Home » Culture, Darwinism » More on the astronomer passed over as “potentially evangelical” case from the NY Times.

More on the astronomer passed over as “potentially evangelical” case from the NY Times.

The friend who sent me the link notes that the article is “only mildly biased”:

Both sides agree that Dr. Gaskell, 57, was invited to the university, in Lexington, for a job interview. In his lawsuit, he says that at the end of the interview, Michael Cavagnero, the chairman of the physics and astronomy department, asked about his religious beliefs.“Cavagnero stated that he had personally researched Gaskell’s religious beliefs,” the lawsuit says. According to Dr. Gaskell, the chairman said Dr. Gaskell’s religious beliefs and his “expression of them would be a matter of concern” to the dean.

Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, so interviewers typically do not ask about an applicant’s faith. Depositions and e-mails submitted as evidence suggest why Dr. Cavagnero may have raised the issue with Dr. Gaskell.

For the plaintiff, the smoking gun is an e-mail dated Sept. 21, 2007, from a department staff member, Sally A. Shafer, to Dr. Cavagnero and another colleague. Ms. Shafer wrote that she did an Internet search on Dr. Gaskell and found links to his notes for a lecture that explores, among other topics, how the Bible could relate to contemporary astronomy.

“Clearly this man is complex and likely fascinating to talk with,” Ms. Shafer wrote, “but potentially evangelical. If we hire him, we should expect similar content to be posted on or directly linked from the department Web site.”

[ ... ]

Referring to Ms. Shafer’s concern that Dr. Gaskell was “potentially evangelical,” Francis J. Manion, Dr. Gaskell’s lawyer, said: “I couldn’t have made up a better quote. ‘We like this guy, but he is potentially Jewish’? ‘Potentially Muslim’?”

- Mark Oppenheimer, “Astronomer Sues the University of Kentucky, Claiming His Faith Cost Him a JobNew York Times (December 18, 2010).

Oh, do let’s have some fun with the idea:

“potentially a union organizer”

“potentially in the boss’s pocket”

“potentially violent”

“potentially a Jehovah’s Witness”

“potentially a skirt chaser”

List, can you do better?

And just when I thought career scientists couldn’t get any dozier, this flies past from an astronomer with his head in another galaxy:

Legally, the situation seems simple but not yet clear. It is quite permissible for Kentucky to reject an applicant on the grounds that there is evidence he may not perform the required job well. But it is illegal to reject him on the grounds of his religion per se. The paper trail in the depositions has suggestions of both. So the trial has to decide which of these is the case. Difficult, but perfectly clear.

It is not difficult, actually, and perfectly clear: For the same reasons as a pot of soup plus poop could not be sold as “soup,” if they were discriminating against the candidate because of (what someone speculates is) his religion, he has a just cause of action. And if I thought someone was a bigot at that level, why would I pay much attention to claims about the candidate’s previous job performance anyway?

It gets better still: Our astronomer muses plaintively about the usual eruption of filth and hate at Pharyngula,

Naturally the Gaskell affair has been leapt on by evolution skeptics and even global warming denialists, but what really depressed me was the discussion on Pharyngula. These are the good guys right ? PZ Myers is a kind of hero, but I was bit shocked how right from the start in this post he set up Gaskell as a straw man, implying that he sued Kentucky more or less at random because of not getting a job, artificially claiming that it was because of an anti-christian bias. This ignores the public evidence that he had a prima facie case that was way more specific than this. Thats why the judge has sent it to trial. The comment stream that follows is, well, aggressive, on both sides of the argument. It contains lots of good points, as well as complete bollocks, but is so full of bile – “thats not what I said, dickhead !!” etc – that I find it hard to read.

Oh, you find it hard to read, do you? Then what do you think of this? Remember, this guy, who practices and encourages that kind of thing, is your kind of hero. You said it yourself.

Our far out astronomer then goes on the blame religious folk for the uncivilized eruptions of Darwinian atheists. So religious folk created your hero, fella? Then quit agreeing with Hitchens that “religion poisons everything.” Look, he’s your hero, not mine. My heroes fight for justice.

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33 Responses to More on the astronomer passed over as “potentially evangelical” case from the NY Times.

  1. He may have a cause of action but if the U can prove that he would have lost his job anyway, then he won’t be compensated much for the discrimination. At least he can give them bad PR.

    I am very glad that UD is well policed so that it’s not acesspool like you find at evo-blogs.

  2. Collin, thanks! We don’t exactly “police” the blog.

    Think of it like a neighbourhood barbecue you wandered into. We don’t expect everyone to like us or agree with us, but we can do without bawling trolls and brawling thugs. We find that they drown out people who enjoy discussing things as adults.

