Intellectual Insecurity at Iowa State?
Is the faculty at Iowa State University intellectually insecure? The statement of two years ago signed by 120 members of the faculty perhaps suggests that, especially when compared with the actions of other schools and faculties. I wonder if they are afraid that others will think they are backward country bumpkins for allowing someone who is interested in exploring intelligent design on the faculty.
Harvard University is not ashamed of Owen Gingerich, who had this to say about Gonzalez' book The Privileged Planet:
This thoughtful, delightfully contrarian book will rile up those who believe the ‘Copernican principle’ is an essential philosophical component of modern science. Is our universe designedly congenial to intelligent, observing life? Passionate advocates of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) will find much to ponder in this carefully documented analysis.
The University of Cambridge is not ashamed of Simon Conway Morris, who had this to say:
Is our universe a blind concatenation of atoms, evolution a random walk across a meaningless landscape, and our sense of purpose a pathetic shield against a supremely indifferent world? Or does the universe and our place within it click into place, repeatedly? These starkly different views open up immense metaphysical and theological questions, and at least part of the answer must come from science and the unfolding triumphs of cosmology, astronomy, and evolution.
In a book of magnificent sweep and daring Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards drive home the arguments that the old cliché of no place like home is eerily true of Earth. Not only that, but if the scientific method was to emerge anywhere, the Earth is about as suitable as you can get. Gonzalez and Richards have flung down the gauntlet. Let the debate begin; it is a question that involves us all.
Dartmouth College was not ashamed of Robert Jastrow, who explored similar ideas and had this to say in his book God and the Astronomers:
For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
Are these schools not ashamed because they are clearly more academically respected and more intellectually secure than Iowa State? Is this kind of denial of tenure merely a phenomenon of the academicly mediocre?
Were the other faculty members insecure because Guillermo Gonzalez was more widely published and cited than they, and they were afraid that they would always be living in his shadow?