Misinformation Left Unchecked at the <i>Des Moines Register</i> - Evolution News & Views

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

Evolution News and Views

Misinformation Left Unchecked at the Des Moines Register

ID Proponents Need Not ApplyThe Des Moines Register is continuing the rewriting of history regarding Guillermo Gonzalez. Last week the Des Moines Register published an article by Lisa Rossi which misrepresented the accomplishments of Guillermo Gonzalez and vastly understated his grant funding. In response, I submitted the following letter-to-the-editor to the Des Moines Register, but they would not run the letter because it didn't "add anything new to the dialogue." It seems the Des Moines Register doesn't regard positive information about Guillermo Gonzalez as adding anything new to the discussion. Regardless, as my letter concluded, "Rossi's fuzzy math and selective presentation of ISU's tenure policies obfuscate the obvious fact that Gonzalez's tenure denial was due to intolerance of intelligent design." I reprint the letter below:

Dear Editor, Lisa Rossi's article, "ISU professor appeals denial of tenure," ignores Guillermo Gonzalez's professional accomplishments while grossly miscalculating the funds that Dr. Gonzalez received during his time at ISU.

Rossi never once mentions Dr. Gonzalez's outstanding record of scholarship, though that would seem worth noting in a story about a professor's tenure. Guillermo Gonzalez leads all tenured ISU astronomers in citations in scientific papers since 2001 (normalized), and he has published over 350% more than the number of peer-reviewed publications his department requires for tenure.

In addition (pardon the pun), Rossi's numbers don't add up. She reports that Dr. Gonzalez received only $22,661 in outside grant money since joining ISU in 2001. In fact, Dr. Gonzalez received $64,000 from the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 2001-2004 and $58,000 from the Templeton Foundation from 2000-2003. Additionally, in early, 2007 Dr. Gonzalez obtained a five-year $50,000 grant from Discovery Institute to collect new observational astronomical research data.

Rossi's implication is that Professor Gonzalez was denied tenure because he didn't receive enough grant money. Ironically, this is refuted by an op-ed the Des Moines Register printed by ISU physicist John Hauptman, who admitted that his vote against Gonzalez's tenure was based solely on Gonzalez's support for intelligent design. Moreover, Gonzalez actually received more grant money than many of those given tenure at ISU this year, and he has more peer-reviewed publications than nearly all of those approved for tenure. Clearly, it is incredible to believe that Gonzalez was objectively less qualified than the 91% of ISU faculty applying for tenure in 2007 who were approved.

Given that the tenure policies of Gonzalez's own department don't even mention grants as a criterion for gaining tenure, Rossi's fuzzy math and selective presentation of ISU's tenure policies obfuscate the obvious fact that Gonzalez's tenure denial was due to intolerance of intelligent design.


Casey Luskin
Discovery Institute
Seattle, Washington