    Anyway, there is always the Thumb, Pharyngula, and similar places, where I gather the tone is quite different from what you’d find here.

  3. An astronomer who believes in God is refused a job??? Shoot If I ran an astronomy department I wouldn’t hire anyone who wasn’t a theist! The evidence for God from astronomy is simply, and completely, overwhelming, and I seriously question the mental stability of any astronomer who thinks otherwise.

    notes:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Explaining The Unseen Higher Dimension – Dr. Quantum – Flatland – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4119478

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The Scientific Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323668

    Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/cosmolgy/s7.htm

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation
    http://www.evidenceforchristia.....38;id=3594

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer cites several interesting quotes, from leading scientists in the field of Big Bang cosmology, about the Theological implications of the Big Bang in the following video:

    The Big Bang and the God of the Bible – Henry Schaefer PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5222493

    “The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude.”
    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer – closing statement of part 5 of preceding video

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    “The prediction of the standard model that the universe began to exist remains today as secure as ever—indeed, more secure, in light of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and that prediction’s corroboration by the repeated and often imaginative attempts to falsify it. The person who believes that the universe began to exist remains solidly and comfortably within mainstream science.” – William Lane Craig

    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” Alexander Vilenkin – Many Worlds In One – Pg. 176

    “The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation is impossible without a beginning.”
    Alexander Vilenkin – from pg. 35 ‘New Proofs for the Existence of God’ by Robert J. Spitzer (of note: A elegant thought experiment of a space traveler traveling to another galaxy, that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, used to illustrate the validity of the proof, is on pg. 35 of the book as well.)

    Genesis 1:1-3
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

    It is also very interesting to note that among all the ‘holy’ books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was, and is, correct in its claim for a transcendent origin of the universe. Some later ‘holy’ books, such as the Mormon text “Pearl of Great Price” and the Qur’an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact. (Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)

    This discovery, of a beginning for the universe, has simply crushed the materialistic/atheistic belief that postulated the universe has always existed and had no beginning. ,,,

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Little known by most people is the fact that almost every, if not every, major branch of modern science has been founded by a scientist who believed in Christ:

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

  4. Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Even the ‘exotic’ virtual particles are found to be necessary for life in the universe:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle & Special Relativity – Michael Strauss PhD. Particle Physics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

    As well it turns out even the immense size of the universe is necessary for life:

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible. If the universe were just one part in 10^59 larger, the universe would have collapsed before life was possible. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) would have made life impossible. The universe is exactly the size it must be for life to exist at all.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

    I think this following music video and Bible verse sum up nicely what these transcendent universal constants are telling us about reality:

    My Beloved One – Inspirational Christian Song – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200171

    Hebrews 11:3
    “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

    etc… etc… etc…

  5. Bornagain I’d like to refer you to Matthew 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

  6. This is a welcome incident to this YEC creationist.
    in issues of truth and attempts to silence truth all publicity is great publicity. A Christmas gift to the good guys.

    Nothing surprising here.
    We know, or should, that there is a great hostility to creationism(s) from the establishment in origin teachings. They are trying to ignore, attack, or stop creationism as a viable alternate to conclusions about origins based on quality investigation.

    They have shown a fear of losing ground.

    It could only be that they are against any teacher with or suspected of creationist leanings or opinions.
    So it follows that here or there they go a next step to discrimination based on this agenda.
    Then some of them get sloppy and make it obvious.

    This is just a sample.

    The big issue before North America is CAN a teacher of origins have different opinions on conclusions about the same from the establishment? Can he teach the establishment view with ability and still oppose it privately.?
    In Canada the answer was NO in a big incident of gov’t.

    Do you now or have you ever held creationist opinions???

  7. Collin, it is not about me hating atheists, which would be very easy for me to do with as much name calling and deception I’ve had to deal with from a lot of them, it is solely about practicality, if you ran a chemistry laboratory would you hire someone who still believed in alchemy? I would not hire an atheist for an astronomy job simply because he would be a major hindrance to fruitful research.

  8. It is not difficult, actually, and perfectly clear: For the same reasons as a pot of soup plus poop could not be sold as “soup,” if they were discriminating against the candidate because of (what someone speculates is) his religion, he has a just cause of action.

    But what if they chose not to hire him because of his scientific views? For example, if he were a YEC, I think it would be reasonable to not hire him for an astronomy job, because his religious views would be at odds with the science he was supposed to be promoting.

    AFAIK, Gaskell isn’t a YEC, but it’s still possible that his religious views will conflict with the science he would have had to have supported. If that’s so, I’m not sure he’ll have a case.

