| FORUM | ARCHIVE |                    | TOTAL QUIZ RESULT |


  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Academic Dogmatism: The Gaskell Affair
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login


Welcome stranger, click here to read about some of the great benefits of registering for a free account with us and joining us in our global online community.


Academic Dogmatism: The Gaskell Affair

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Akolouthos View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 3550
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Academic Dogmatism: The Gaskell Affair
    Posted: 22 Jan 2011 at 07:57
So recently, as many of you have no doubt heard, the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, was involved in a hiring scandal which laid bare some of the inequities created by an increasing sense of dogmatism, orthodoxy, and inquisition in academia. An astronomer was denied a position largely because although he was eminently qualified, he was "a potential evangelical". The documents from the case are available somewhere on the net in PDF format, and I will post them later if I can find them -- or someone else could feel free to do so. Wink
 
The problem here is that the subject has been largely ignored. This is a situation which has to be taken care of in house: until the academic left and the militant secularist community recognizes the problem inherent in the system and moves to be more tolerant -- an adjective which they often claim to embody -- nothing will change and the academic community will continue to function more as a dogmatic church than as a forum for open and vetted inquiry. The problem is that, whether they are aware of the historical development of the concept or not, a substantial portion of these academics are functioning under the guise of a philosophy known as "repressive tolerance" -- which basically asserts that people whom I happen to disagree with are so intolerant that to tolerate their beliefs would be tantamount to tolerating intolerance.
 
I would like to get some opinions from our fellow forumers here, but please familiarize yourself with the details of the case and the emails before you comment. Honestly, I can't see a justification for this sort of thing, but if anyone could present one I'd be happy to listen and discuss. What I will not brook is further pretences that the problem doesn't exist. If people wish to live in a fantasy world, of course they can, but I shall not enable them. This should be an issue of the greatest importance to our community. When academic freedom is impinged anywhere it may be impinged everywhere.
 
Anyway, here is my post to Constantine XI, which I am reproducing from another thread and expanding upon here to continue developing a subject of critical importance without drawing the DADT thread further off topic:
 
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

The University settled the case for $125,000, and, of course, admitted no wrongdoing.
 
I think you might want to read the e-mails in this case, which are floating around in a PDF file of one of the court documents somewhere on the net (sorry; forgot where). They are particularly damning. This, I think, is the sort of thing that we have discussed before (i.e. the difference that seems to exist between academic freedom -- or the lack thereof -- in the United States vs that which exists elsewhere in the world.
 
Apparently, one professor (Troland) was courageous enough to speak out about this case, but in many cases that sort of recourse just isn't there. American academia has become increasingly ideologically homogeneous, and you can't count on having an ethical champion to right these wrongs. Keep in mind that many of these cases -- dealing with religious and political academic freedom -- go unreported, since few people involved in the hiring process are willing -- or, in all fairness feel able to -- inform on their colleagues. Committees have become something akin to inquisitions, and it is considered wise, if you hold beliefs that don't fit within a narrow secularist or progressive ideological framework, to keep your mouth shut and avoid writing letters to newspapers, giving lectures, or publishing anything that a google-happy Savonarola might find and distribute to his or her colleagues with a wink and a nod.
 
I personally know of three cases other than the one under discussion here, although I trust you will understand if I refrain from relating the details. Suffice it to say one is more serious that the Gaskell affair, and two slightly less so. In each, a candidate was short listed or looked to be getting the position until a faculty member -- in two of the cases not even a member of the committee -- distributed an e-mail pointing out such and such a connection with moderately conservative or religious ideology from the past -- in two cases the very distant past.
 
I'm sorry if I sound frustrated, but the prevailing attitude of academics over here is to ignore this disgusting ethical mire, largely by pretending it doesn't exist. That said, there are many honest professors -- probably a substantial majority; the problem is that their more ideologically zealous colleagues are louder and often manipulate the situation more effectively on an institutional level.
 
Please check out the files on this case; it paints a surprisingly and uncommonly clear picture of a situation that is usually shrouded in darkness and secrecy.
 
