Would Georges Lemaitre, Catholic Priest and Father of the Big Bang Theory, Be Denied Tenure at Iowa State?

Michael Egnor

Readers of Evolution News and Views will no doubt be familiar with the decision by Gregory L. Geoffroy, the president of Iowa State University, to deny tenure to Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an assistant professor and pro-I.D astronomer. It is obvious that Dr. Gonzalez, who was extraordinarily qualified for tenure, was denied tenure because of his pro-I.D. views.
One hundred and twenty Iowa State faculty members signed a petition denouncing Dr. Gonzalez’ viewpoints, and he was opposed by his department chairman and several faculty members who have made their bias against intelligent design scientists clear in public statements.
Ironically, we owe much of our modern understanding of the universe to pro-intelligent design astronomers. Georges Lemaitre was the astrophysicst who pioneered the Big Bang Theory. Fr. Lemaitre (above, with Einstein) was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, honorary prelate, and a professor of physics and astronomy. He famously described the moment of the Big Bang as “the day without yesterday”, referring to the first day of creation in Genesis, and he was explicit in his belief in the evidence for God’s design in the universe. His Big Bang theory met with considerable opposition because of its religious implications.
Would a young Georges Lemaitre get tenure at Iowa State today?
The bias against Dr. Gonzalez has made it clear that scientists who think that there is evidence for design in the universe need not apply for tenure at Iowa State University. That would mean that Fr. Lemaitre, not to mention Nicholas Copernicus (a Catholic cleric), Galileo (a devout Catholic who saw the cosmos as God’s handiwork), Albert Einstein (“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists…” ) , Arthur Stanley Eddington (pioneer astrophysicist and devout Quaker), and countless other physicists and astronomers who have explicitly acknowledged that they see intelligent design in the universe just don’t pass Iowa State’s ideological litmus test.
Dr. Gonzalez, by believing that there is evidence for intelligent design in the universe, is in very good company. It seems that scientists like Dr. Gonzalez and Fr. Lemaitre who see design in the universe are persona non-grata on Iowa State’s faculty.
Please contact Iowa State University President Gregory L. Geoffroy (515-294 -2042 or president@iastate.edu) and ask him to reverse his decision to deny Dr. Gonzalez tenure. Iowa State should foster integrity and scholarship, not ideological bigotry, in science.

Michael Egnor

Senior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.