    Another point worth raising here is that the emails that are quoted suggest that creationism was being conflated with evangelicalism. Do people here think that is reasonable?

  9. “Potentially a Jehovah’s Witness” amused me because I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And a few of us are actually scientists as well including Dr. Alton Williams (nuclear physicist), Dr. Wolf Ekkehard-Loennig (geneticist), and Dr. Kenneth Tanaka (research geologist for the USGS).

  10. BA:

    In light of some recent [and as yet unfinished it seems] experiences, I hear you loud and clear.

    (Cf here vs here just following. Particularly, notice the OT context for Jesus’ quote on the Golden Rule, in Lev 19:15 – 17, leading up to 18 and giving us — key, and perhaps surprising — context.)

    Sad. Very sad.

    And, so unnecessary.

    GEM of TKI

  11. Oops, distracted by a question on the battle of the Marne 1914. The just following.

  12. Bornagain,

    It’s not actually that big of a deal, but I was referring to your quotation marks around “holy” when referring to my holy book. It was late and I was grumpy so I took offense. I’m sure none was intended.

  13. “Potentially a witch! Let’s see if she floats!”

  14. Heinrich at 8, it doesn’t sound as though they knew either that he was a creationist or that he was an evangelical. That is why I think they’d be wise to settle, unless the courts have gone corrupt.

  15. Collin at 13, I like that one.

    Blazing Cat Fur’s Canada-based site picked this story up from me, and I must wander over there to see what “potential” they’ve come up with.

  16. Oh, and Barb at 9, Jehovah’s Witnesses played a valuable role in my own country in the quest for (legitimate) civil rights. I understand that it was a Witness lawyer who first proposed to our Prime Minister John Diefenbaker that he consider a Bill of Rights.

    (Witnesses had had their children removed from their homes during World War II, due to their institutional pacifism,even though they were not political and posed no actual threat.)

    I remember when, in later years, the Bill of Rights was posted in church basements and union halls across the nation. Alas, dead days and gone, as government flaks, thugs, and snoops increasingly invade the citizen’s traditional rights, armed with good intentions, self-righteousness, and flagrant stupidity.

  17. Flagrant stupidity is much worse than the usual kind. Seriously.

  18. BA, so you would support the decision to not give Dr Gaskell the job if the prevailing view of the faculty was that his religious beliefs would be detrimental to the work he would be expected to carry out?

  19. 07:

    Prejudicial, bigoted, loaded accusation in the guise of a question.

    The very foundation of the debate over prof Gaskell was that he was the miles ahead leading candidate for the job, and would have had it, apart form the intrusion of viewpoint discrimination on the part of his accusers.

    Cf previous article here, and substantial comment here.

    They gave the job to a much inferior and much less experienced candidate, not because prof Gaskell was under-qualified, but because of their anti-theistic prejudices.

    Money quote from the legal filing, courtesy UB:

    …the email written by Troland (the Search Committee Chair) to Cavagnero (the Physics and Astronomy Department Chair) just days prior to the Search committee’s vote to recommend Knauer for the position and thereby reject Gaskell.

    The email, with the subject line “The Gaskell Affair,” states:

    “It has become clear to me that there is virtually no way Gaskell will be offered the job despite his qualifications that stand far above those of any other applicant. Other reasons will be given for this choice when we meet Tuesday. In the end, however, the real reason why we will not offer him the job is because of his religious beliefs in matters that are unrelated to astronomy or to any of the duties specified for this position. (For example, the job does not involve outreach in biology.). . . If Martin were not so superbly qualified, so breathtakingly above the other applicants in background and experience, then our decision would be much simpler. We could easily choose another applicant, and we could content ourselves with the idea that Martin’s religious beliefs played little role in our decision. However, this is not the case. As it is, no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin on any basis other than religious.

    On the general point, it is a demonstrable fact that Christians, for centuries, have made top flight astronomers and physicists. Indeed, if we take in a certain stubborn neo-Arian, that includes the number 1 physicist of the modern era.

    Just to pick two lesser lights, Russell of the H-R stellar evolution diagram and Lemaitre of the cosmological expansion and big bang were Christians. Indeed,the latter was a priest, one of many who have been very good scientists.

    This is a case of antireligious prejudice leading to destructive abuse of power.

    Period.

    GEM of TKI

  20. zeroseven, Personally as if anyone cares what I think, in my hypothetical situation, I would not hire any astronomer who was an atheist/materialist. The position is absurd. To prove that the atheistic/materialistic position is not ridiculous please feel free to defend exactly why you feel the atheistic conjecture of a multiverse, or even the quantum interpretation of many world, is in the least bit rational over and above the ‘confirmed’, and I stress the word ‘confirmed’, Theistic postulation of a higher dimensional creation for this universe as well as universal quantum wave collapse per each unique point of observation.