-Akolouthos
 
-Akolouthos
Back to Top
Sponsored Links


Back to Top
Panther View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar
Editorial Staff

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 4577
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2011 at 19:50
http://www.scribd.com/doc/44586388/Gaskell-v-Univ-of-Ky-11-10

Here is a court document i found on my initial search.
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 06:57
Does anyone have a link to the emails that they can vouch for as genuine?

Having been involved in this discussion, I would be happy to give the material surrounding it my full attention now that I have a lull in work. Once I have had a look, I will return with my consideration of the facts.

There is one thing I wished to bring up, and I don't mean to nit pick. Akolouthos, I quote you here:

Quote
The problem here is that the subject has been largely ignored. This is a situation which has to be taken care of in house: until the academic left and the militant secularist community recognizes the problem inherent in the system and moves to be more tolerant -- an adjective which they often claim to embody -- nothing will change and the academic community will continue to function more as a dogmatic church than as a forum for open and vetted inquiry. The problem is that, whether they are aware of the historical development of the concept or not, a substantial portion of these academics are functioning under the guise of a philosophy known as "repressive tolerance" -- which basically asserts that people whom I happen to disagree with are so intolerant that to tolerate their beliefs would be tantamount to tolerating intolerance.


In this paragraph, you claim that there is a system in place which discriminates against people of faith. From the article Panther provided me, it appears that in a nation of 308,000,000 people so far only one lawsuit has been brought alleging discrimination in tertiary employment on the basis of religious belief. Why is it you consider religious discrimination to be a widespread and system issue rather than a singular anomaly as it appears based on the stats?
Back to Top
Akolouthos View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 3550
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 07:23
You are quite right to wait on the e-mails, Constantine. I need to get them here as soon as I have the chance to search for them. I wish I'd written down the link. As for the the "widespread discrimination", it extends beyond religious to political belief as well. And the number of lawsuits brought is far from the number of cases in which this is a factor. In the instances I mentioned to you, no legal action was pursued.
 
-Akolouthos
Back to Top
Panther View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar
Editorial Staff

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 4577
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 08:25
Back to Top
Seko- View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar

Joined: 01 Sep 2004
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 11725
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 16:01
I know very little of this affair. Seems like one of many discrimination cases one sees in the news on many occasions, this one just happens to have happened in Academia. I have two notions: violation in hiring practices if discrimination is proven and no big deal if the professor in question was overlooked for someone else better fitting for the school's preferences. Now we all know that some schools have very little room for religious interpretations of evolution and that other schools lean towards heavy dogma. the rule of the land is what counts.

Thus we have Secularism versus Discrimination. Let's just not pigeonhole one case as representing a growing rise of injustice as a whole otherwise all one has to do is recall the glowing inauguration of one Alabama governor to put things into broader perspective.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 16:07
The joke in all of this is the probability that while a 16th century Pope could avails himself of Copernicus for an observatory, the wonks of the University of Kentucky could not undertake such a risk because Gaskell had posited certain disqueting propositions to their weltanschauung. Strangely enough, while all of this hub-bub is fleshed out as a "science vs religion" folderol the truth here is even more complex since hiring and tenure at many universities today (including places such Harvard et al) vett upon the premises of the political and permit noted members of one faculty to vomit on subjects in which they have no competence [e.g. Noam Chomsky]. One can easily conclude that in ideology much of contemporary Academia in the US is now replicating the arid ideological wasteland that is U.N.A.M--where you had best regurgitate the Marxist model of History or else!
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5213
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 16:18
Dr. Gonzaga,

