Gonzalez goes down

Guillermo Gonzalez’s appeal of his tenure denial went before the Iowa State University board of regents this morning.

To no one’s surprise, his appeal was denied. Seriously, this was a no-brainer; it would have been grounds for suspicion if the board of regents had overruled the opinion of his peers to force Gonzalez on the physics and astronomy department.

Now Dr Gonzalez needs to quit trusting the blandishments of the Discovery Institute and get to work on reconstructing his career. Peter Irons wrote me this morning and asked what odds I’d give on Gonzalez getting tenure; I’d have said they were incredibly long. Now the next question for the betting people out there: what are the odds that he’ll revise his tenure strategy to land a job with academic credibility vs. taking the easy way out and going to some joke of a Bible college and trying to get rich off his ‘martyrdom’?


  1. says

    Now the next question for the betting people out there: what are the odds that he’ll revise his tenure strategy to land a job with academic credibility vs. taking the easy way out and going to some joke of a Bible college and trying to get rich off his ‘martyrdom’?

    One thing is certain: Dr Gonzalez needs all of our prayers.

  2. Lledowyn says

    What irks me the most is that some of these people could probably go on to lead successful and productive lives doing real science. Yet, they conciously choose to stick their heads in the ground, and pretend that god did it, or some other similar deity.

    The fact that they willingly commit mental suicide, and shut themselves off from where the evidence leads, really makes me shudder. I guess I will never understand these people that are perfectly happy to just let their minds be destroyed, and think that it is a *good* thing.

  3. says

    (That’s a rhetorical question, right?)

    If Gonzalez went out and got a real academic job, you’d make more money betting on that than if you bet on the Giants.

  4. Holbach says

    Whew! Astronomy and Physics have been spared the potential
    ravishes of an id kook and can relax and continue to think
    about real Science instead of hand to hand combat with a
    deranged exponent of unstable teaching. Astronomy is a
    favored subjest with me and I don’t want to see it
    populated with fairy-tale nonsense as would probably happen if
    Gonzalez were taken aboard. Perhaps he could start his own
    field of discipline, such as the study of intelligent
    designed tornadoes and their application to the effect and
    dispersal of the religiously insane, and the effect of prayer to supplicate these “selective” holy winds to just
    annihilate the godless. Then he could put his id crap into
    a “workable” causation.
    on the insane religionist

  5. raven says

    Gonzalez is now officially a martyr to pseudoscience. He takes his place with the uncounted hordes of similar pseudoscientists who are nameless because no one cares enough to remember who in the hell they were.

    Rest assured, he will be snapped up by some Xian fundie diploma mill. After all, how many real life astronomers really want to do astronomy at Bob Jones or Liberty or Tennessee Baptist academy and fast food joint? Not many.

    That will be the end of his research career. No big deal. From the arc downward of his research, he didn’t care anyway. Research is hard, babbling on about Goddidit is easy. Making sense, facts, reality, and contributing to society can all jump out the window. Just make sure to say goddidit frequently and ramble on about conspiracies by science to deny transcendental data (Dembski’s words, and just where is that transcentental data hiding?).

  6. says

    My guess is that this whole fiasco and the publicity it’s been given will make other academic departments weary of hiring him. This weariness and the consequent failure to land a job will be used as more fodder for the DI’s persecution schtick.

  7. DanioPhD says

    I have a sinking feeling that, about 12 months from now, we’ll be hearing about the grand opening of the new Creation Museum Planetarium.

  8. Albatrossity says

    OT for this thread, but relevant for this blog’s readers. Simmons also has a news release on EN&V, explaining his poor debate performance. It is whiney enough that Luskin must have helped him write it…

  9. George says

    Seems to me he made his career decision. The process is all part of that. Now he can do “research” by writing whatever comes to mind, no real work, no real results (that might suprise), just make something up and write it down….

  10. David Denning says

    Isn’t there a lot of money to be made writing books about “god did it” ideas. He’s probably asked Dembski, Wells, and Behe about this. They probably also recommended the powerpoint-equipped ID speakers circuit (and provided some pointers on ripping off images and videos to boost up his talk). My guess: another phony god’s astromomy book and the ID lecture circuit (where he whines on and on about unfair treatment in the academic world). Go martyrs!

  11. says

    He went onto Expelled, which indicates the route he’s taking.

    I don’t think that anyone who’d do that seriously expects to land a job in academia (not serious academia, at least), but rather to play up the martyrdom that authenticates one’s preference for a martyr religion.

    May he not miss science too much, while reveling in the praise of predominately ignorant people who can think that being passed over by academia for advocating the equivalent of alchemy and astrology constitutes persecution.

    And hey, if you tire of that, I suspect you could repudiate pseudoscience and get into academia in some capacity or other (it may be too late for astronomy, though).

    Glen D

  12. J-Dog says


    Welcome to McDonald’s!

    This is Guillermo.

    Okay, I have you with a Happy Meal with a large coke, and a fish sandwich? Would you like some fries with that?

    Of course, the above will only take place is there IS a loving, caring god….

  13. Wicked Lad says

    [W]hat are the odds that he’ll revise his tenure strategy to land a job with academic credibility vs. taking the easy way out and going to some joke of a Bible college and trying to get rich off his ‘martyrdom’?

    Didn’t he already find a new career?

  14. peter irons says

    Here’s the problem Gonzo faces in finding a job at one of the fundie schools like Liberty, Bob Jones, or Biola. These schools all require their faculty to profess belief in “six-day” creationism. I’m pretty sure that Gonzo can’t do that, since every reputable astronomer (and he started out as one) agrees the universe is some 14 billion years old and the earth is some 4 billion years old. I don’t even know of a creationist astronomer, unlike creationist biologists (correct me if I’m wrong).