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Let There Be Light
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

  21. PS: 07, observe the instructive turnabout:

    it is solely about practicality, if you ran a chemistry laboratory would you hire someone who still believed in alchemy? I would not hire an atheist [a Christian/ a Jew/ a Muslim/ a Jehovah's Witness, etc] for an astronomy job simply because he would be a major hindrance to fruitful research.

    See the prejudice problem now?

  22. BA:

    You can take the tongue out of the cheek now.

    GEM of TKI

  23. yes kf, to be fair, and to piss off as many people as I can :) , I would also say that in my hypothetical situation, I would not hire a young earth creationist either, for they to, much like the atheists we deal with here on UD, are driven over and above to make the evidence fit their preconceived philosophical pattern,,, or as StephenB says they are committed to the “Fit!, Damn You! FIT!!!, philosophy of science.

  24. O’Leary @ 16: Yes, Witnesses were persecuted in both the US and Canada during both world wars. Persecution intensified under Maurice Duplessis when he was prime minister. You might be thinking of W. Glen Howe, the attorney who argued for civil rights in Canada. Here is a link to his obituary with some biographical information: http://jehovahswitnessnews.wor.....ront-page/

  25. Yes, Howe.

    By the way, Duplessis was premier of Quebec, not prime minister of Canada. But Quebec calls its premier “premier ministre.”

  26. Heinrich at 8, it doesn’t sound as though they knew either that he was a creationist or that he was an evangelical.

    But which one? If they found out that he’s a creationist, I think the case that he wouldn’t be good for the job is strong (because he would be rejecting modern science, at least as it is perceived by almost every modern scientist). OTOH, if they found out that he was an evangelical, he has more of a case, and I guess the matter would rest on whether the committee tried to find out whether his religious views conflicted with his scientific ones. If they took at face value an equivalence between evangelical and creationist, they could be in trouble. It might be, though, that they could argue that they would have reasonable cause to make assume equivalence, e.g. if they could show that evangelicals commonly claim that their fellow Christians have to be creationists too.

  27. I just read the PZ Meyers thread you posted, he makes some… Pretty ridiculous claims like

    “If faith had such powers, why is it we didn’t accomplish anything in science until we’d abandoned it?”

    Oh really? Yeah, I guess we didn’t get anywhere with the belief in a coherent, understandable universe… I mean, Silly old Isaac Newton eh? He didn’t do much for science with his beliefs…

  28. Manable,

    Mr Meyers simply reveals his ignorance of the history of science and related fields, joined to his prejudice against and hostility/ contempt towards people of faith.

    Should we be sending our children to sit under the tutelage of such men, e.g. what is happening with grades and assessments, not to mention recommendations?

    And if such men gain even more power, what will they do with it?

    So, what should the public be doing?

    GEM of TKI

  29. BA, I agree with you on the YEC. It’s the same principle. If someone’s predisposition to a faith based answer renders them unreliable then they should not be hired to a science position.

  30. But what if the creationist has done exceptional science? What if he has published important research in mainstream articles? Where do you draw the line?

  31. “mainstream publications”

  32. 07:

    I need to excerpt one of those despised and derided incompetent creationists, from his most important work:

    ________________

    >> . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler; for God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God not over his own body, as those imagine who fancy God to be the soul of the world, but over servants. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords; but we do not say, my Eternal, your Eternal, the Eternal of Israel, the Eternal of Gods; we do not say, my Infinite, or my Perfect: these are titles which have no respect to servants. The word God usually signifies Lord; but every lord is not a God. It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God: a true, supreme, or imaginary dominion makes a true, supreme, or imaginary God. And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present; and by existing always and every where, he constitutes duration and space. Since every particle of space is always, and every indivisible moment of duration is every where, certainly the Maker and Lord of all things cannot be never and no where. Every soul that has perception is, though in different times and in different organs of sense and motion, still the same indivisible person. There are given successive parts in duration, co-existent puts in space, but neither the one nor the other in the person of a man, or his thinking principle; and much less can they be found in the thinking substance of God. Every man, so far as he is a thing that has perception, is one and the same man during his whole life, in all and each of his organs of sense. God is the same God, always and every where. He is omnipresent not virtually only, but also substantially; for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him are all things contained and moved [i.e. cites Ac 17, where Paul evidently cites Cleanthes]; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e accepts the cosmological argument to God.] Whence also he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act; but in a manner not at all human, in a manner not at all corporeal, in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, or touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. [Cites Exod 20.] We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. In bodies, we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only their outward surfaces, we smell only the smells, and taste the savours; but their inward substances are not to be known either by our senses, or by any reflex act of our minds: much less, then, have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy. >>

    ____________________

    This is of course, Newton, from the General Scholium, in Principia.