Do you want to start a thread on UNAM? That is a crazy place by its own right, no U.S. influence need, and I am sure that others would participate in the thread, but let's not move the subject to UNAM. Let's try to keep it focus on academia in the U.S.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2011 at 16:45
But, I am focusing on the US and UNAM was solely mentioned as an example of the consequences of uber thought when dogmatism takes precedence over the freedom of inquiry. The proposition that the directorship of an observatory (which is not a theoretical setting but strictly a medium for applied technology) requires that one conform to a particular thought pattern is nonsense. Imagine what Newton would have made of such stupidity. It is no secret that within contemporary Academia in the United States even entire "departments" are created for ideological purposes and what results is more cant than inquiry. That it is a current battleground is more than obvious since it has been covered in the Forum before (e.g. Colorado and its famed activist "professor") and then discussed tangentially with respect to political correctness. I recall posting for the delectation of the readership, the "Mission Statements" of certain notorious departments that essentially demand "conformity" to the ethos if one has any hope of participation therein. That the argument has now broiled over into "high schools" with respect to "ethnic" studies and turned these innocent exercises into forums for political activism is to be regretted, but one can surmise consequences by noting how such attitudes actually stiffle serious study.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2011 at 04:21
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Hope this helps some what

http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1458

http://ncse.com/webfm_send/1508

Above links supplied from this post on the site: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/01/19/religious_discrimination_lawsuit_ends_well_for_christian_researcher





Thanks, Panther.

I agree that their decision to bar this man from employment was obviously wrong and they ought to feel pretty low about what they have done. From what I can see his religious beliefs would not have affected his ability to discharge his duties professionally. I am glad he won a settlement, but would have preferred if he had taken the case further to get a ruling. I do wonder why he did not.

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

You are quite right to wait on the e-mails, Constantine. I need to get them here as soon as I have the chance to search for them. I wish I'd written down the link. As for the the "widespread discrimination", it extends beyond religious to political belief as well. And the number of lawsuits brought is far from the number of cases in which this is a factor. In the instances I mentioned to you, no legal action was pursued.
 


The emails are proof enough of the wrong done in Gaskell's case.

But to the question of systemic discrimination, I am afraid that all you are presenting me with is your personal judgement. That has some value as you live in the USA and I do not, but what you would really need to make your claim of systematic discrimination persuasive is verifiable proof of whidespread misconduct. Beyond this one lawsuit, I do not see that.
Back to Top
Akolouthos View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 3550
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2011 at 05:22
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

The emails are proof enough of the wrong done in Gaskell's case.

But to the question of systemic discrimination, I am afraid that all you are presenting me with is your personal judgement. That has some value as you live in the USA and I do not, but what you would really need to make your claim of systematic discrimination persuasive is verifiable proof of whidespread misconduct. Beyond this one lawsuit, I do not see that.
 
I'm glad you agree with me on this one; truly I am. It is so difficult living over here, in an academic culture which would prefer to look the other way even as it makes a mockery of one of its most sacred values.
 
As for the systemic aspect of the situation, I can only speak from personal experience. There have been some cases in the news over the years, but the majority of these instances go unchallenged and, even when challenged, unreported. The simple fact is that it is rather like appealing a grade as a student; theoretically a process is in place, but it is so stacked against you that is almost never worth the effort. I'm really not looking to make a "claim" or to subject this issue to a formal debate; honestly I don't see a need. The situation is so prevalent and evident over here that really the only people who deny it are those who are either completely oblivious/ignorant, or, bereft of any semblance of intellectual honesty, simply lying outright. Note, I said those over here. I gather from what you have told me that things are different outside of the U.S., and I certainly wouldn't expect you to be familiar with the inner workings of our academic system. That said, you may take my word for this -- or not. Whichever you choose, I will remain as I am: terrified to express any opinion other than the prescribed, politically correct orthodoxy; unable to write to my local newspaper, or even to use my real name in discussions for fear that some overzealous leftist or secularist academic might dig such things up and, with a wink and a nod, sink an otherwise productive interview process by means of a single e-mail. I am simply happy that we can all agree that this particular instance was grossly unjust and unethical. The rest I leave to your judgement, though I would encourage you to undertake your own examination of the matter, with a sense of objectivity and intellectual honesty -- traits I have always know you to display.
 
-Akolouthos


Edited by Akolouthos - 28 Jan 2011 at 05:24
Back to Top
Guests View Drop Down
Guest Group
Guest Group
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2011 at 23:20
Sometimes there really is nothing like actually being involved in something to understand it.

