Home » Intelligent Design » ID isn’t science, and just to make sure…

ID isn’t science, and just to make sure…

…we’ll deny tenure to anyone who wants to pursue the ideas, or develop them to the point where they can make predictions.

If that sounds like a Catch-22, it is. Iowa State University Professor of Physics John Hauptman explains his No vote on Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure decision as a simple matter: intelligent design isn’t science. Hauptman liked Gonzalez as a colleague:

He is very creative, intelligent and knowledgeable, highly productive scientifically and an excellent teacher. Students in my Newspaper Physics class like to interview him.

None of that counts, however, as Hauptman sees it. Rather what counts is the definition of “science.” Intelligent design, which Hauptman compares to the ancients attributing the growth of grain to the god Ceres, just isn’t science:

Intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement. Its proponents can call it anything they like, but it is not science.

That’s the bottom line. Or, perhaps more precisely, that’s the closed circle: science is applied naturalism; if you challenge naturalism, you’re not a scientist; and those who are not scientists do not deserve tenure in academic departments of science. Simple as that.

Guillermo is tough, very bright and creative, and determined: he’ll land on his feet elsewhere and go on to a distinguished career in science. Why? Because the scientific community has more curious and independent-minded people in it, who admire courage and new ideas, than those who let philosophically convenient Catch-22s do their thinking for them.

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16 Responses to ID isn’t science, and just to make sure…

  1. All this will do is give science a bad name. Scientists bashing scientists for their own gain. The general public will simply see an intolerance in academia. I think this intolerance is what prevents most of society from actively learning science – not religion. As many have stated, science and religion are not at odds, just the interpretations.

    I feel bad for Guillermo, this individual denied him tenure because of his beliefs. I hope Guillermo finds a better job elsewhere and feels compelled to push ID even harder. While I am still questioning it, I definitely support it.

  2. I believe Dave Scot has made this point already, but if Prof. Hauptman doesn’t believe that ID is science, he must believe it is a religious belief, so in effect he is denying tenure based on religious belief.

  3. Perhaps more precisely, Prof. Hauptman has voted against tenure for Dr. Gonzalez because Dr. Gonzalez has proposed an interpretation of the facts which might be interpreted as religious.

  4. 4

    SC-

    I’ve made the same point to others. If the person argues that ID isn’t science, then you have to get them to admit what they think it is. If they think it’s religion, and someone is being denied tenure and that comes into play- that’s a federal civil rights violation. I’m no legal expert, so I wonder how Jones’ ruling comes into play. He did rule that it was, in fact, religion, no? If so- where does his ruling come into play in cases where someone is discriminated based on “religion” (as Jones defined ID)??

    I don’t see any ID supporter wanting to play that game and calling it religion. I have no stake in any of this, but I can clearly see that ID is far removed from creationism, especially if the form comes on the ideas from, say, Behe, for example. Common descent, old earth- sounds like theistic evolution to me, which- if you listen to the (mostly) atheist science sites that discuss this issue, they seem to think that TE is okay (I would think that you could call Ken Miller and the Collins believers in TE, yes?)

  5. Two points, Paul. First, what is someone in Hauptman’s position supposed to do? Vote to grant tenure to someone who is proposing to pursue an idea that is not science (even it’s more forthright advocates agree with this), with the hope that someday, something might pan out?

    Seems pretty frivolous to me. Maybe if Gonzalez’ supporters could convince the state of Iowa to fund the school to an extent that would allow this (fill out the faculty to an average student-teacher ratio of, say, 20:1, and include some significant internal hard funding for research so that Gonzalez isn’t beholden to federal programs that have success rates lower than 10%), then we could be having a different discussion. But I suspect a tenured professor of physics who will not be doing science or competing for extramural funding (this is one implication of the move to work on ID) is a luxury that Iowa State simply cannot afford.

    Of course, if Gonzalez was not proposing to pursue ID as a career, then Hauptman’s comments about ID are out of line.

    Second, let’s give Hauptman some credit for the following:

    I believe that the letter signed by 120 ISU faculty members criticizing intelligent design as not scientific was reprehensible, not because I do not agree, but because it was obviously aimed at Gonzalez. An assistant professor at a university has every right to pursue whatever investigations he or she so chooses to investigate. There must be no bounds, no restrictions and no penalties for research of any kind. This is the very meaning of a free university, and society that supports free inquiry. It is a very precious thread that weaves its way from Socrates through Galileo to us.

  6. There are about 1.1 million households in the entire state of Iowa. How much would it cost to send a copy of “The Privileged Planet” DVD to each one? Could you raise money for such an effort?

  7. How about just sending a copy to every college student in Iowa’s public university system?

  8. How about just sending a copy to every college student in Iowa’s public university system?

    …or to every household with a child in high school, within a few years of college.

  9. “Intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement.”