    And Opticks, Query 31, which defines the generic scientific method in its familiar form, is also very similar:

    ________________

    First on methods:

    >> As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations. [[Emphases added.] >>

    In that same context:

    >> Now by the help of [[the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ” >>
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    In short, the problem is prejudice, backed up by the power of an evolutionary maerialistic reigning orthodoxy.

    One form of that prejudice and abuse, is censorship of the real history of modern science, making it falsely appear that science was a secularist exercise for centuries.

    Worse, this poisonous deception synergistically reacts off a wider well-poisoning effort thast tries to make it out that all Bible believing Christians are a threat to academic freedom and to liberty [in fact, many such at great hazard and sacrifice made key -- even, foundational -- contributions to the rise of modern liberty and democracy]. Worse yet, there is a slanderous attempt afoot to make the God of the Bible seem to be a capricious, cruel character, who corrupts those who serve him, turning them into vile demons preying on others and tuyrannising over them if given the slightest chance.

    All of this comes straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals playbook — which, for good reason, is dedicated to Lucifer,the first rebel.

    And, the first liar, too.

    One of Alinsky’s cynical and false but destructive “community organisation” principles is that people only become sufficiently agitated for the use of the clever demagogue when they are deceived to imagine that all the angels are on “their” side, and all the devils are on the other.

    Let us hear him in his own wicked and inexcusable words:

    Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    When in fact, as Newton showed, modern science in its founding era was practised in a design, theistic and even specifically biblical context. And to this day a great many competent and even eminent practitioners — up to and including Nobel Prize winners — are just such thinkers.

    More than that, findings on the digitally coded, functionally specific algorithmic information and systems in cell based life and the fine tuning of the cosmos to facilitate such life, are again pointing to the credibility of a design view of the world and of science.

    But it is being stoutly resisted by an amoral evolutionary materialistic reigning magisterium, who on track record will resort to any means, fair or foul, that they think they can get away with.

    That is why the professors and administrators involved in this nasty bit of career busting at the University of Kentucky should be subjected to exemplary sanctions, as a warning that enough is enough.

    Now, 07, I must call your attention to something that is not so nice.

    For, at no point above do I see you or any other defenders of that orthodoxy addressing the evidence turned up by discovery in the case.

    That is telling.

    Sadly telling.

    Utterly telling.

    We need to revisit the warning Plato gave us in his The Laws, Bk X.

    GEM of TKI

  33. F/N: Plato, in The Laws, Bk X.

    Here, I excerpt in more details than I usually do. (Cf the contextual discussion on Origins Science in Society here, with policy issues.)

    We may not enjoy frank and explicit warnings, and may think them preachy [it is more fun to read about a rescue of a Coyote trapped on an ice floe in Lake Michigan], but sometimes we need to pay attention to a grim warning, rooted in some very sad history (here, the disintegration of Athens as the leading Greek state and bulwark against Persia).

    Santayana put it well: those who refuse to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its worst chapters.

    Resemblance to the perils of our time and the accelerating disintegration of our own civilisation are not coincidental:

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    >> Ath. At Athens there are tales preserved in writing which the virtue of your state, as I am informed, refuses to admit. They speak of the Gods in prose as well as verse, and the oldest of them tell of the origin of the heavens and of the world, and not far from the beginning of their story they proceed to narrate the birth of the Gods, and how after they were born they behaved to one another. Whether these stories have in other ways a good or a bad influence, I should not like to be severe upon them, because they are ancient; but, looking at them with reference to the duties of children to their parents, I cannot praise them, or think that they are useful, or at all true. [[Notice Plato's own carefully stated skepticisms and moral concerns regarding classical paganism.] Of the words of the ancients I have nothing more to say; and I should wish to say of them only what is pleasing to the Gods. But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe . . . .

    [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature [phusis, in effect mechanical necessity] and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [evolutionary materialism is ancient, and is primarily philosophical and ideological, not scientific] . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them [radical relativism has always been understood to stem from evolutionary materialism] . . . These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [so is amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[here, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades, and at how such lawlessness leads to rebellious dissension, usurpation and tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them . . . >>
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    Onlookers, notice how as a rule there is never a serious response on the merits to this little excerpt from Plato’s last dialogue, 2,350 years ago; a warning given with the sad case of Alcibiades — perhaps the original unscrupulous, clever demagogue — ever before Plato’s eyes.

    We have been warned.

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