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Would Galileo Side With John Hauptman or Guillermo Gonzalez?

Casey Luskin

We’ve recently discussed Iowa State University physicist John Hauptman’s prejudice against ID-proponents which was printed in the Des Moines Register. In response to our article observing misrepresentations of Guillermo Gonzalez’s arguments, David Deming, geologist and geophysicist and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, sent some enlightening comments that further respond to Hauptman’s op-ed against Guillermo Gonzalez. Part of Dr. Deming’s comments are reprinted below:

It certainly must have been a profound embarrassment for the Iowa State president to issue a press release stating ID had nothing to do with the tenure decision on the same day that Hauptman published a confession that it was the essentially the only reason he voted against Gonzalez’s tenure.

I saw your most recent comments:

> (In fact, Hauptman holds scientific theories to a very high standard,
> writing, “Any single wrong prediction, and you must junk the theory.”

Hauptman in fact is in way over his head. The philosopher who INVENTED the falsifiability criterion, Karl Popper, wrote: “In point of fact, no conclusive disproof of a theory can ever be produced.” (Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1959, p. 50)

Hauptman attempted to align himself with Galileo, but evidently was unaware that Galileo endorsed the Design Argument. In Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615), Galileo wrote “nor is God less excellently revealed in Nature’s actions than in the Bible”.

Hauptman is evidently also unaware that Galileo’s contract at his first academic appointment, the University of Pisa, was not renewed (i.e., he wasn’t tenured) because he fought with the Aristotelian professors on the faculty over how natural philosophy should be conducted. Galileo believed that natural philosophy or science should concentrate on efficient causes. The Aristotelians believed that final causes were more important, and thus were not particularly bothered by the failure to conform to experiment. Put in modern terms, Galileo wasn’t tenured because he attempted to redefine science–exactly what Hauptman says Gonzalez must not be allowed to do.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Guillermo Gonzalez