I do wonder, to what extent will expressing an 'unorthodox' (excuse the pun!) opinion in universities draw a response that is hostile? Certainly I remember back in my days at uni, I had no qualms about expressing my intellectual honesty and it didn't always earn me the nicest of responses. In undergrad I rather enjoyed picking apart my tutor's pet theories, and rather than reward me for my exercising my critical faculties some of them penalised my marks for pointing out the flaws in some idea they dearly cherished.

Then there were my fellow students. I once spied a poster put up by the Marxist group Socialist alternative encouraging a discussion 'Evils of the American empire'. So I went along to the meeting to discover that its organisers had the simple aim of running off a litany of every incident in which the USA had exercised its military muscle. It was all the usual wishy washy nonesense of isolating everything bad that had ever happened without regard to context. When my turn came to speak I flatly told them that their method of historical analysis was amateurish, that they made no use of contemporary comparisons and that if they bothered to look at the wider world they would have found other nations comparably powerful typically killed more people and produced less beneficial innovations. When they objected, I challenged them to provide me some stats on how many people the various other 20th century powers killed (which they couldn't, because they aren't historians, they merely cherry pick history to reinforce their ideology). Despite being one of more than a few dozen people who spoke against the group's thesis, I was singled out at the end by a gruff lesbian whose armpits looked like a nest of poodles and told that I was no longer welcome at their discussion group. I took it in good humour and felt pretty proud of myself that I made them look silly enough they had to bar me.

The point being is that universities are a very intellectually diverse and active place, so conflict is inevitable and not always polite. How much hostility would you receive in your experience compared to what I did?

Another question I would like to probe is this: why do you think universities in America have become this way? I have my suspicions that the rise of religious fundamentalism, the increasing prominence of religion in government, and the infection of academia with fundamentalist teachings (see Liberty University's 3,000 year old dinosaur fossil) may have put academia into a defensive stance. What are your views?
Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5213
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2011 at 23:51
Ako,

When people hire other people, they hire people like themselves. It is natural. That is how group think develops in different fields. In the U.S., it seems that normally one single worldview, theory, or technique will take over a field, and only those who share that worldview end up being able to participate in it.

This seems to be especially strong in academia. It makes sense: there are not enough jobs, there are too many people aspiring to become professors. There is also a tendency in American academia for there to be field-hegemonies.

Take economics, for example. Economics is more like a religion now, where if you are not pushing for neoliberalism, you are considered a total idiot. People advocating pragmatic applications of Keynesian economics, which was the mainstream thought before the 70s, are more or less outcasts. Or look at psychology in the 50s. Everyone was a behaviorist. Non behaviorists simply didn't have jobs, and much less access to research money. Medicine is an interesting field where this happens since it has such fatal consequences, but here it goes: for a while, the hegemony on treating breast cancer was to do remove the whole breast. It took for that generation of doctors to die for the better view that you don't need that often to become prevalent.

Add to the mix in the U.S., that the religious right has been engaged in culture war against science and academia for at least 30 years, if not longer. At some point some populist decided that universities and scientists were the enemies of religious people. And academics and scientists have been at the receiving end of a lot of incendiary abuse. So academics are not going to be inclined to liked those who demonize them. Actually, most sane people aren't.

I believe that Gaskell has taken a good step into having people with religious views try to break into academic work and applying non discrimination laws for religious people. Unfortunately it is going to take a few people destroying their careers, and since, although noble, it is a very expensive act, it may take awhile for this to happen. It is the issue of the mouse having to put the bell on the cat.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 00:02
CIX wrote:
Another question I would like to probe is this: why do you think universities in America have become this way? I have my suspicions that the rise of religious fundamentalism, the increasing prominence of religion in government, and the infection of academia with fundamentalist teachings (see Liberty University's 3,000 year old dinosaur fossil) may have put academia into a defensive stance. What are your views?

