Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Censorship is such an ugly word, but it applies!

But sometimes it is the only one that applies.

On January 10th of this new year I was wandering the web and came across an article that, in my opinion, stretched the truth just a wee bit. So in my normal fashion I commented on the article and tried to set the record straight. I checked just about every day and my comment was sitting there label 'awaiting moderation'. Well guess what? My post, critical of their poorly supported piece disappeared. I was disappointed, but not terribly surprised.

Now back on the 10th, I also wandered around this specific website and I found another piece and commented on it. Yes, I was critical because the piece didn't seem to actually address any issues. It was all assumption and innuendo. I guess folks are not allowed to point such things out to anyone, because after 9 days awaiting moderation, it also disappeared.

Now before anyone gets all huffy. I have removed one and only one poster from my blog. When the posts that person made became extremely prejudicial and loaded with discriminatory comments I deleted them. I am not overly proud of doing that, but I felt that keeping their comments was in fact enabling them and giving them a platform.

It certainly wasn't because they disagreed with me. If you have been following this blog at all you know I tend to engage folks who disagree. Anyone remember Rory? I responded to his comments several times (Intelligent Design, Sh** or get off the Pot!) and even wound up generating two other posts because my comments to him wouldn't fit in the comments section (In response to a comment and Another response to poor Rory). So my issue wasn't disagreement, but his lack of support for his contentions. You can read back if you want.

However, what happened to me over on Creation Revolution was censorship. My first post was concerning their article "Professor denied tenure because of Intelligent Design beliefs". Yes, Guillermo Gonzalez is old news. It's been four years since he was denied tenure and lost his various appeals. What bothered me about their article was how loose they played with the facts of the case. They never addressed the core question of whether or not Professor Gonzalez did what was required to receive tenure. That should be the bottom line, but they never address those issues. The nearest they came was mentioning his 68 published papers. They didn't mention if those papers were ones published during the seven years he was a tenure seeking candidate. They also failed to examine whether or not all of those papers actually fell into the subject area he was hired to teach. They furthermore compounded their error by not addressing other tenure requirements -- the other ones he failed to meet.

I have discussed Gonzalez before (Arguments XXVI -- Universal Fine Tuning, Iowa Professor denied tenure and claims free speech and conspiracy theories, More on Professor Gonzalez, Regents deny tenure appeal of intelligent design professor) many times. My bottom line is simply this:

"When you apply and are accepted for a tenure-seeking position there is usually a laundry-list of things you must do. You are also given a time-frame, something in the neighborhood of 5 years. On that list is usually things like publish, advise graduate students, teach lots of classes, perform research, bring in external money for research, among other things. The decision to grant tenure is based on all of them, plus how well you work with your peers, support department policies, and present yourself as a member of the faculty and staff.

If Prof. Gonzales had done these things, he might have had a chance at his tenure review, but according to his track record he failed. In over 7 years he had ONE grad student complete their thesis, raised less that 1/50th the amount of research money, and had no significant scientific publications. Yes, he published at least one book outside his field of Astronomy, which supported Intelligent Design, but nothing within his field"
Please note that it was the Regents who determined that Gonzalez failed to meet the requirements for tenure. Please also note that they said he had no significant publications, which certainly disagrees with Creation Revolution's claim of 68 papers. So where did Creation Revolution get their information? From the Creation Research Society. Anyone else see a problem here?

My other post was on an article "Did ‘Nature’ Invent Oxygen-Carrying Systems…Twice?" This done by the less-than-scholarly Institute for Creation Research (ICR). ICR has been the topic of a number of posts of mine, chiefly on their failed attempt to get permission to award actual master's of Science degrees. (Texas, on a different but related subject, Hasn't Texas had enough?,Yea for Texas!, Texas scores a big win!, and ICR admits defeat, sort of . . .). So the very idea of ICR doing some scholarship would be shocking.

Luckily for me, there was no shock. This was a poorly supported opinion piece. They questioned the possibility of hemoglobin evolving twice. First of all that isn't a conclusion as of yet. However it is a possibility. My response was so what! Didn't nature evolve three very distinct flight mechanisms (bird, bat, and insect)? Didn't sight take some very different evolutionary paths (human, avian, and insect). I mean nature is replete with examples of similar function on different evolutionary paths. This is no big deal. But ICR, and by extension Creation Revolution, tries to make it some sort of evolutionary critique. Not very scholarly of them!

What I have to say about this is simple. 'Creation Revolution' kept comments that agreed with them and dumped my comments that tried to re-introduce the actual facts and issues of Gonzalez and question the basics of the ICR article. Simply put, censorship.

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