For years I've collected accounts of scientists who voiced doubts about Darwin and ended up paying a high price. In February, the University of Kentucky will defend itself in court in a discrimination case brought by astronomer Martin Gaskell, now at the University of Texas. He argues convincingly that he was turned down to direct Kentucky's observatory because of remarks on his personal website noting reservations about Darwinian theory and an openness to intelligent design.Interestingly, Gaskell ($100, 000 settlement) and Gonzalez (new observatory) didn't do so badly out of it, and one hopes Coppedge will also land on his feet.
Gaskell's attorneys present records of email traffic among the faculty search committee. Professors falsely tarred Gaskell as a "creationist" while a lone astrophysicist on the committee protested that Gaskell stood to be rejected "despite his qualifications that stand far above those of any other applicant."
The case resembles another at Iowa State University. Astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzalez was refused tenure, despite a spectacular research publication record, because of a book he co-authored arguing that earthly life is no cosmic accident. Again, email traffic told the tale. The department chairman had instructed faculty that intelligent design was a litmus test for tenure, "disqualify[ing] him from serving as a science educator."
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This year, a top-level computer specialist on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Cassini mission to Saturn, David Coppedge, sued JPL for discrimination after being demoted for circulating among colleagues a couple of DVDs favoring intelligent design.
- "'Science Says' Is Now Just Another Special Interest Claim" (Human Events, January 6, 2011) January 30, 2011
The key thing to see here, in my view, is that the scientism lobby can't hope to both treat science as their private game park and expect public funding. Or can they? Let's see what the Coppedge case brings.