    First, Theory – “A scientific theory is an established and experimentally verified fact or collection of facts about the world. Unlike the everyday use of the word theory, it is not an unproved idea, or just some theoretical speculation. The latter meaning of a ‘theory’ in science is called a hypothesis.” – http://www.whatislife.com/glossary/t.htm

    “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; ” – http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=theory
    ————————–

    Compare that to this:

    “The history of organic life is undemonstrable; we cannot prove a whole lot in evolutionary biology, and our findings will always be hypothesis. There is one true evolutionary history of life, and whether we will actually ever know it is not likely. Most importantly, we have to think about questioning underlying assumptions, whether we are dealing with molecules or anything else.” Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Professor of Biological Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, February 9, 2007

    Now according to the definition of a scientific theory & the Schwartz statement – Darwinism is not a theory! Just a hypothesis.

    Second, ID HAS made predictions – clear and precise which have thus far proven successful.

    Conclusion? John Hauptman is not a very smart bright light and ought to be fired for acknowledged discrimination and stupidity.

  10. Jay Richards responds to Hauptman:

    The essay about the denial of tenure to astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez by ISU physicist John Hauptman (June 2, 2007) displays almost total ignorance of the argument that Gonzalez and I make in the book The Privileged Planet.

    For instance, after listing the conditions needed to build a habitable planet like Earth, Hauptman says: “Why are these conditions so ‘perfect’ for us, allowing humans to exist and, above all, to ask these questions? Intelligent design is the notion that a supreme being arranged it for us.” No it’s not. We never argue for design based on the rarity of habitable planets. In fact, we spend a great deal of time arguing that that’s a bad argument. Rather, we argue that the overlap of conditions for life and for scientific discovery suggests design, because you would expect such an overlap if the universe were designed for discovery, but not otherwise. Hauptman doesn’t even know our basic argument (which a number of prominent scientists have found persuasive), even though it’s in the subtitle of the book.

    Hauptman then tells readers: “Intelligent design is not even a theory. It has not made its first prediction, nor suffered its first test by measurement. Its proponents can call it anything they like, but it is not science.” But in The Privileged Planet, we make predictions and list ways our argument can be tested. Find native animal life in a radically different kind of astronomical setting than ours, or based on chemistry other than carbon, or in an environment hostile to scientific discovery, and you’ve falsified our argument. Find a place that is hostile to life but more congenial to science than the Earth, and our argument collapses. So, on Hauptman’s own definition of science, The Privileged Planet qualifies.

    Hauptman was involved in denying tenure to Gonzalez. So we now know that decision was based not only on ill-informed prejudice against intelligent design, but on ignorance of Gonzalez’s views. What does that say about the integrity of the tenure process at ISU?

    Jay W. Richards is co-author with ISU astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery.

  11. Hauptman clearly wants to send a message to anyone in accademic circles contemplating ID.

    Embrace ID and go to accademic hell!

    Believe anything you like except that ID may be scientific.

  12. Vote to grant tenure to someone who is proposing to pursue an idea that is not science (even it’s more forthright advocates agree with this), with the hope that someday, something might pan out?

    Most of us explore ideas in our minds. So bring out the acedemic thought police. Someone needs to set out those ides we are not allowed to pursue.

    Does anyone really believe that if Gonzales had been exploring anti-ID arguments that he would have been denied tenure? What’s the difference?

  13. Quasi-off topic: Hitchens vs Hitchens

  14. The essay about the denial of tenure to astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez by ISU physicist John Hauptman (June 2, 2007) displays almost total ignorance of the argument that Gonzalez and I make in the book The Privileged Planet.

    Most, if not all, anti-ID arguments are arguments from ignorance.

    The only way around ignorance is education (ID) and death (NS).

    What does “liberal” mean again?

  15. Ooops, almost forgot-

    Has anyone ever said why ID isn’t science (scientific)?

    Or did the definition of science evolve to pidgeon-hole all inquiry- IOW look for the keys under the street light even though you dropped them a few blocks down the dark road?

  16. Hi Joseph:

    Dan Peterson’s discussion, here, on how the very definition of “science” has been subverted, why, and how that has happened in the teeth of relevant historical and philosophical considerations and issues, is very illuminating.

    This is an example of an agenda-serving, question-begging, historically unwarranted attempted redefinition of science to suit the agenda of evolutionary materialists.

    In effect the professor Hauptmann has admitted to cutting out an otherwise objectively highly qualified applicant who simply did not toe the party line. (And, surprise, he did not do his homework first before making easily overturned adverse fact claims against Assist. Prof Gonzalez. That’s what you get for relying on NCSE and its sister agit-prop groups for your understanding of the situation . . .)

    I think Assist. Prof Gonzalez has probably got a serious legal case, and certainly a sobering moral case. (Of course, the problem wihtthe latter is that the secularist progressive media are probably gearing up their smear factory right now . . .) So, were I Prof Hauptmann, Mr McCarroll, President Geoffroy et al, I would be looking to my likely legal defense costs right now . . .

    But, more broadly, the public and voters of Iowa and the wider USA should sit up and take serious notice on how tenure has been turned into a self-selecting nobility awarding to its anointed acolytes lifetime meal tickets at public expense.

    This is yet another sign of how broken the Academy is, that it is incapable of policing itself, and that it is high time to fix it.

    $0.02

    GEM of TKI

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