Constantine while it may be convenient to explain the bias in certain circles of Academia to defensive reaction against the pervasiveness of religion stemming from the vociferousness of the Fundamentalist tradition and their purported "infection" of the seats of Higher Learning, such would be not only misdirection but also a refusal to recognize that dogmatism exists among the purportedly besieged. Given the fact that many famous American universities have their roots as religious institutions and most know full well how to separate the personal from the professional, the cry that the Halls of Ivy are under attack from religious wing nuts rings hollow. That supposedly mature faculties engage in personal politics when determing the composition of their departments is an old bane. That the "old boy" network has now been replaced in many faculties by a kind of "thought police" is to be regretted since even in the grand old 1960s it was academic productivity and not adherence to a purported "liberal" (how ever such can be defined) ethos that served as the basis for vetting. Now I find it ironic that this instance is almost a script for an updating of Inherit the Wind, and it moved ahead despite the repeated tetchiness among University administrators over discrimination law suits, who were well aware that such an incident would reveal some of the major flaws in the purported "freedom of inquiry" in an academic setting. It is all myth and has been for quite a long time. Hell, I would be willing to assert that entrenched academics of any sort are among the most intolerant groups one might ever encounter in a lifetime!


Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
Akolouthos View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Status: Offline
Points: 3550
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 03:41
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

The point being is that universities are a very intellectually diverse and active place, so conflict is inevitable and not always polite. How much hostility would you receive in your experience compared to what I did?
 
They are less intellectually diverse every year. Honestly, over here they are some of the least intellectually diverse forums for discussion.
 
It's hard to say when it comes to the hostility. Ten years ago, it would have been significantly less. The problem is that the generation entering academia now has been trained by the more ideological boomer professors. Whereas these older ladies and gents still had a bit of perspective, they -- through viewing academia as, primarily, a means of conveying political and social dogmas -- inadvertently failed to pass that perspective on. Now it is impossible to discuss some topics in the classroom -- both with professors and with students. People quite literally fly into a rage over gender, sexuality, political analysis, and religion.
 
Quote Another question I would like to probe is this: why do you think universities in America have become this way? I have my suspicions that the rise of religious fundamentalism, the increasing prominence of religion in government, and the infection of academia with fundamentalist teachings (see Liberty University's 3,000 year old dinosaur fossil) may have put academia into a defensive stance. What are your views?
 
I think that puts the chicken rather before the egg. I'm not saying that the attitude of certain religious and political groups hasn't contributed to the situation as it is now, but this began long before we saw the sort of anti-academia bias we have in some circles now. Either way, I am unimpressed when academics argue that they are no worse than the fundamentalists; the latter don't pretend to be tolerant, open-minded, etc.
 
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I believe that Gaskell has taken a good step into having people with religious views try to break into academic work and applying non discrimination laws for religious people. Unfortunately it is going to take a few people destroying their careers, and since, although noble, it is a very expensive act, it may take awhile for this to happen. It is the issue of the mouse having to put the bell on the cat.
 
That, at least, we can agree on. Honestly, I'm more impressed by the professor who exposed the whole scandal than I am with Gaskell himself. It took courage to stand up to his colleagues on a matter of deep ethical imporatance, and I pray that he hasn't suffered for doing so.
 
-Akolouthos
Back to Top
Joe View Drop Down
Baron
Baron
Avatar

Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Status: Offline
Points: 473
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 04:55
Honestly I think a teacher should be denied because of their beliefs. At the college I go to my Sociology professor almost every single class brings up something about communism,famous communists like leon trosky or how "marx was a genius" for random passages from the communist manifesto. Its quite annoying I often say rude things back like yeah I think Joe McCarthy was a genius. I feel teachers who try to push beliefs down peoples throats don't deserve to teach; But if a teacher isn't to bad or doesn't bring up their beliefs at all then its acceptable. Cause were suppose to learn objectively.
Back to Top
Reginmund View Drop Down
Caliph
Caliph
Avatar

Joined: 08 May 2005
Location: Norway
Status: Offline
Points: 2659
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 10:16
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

The problem here is that the subject has been largely ignored. This is a situation which has to be taken care of in house: until the academic left and the militant secularist community recognizes the problem inherent in the system and moves to be more tolerant -- an adjective which they often claim to embody -- nothing will change and the academic community will continue to function more as a dogmatic church than as a forum for open and vetted inquiry. The problem is that, whether they are aware of the historical development of the concept or not, a substantial portion of these academics are functioning under the guise of a philosophy known as "repressive tolerance" -- which basically asserts that people whom I happen to disagree with are so intolerant that to tolerate their beliefs would be tantamount to tolerating intolerance.
 