    So the fundie schools are out, leaving him the prospect of landing a job at a good college or university. I checked a while ago on the American Astronomical Society job list, and there are a couple dozen jobs open. But, thanks to the DI and Gonzo’s own bad decision to let the DI make him a martyr, he’s now poison in the astronomy field. Maybe some third-rate school would take him, but that’s unlikely, IMO. So that leaves Gonzo with no job prospects. He says he’s looking for a new job, and we’ll have to wait and see if he lands one. But I don’t think the DI cares that they helped ruin his career; he’s more valuable as a victim of “persecution.”

  15. says

    “I don’t even know of a creationist astronomer, unlike creationist biologists (correct me if I’m wrong).”

    Well, there’s always Gerardus Ruow, who is also a geocentrist…

  16. Chayanov says

    That he’s allowed Disco to dictate so many of his actions doesn’t bode well for his future chances for success. He doesn’t seem to realize (or accept) that he’s allowed them to destroy his career and reputation in order for them to score some rhetorical points.

  17. Duff says

    This fellow, whatever his name is, will go down in history with the names of the fellows, whatever their names were, who supported the church in the fight with Galileo.

  18. Mena says

    Peter Irons #17:
    Don’t you think that he would be dishonest enough to lie about the six day creation thing? He doesn’t seem to have any real qualms about lying about anything else.

  19. Doc Bill says

    Obviously, Gonzalez has given up on astronomy. He hasn’t done any work in years. Technically he’s behind, academically he’s behind; he would have to go to grad school again just to catch up.

    He’s thrown his lot in with the creationists and he hopes to get a Free Pity Pass, but that’s not going to happen. I don’t think he’s going to earn much money by being “one of the stories” told in Expelled. Not a bright future there.

    The threat of suing to the Supreme Court is laughable. On what grounds?

    My bet is that Gonzalez becomes a DI Fellow in June after his ISU money runs out in May. How else will he get buy unless his pals at the DI foot the bill?

  20. says

    My guess is that GG will be a DI Fellow by summer as well, but I kind of doubt that he’ll accept a permanent sinecure as a Fellow, or at a Bible college. The OEC I’ve observed who are astronomers tend to take jobs that will allow them to actually continue to do real astronomy, as 1) they tend to have views more nuanced than Biblical literalists and 2) their interests don’t run directly afoul of questions of biological origins. Perhaps GG is gunning for a job with Hugh Ross’s organization. May his tenure as a professional victim be mercifully short!

  21. nonfundie says

    I’ll take the bet.

    The chances of G. “Galileo” “Gish Gallop” Gonzalez of resurrecting (alleluia!) a real academic career is about as large as a tornado sweeping thru a junkyard and assembling a 747.

    Chances of a DI fellowship – same as those of JAD creating yet another blog where he argues with himself.

    $20 on both outcomes. Plus a first round draft pick from Liberty U, a rare autographed photo of C. Luskin, and a Ray Comfort video to be named later.

  22. says

    Proud of my alma mater today, and happier than I’ve ever been with the Regents (we fought them a lot–particularly about tuition–when I was an undergrad).

    Why did one regent vote in favor of Gonzalez? What’s wrong with regent Craig Lang?

  23. HP says

    You know, with today’s modern supercomputers, Gonzales should have no trouble calculating the exact number of epicycles and the precise location of the deferent for each of the five planets.

    Imagine the benefits to agriculture if we could determine down to second when to plant crops.

  24. jeh says

    The sad thing is that Gonzalez has done good science in the past, and has come up with evidence for some interesting ideas (a idea of a galactic habitable zone; or the notion that ancient rocks bearing evidence of microbial life from Earth may have been transferred to the moon via large impacts). He definitely thinks there is strong evidence for a very old universe–which puts him at odds with most creationists and ID proponents (not that the latter will always admit it).

    The sad truth is that like Behe, he can make much, much more money riding on the ID matyrdom bandwagon through the sale of books and speaker fees from lectures & conferences … there is no limit to how much most fundamentalists and evangelicals are willing to pay to have someone validate their belief system. Academia can’t hold a candle to the money available in the Christian talk circuit. Of course, if you can do both (like Behe), so much the better. Mo’ money, mo’ money.

    I even think that Gonzalez could find a decent position in academia if he decided to start doing experimental science again. My feeling is that someone outside of ISU gave him very poor career advice. Had he done the work to earn tenure, he could have easily done just what Behe has done. Had he received tenure based on doing publishable, fundable science, his colleagues could do little more than what Behe’s colleagues have been able to do.

  25. says

    Academia can’t hold a candle to the money available in the Christian talk circuit.

    If only I would sell out, I could pay my student loans?

  26. says

    Took a look at the latest paper. Yet again, he is using data collected by other people. The last data he gathered and published was in fall 2002. Everything else since then has either been re-evaluation of old data or scrounging off other teams’ data. And note: no funding for this paper, either.

  27. David Denning says

    RE: #17, #33
    Gonzalez’s last-ditch effort at showing a science publishing track record is bizarre. Here is his (further condensed) Abstract:

    “We compare the Li abundances of a sample of stars with planets discovered with the Doppler method to a sample of stars without detected planets. We prepared the samples by combining the Li abundances reported in several recent studies in a consistent way. … These results suggest that planet formation processes have altered the rotation and Li abundances of stars that host Doppler detected planets. We encourage others to test these findings ….

    It’s a single-author paper, for Vishnu’s sake!

    We wonder if Gonzalez has gotten his Lithiums a little mixed up and if he might not have taken a bit too much.