Wired Magazine Acknowledges Discrimination against Guillermo Gonzalez and Understands What the Ames Tribune Ignored
In a post entitled "Denied Tenure, Astronomer Alleges Intelligent Design Witchhunt," Wired Magazine's blog has acknowledged that Iowa State University (ISU) discriminated against Guillermo Gonzalez because he supports intelligent design:
So far, science bloggers and defenders of evolution have dismissed Gonzalez's complaints. However, I'm not sure they're being fair. Though out-of-context email excerpts can be misleading, statements like "this is not a friendly place for him to develop further his IDeas" make it sound like Gonzalez was not, as the university insisted, judged solely on the content of his astronomical scholarship.
Wired is exactly right. Regardless of Dr. Gonzalez's level of grants or his publication record, the crucial question here is, Was Gonzalez discriminated against because he supports intelligent design? The evidence undeniably shows that such discrimination did exist:
"In view of an upcoming tenure decision, secrecy in the department may equally be interpreted as prejudging the case as making a statement. If we go on record, we give Gonzalez a clear sign that his ID efforts will not be considered as science by the faculty."In other words, various ISU faculty prejudged Dr. Gonzalez's tenure case long before they even started to look at Gonzalez's academic accomplishments, and in fact they admitted they would hold him to a higher standard than otherwise due to his support for ID. The Ames Tribune chooses to report none of this information because they claim Dr. Gonzalez lacks grant funding. In so doing, they miss the following points:
"Yes it will get worse before it gets better. But circulating such a statement could accelerate the process and could easily play into the hands of your perceived adversaries. For example, it could be used to justify a legal claim of a 'hostile work environment.' That could be ammunition in any appeal of a tenure decision. Damage has been done, and more will happen. We need to minimize that damage. Pushing ahead with this statement will serve no purpose but to increase the damage I feel."
"[L]awyers might well be successful in convincing a jury of average Americans that publication of our statement was responsible for creating a hostile work environment. .... I now feel that publication of such a statement might become the most important piece of evidence in a successful court case to guarantee tenure to the person whose scientific credibility we would be attempting to discredit. ... As for the unfortunate publicity we are receiving and the embarrassment we feel as a department, I think the best policy is to just grin and bear it for the next couple of years."
"[S]ome faculty in his department are not going to count his ID work as a plus for tenure. Quite the opposite. If he devotes his time to hard core astronomy and his case is based on work separate from ID then I might choke (because I regard his 'hobby' as detrimental to science) but I could live with a strong case getting tenure. I don't see that happening right now."
In the end, grants just became the pretext for denying tenure to Dr. Gonzalez. If you are the Ames Tribune:
...the Ames Tribune's agenda is to blame the victim and stifle the existence of real discrimination at ISU.
Note: Unfortunately, Wired Magazine did misreport one issue. It stated: "Guillermo Gonzalez ... has announced his plans to sue the university." As Dr. Gonzalez's attorney Timm Reid stated at the press conference last Monday, no decision has apparently been made as to whether Dr. Gonzalez will sue ISU. Indeed, Dr. Gonzalez himself stated in a 12/7/07 article in the ISU Daily that "I have not yet decided to pursue legal action. I will be consulting my lawyers and attorneys based on the totality of the evidence."