United States Senator and Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback (R-KS) has issued a forceful statement expressing alarm over the denial of tenure to pro-intelligent design astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University. According to Sen. Brownback, “such an assault on academic freedom does not bode well for the advancement of true science.”
Obviously, the Gonzalez case is not a partisan issue, and surveys show that the vast majority of Americans of both major parties as well as independents support academic freedom for learning about intelligent design. Let’s hope that officials from across the political spectrum begin standing up for Gonzalez’s academic freedom. Iowa State University is a government-funded institution, and it is ultimately accountable to the taxpayers that fund it as well as the citizens who pay tuition. Thus, it is perfectly appropriate for public officials to express their concern that ISU live up to its own standards of academic freedom as well as the guarantees of the First Amendment.
The full text of Brownback’s statement is reprinted below, taken from Brownback’s website:
Brownback Alarmed by Tenure Denial in Iowa
“Such an assault on academic freedom does not bode well for the advancement of true science.”
DES MOINES, Ia — U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, Republican candidate for President, today commented on the denial of tenure to Iowa State University Professor Guillermo Gonzales.
“When I was informed that Professor Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure, I was puzzled given his excellent academic record of achievement and faithful service. I understand that now two of Dr. Gonzalez’s colleagues have indicated that Gonzalez’s interest in intelligent design theory was, at least in part, responsible for this denial of tenure. This is rather alarming.”
Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez is currently an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Iowa State University, and has authored more than 65 scientific papers and articles. Dr. Gonzalez developed the concept of the Galactic Habitable Zone and co-authored “The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery, which was published in 2004.” The Privileged Planet provides scientific evidence for intelligent design theory, which challenges neo-Darwinism’s claim that the development of the universe is the result of an unpredictable and purposeless process.
Intelligent design theory rather explores recent discoveries in the fields of physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology that logically point to an intelligent cause in the development of life and the cosmos.
Brownback continued, “Observation, testing, and the development of reasonable hypotheses have long been integral to good science. Scholars, such as Professor Guillermo Gonzales, ought not to be intimidated nor silenced by those in the academic community who would rather dismiss a well-reasoned hypothesis than debate it on its merits. Such an assault on academic freedom does not bode well for the advancement of true science.”