't contain anything other Christians might be offended by or do you guys have some sort of centralized censoring service I should use?

Or perhaps you should sense the tremendous irony of you, a member of the dominant religion in this country, telling me, an atheist, that I should shut up because what I have to say somehow hurts your feelings.

For the record, ID and evolutionary thought are not incompatible. The general consensus is that God guided the evolutionary process.

OG, I think The Conformist is more upset with your insulting rhetoric and tone than your atheistic views.

complexmath wrote:

Interesting. I hadn't realized that "intelligent design" had recently been co-opted to represent creationism. The classical definition of ID, while still deist, tends to be fairly compatible with the theory of evolution--the watchmaker argument, for example.

Note... the intelligent design groups being discussed are not the "god as watchmaker" deist groups... they are quite literally, as shown upthread as "well they don't like creationism... let's try a name that sounds scientific while we continue to malign science". Kind of like a group lobbying for quad-trailer semi trucks being ok called "Share the Road" or an anti-EPA GOP group calling themselves Capitalist Environmentalists.

Demosthenes wrote:
complexmath wrote:

Interesting. I hadn't realized that "intelligent design" had recently been co-opted to represent creationism. The classical definition of ID, while still deist, tends to be fairly compatible with the theory of evolution--the watchmaker argument, for example.

Note... the intelligent design groups being discussed are not the "god as watchmaker" deist groups... they are quite literally, as shown upthread as "well they don't like creationism... let's try a name that sounds scientific while we continue to malign science". Kind of like a group lobbying for quad-trailer semi trucks being ok called "Share the Road" or an anti-EPA GOP group calling themselves Capitalist Environmentalists.

Wikipedia[/url]]Gonzalez was a regular contributor to Facts for Faith magazine produced by Reasons To Believe, an old earth creationist group.[4] In addition to his work for the Discovery Institute and International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, he is a researcher for the Biologic Institute, which is funded by the institute for research into intelligent design.[5]

Wikipedia[/url]]Old Earth creationism is an umbrella term for a number of types of creationism, including gap creationism, progressive creationism, and evolutionary creationism.[1] Old Earth creationism is typically more compatible with mainstream scientific thought on the issues of physics, chemistry, geology and the age of the Earth, in comparison to young Earth creationism.[2]

Well, as compatible as science and magic can be.

Nomad wrote:

OG, I think The Conformist is more upset with your insulting rhetoric and tone than your atheistic views.

What about how insulted I feel having Christians trying to subvert the education of others by injecting their religion's purely fictional account of how the universe was created into classrooms? Or how upset I am because of Christians abusing the political process to enshrine their ancient system of morals into law and thereby forcing their beliefs on everyone?

Nomad wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
complexmath wrote:

Interesting. I hadn't realized that "intelligent design" had recently been co-opted to represent creationism. The classical definition of ID, while still deist, tends to be fairly compatible with the theory of evolution--the watchmaker argument, for example.

Note... the intelligent design groups being discussed are not the "god as watchmaker" deist groups... they are quite literally, as shown upthread as "well they don't like creationism... let's try a name that sounds scientific while we continue to malign science". Kind of like a group lobbying for quad-trailer semi trucks being ok called "Share the Road" or an anti-EPA GOP group calling themselves Capitalist Environmentalists.

Wikipedia[/url]]Gonzalez was a regular contributor to Facts for Faith magazine produced by Reasons To Believe, an old earth creationist group.[4] In addition to his work for the Discovery Institute and International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, he is a researcher for the Biologic Institute, which is funded by the institute for research into intelligent design.[5]

Wikipedia[/url]]Old Earth creationism is an umbrella term for a number of types of creationism, including gap creationism, progressive creationism, and evolutionary creationism.[1] Old Earth creationism is typically more compatible with mainstream scientific thought on the issues of physics, chemistry, geology and the age of the Earth, in comparison to young Earth creationism.[2]

You conveniently left out the part of Gonzales being a fellow at the Discovery Institute, which is most definitely a young earth creationism organization. In fact, it's the biggest and most influential one. And it's one whose entire goal is "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and replace science as we know it with "with a science consistent with Christian and theistic convictions." Gonzales is merely a tool in the Discovery Institute's infamous Wedge Strategy.

Gonzales' beliefs make him a terrible scientist because he automatically assumes god did everything. Instead of looking at the evidence and seeing where it leads, he's looking to the bible and torturing the evidence to fit the writings of ignorant Iron Age desert nomads. Actually, it's worse than that. He's torturing the evidence to fit his particular interpretation of the writings of ignorant Iron Age desert nomads.

Student deserve a better professor than one who cannot look beyond his religious beliefs. As I said before, he would be a perfect professor for any of the various ultra-religious Christian colleges and universities out there. Heck, Bob Jones University has astronomy classes and I'm quite sure BJU students would be very receptive to Gonzales' unique view of astronomy.

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