Precisely. I think most "secular academics" for lack of a better term are afraid of the consequences of giving religious intellectuals more influence. The problem is that Christianity, Islam and so forth can easily be construed as advocating expansion at all costs, meaning that if a scholar belonging to one of these faiths is in a position to impose his faith on others there is no incentive for him to be tolerant. Given the history of the Western world their scepticism is understandable; it's not that long ago since die hard Christians enjoyed a whole lot of influence and were able to impose their convictions on everyone through legislation. If they were to regain their standing, what's to keep from reassuming their efforts? Doctrinally, it could be argued they are compelled to do so (granted you could also argue the opposite). Of course, secular humanists are doing much the same today and there is very little room for debating the fundamental issues such as the in my opinion irrational and unnecessary idea of inherent human rights, but it's still preferable to having to contend with people who'd want to ban blasphemy, abortion, sexual practices and so forth for religious reasons, regardless of the consequences. While in principle I'd prefer it if these people were to enjoy the same recognition as everyone else, I like many others fear how some of them would use their freedom and would rather be safe than sorry. Of course, Christians today are not what Christians were 50 years ago, and the fears may be unfounded, but who will want to find out?
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5213
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 13:43
Ako,

Do you know if that professor, the one who brought this forward, has tenure? I mean, the difference between having tenure and not in academia is the difference between total wealth and living in a cardboard box in a poor country. Unless you commit a felony, it is pretty hard for anything bad to happen to you. You can do whatever you want.

That said, it is still Gaskell's courage. He could have learned about it, and do nothing with it. He is pretty much killing his academic career by doing this. So he got some money, so what; his days in academia are pretty much over, unless some conservative administrator gives him a job.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 14:13
Hugo, Mr. Gaskell just took the money because, after all, he took a position at the astronomical observatory in Chile, which in the end is more at the crux of astral research than some dinky "show piece" in a campus setting. Here learn all about it...
 
 
But of course some "scientists" would deny anything that does not sit well with their own weltanschauung--
 
 
Somehow many an idealogue forgets one of the major maxims of "scientific" research: Science feeds on its own detritus.
 
Anyway, the University of Texas was not exactly embarrased at having Dr. Gaskell as a research fellow and granting him the identification of Research Scientist...
 
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5213
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 16:37
Dr Gonzaga,

Thanks for the link. I had not done enough research on this, just relying on the links that Akolouthos had provided us, and relying on his narrative.

I didn't know that Mr. Gaskell was a creationist. This changes the discussion completely.

He didn't get hired because of his religious views, he didn't get hired because his beliefs get in the way of scientific world view.

Again, he is not interpreting the Bible in a way that conforms with scientific theories, which many believers who are scientists do. And he is not accepting an alternative scientific, testable theory for the creation of the species.

He is rejecting science in favor of a magical explanation of the creation of the world.

I must take back what I said about this case. I think that the University of Kentucky was justified in refusing to hire him.
Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 17:23
Whoa there, Hugo, just because he's a "creationist" I doubt he would "fudge" the data to prove there are angels in Black Holes!Wink After all your run-of-the-mill Jesuit educator is a "creationist" but no Jesuit High School I know of teaches the earth is but some 4000 years old. If there is a scientific weltanschauung, it is that all dictat must be treated with skepticism. The issue here is a simple one: Is there any evidence that Gaskell's personal beliefs with regards to the origins of the "beginning" has affected the quality of his work in astrophysical observation.
 
Would a rabid fundamentalist write the following:
 

The universe is believed to have been created 13.73 +/- 0.12 billion years ago, and astronomers are now seeing galaxies back to within one billion years of creation.  By contrast with this, our earth has only been around for 4.5 billion years.   In recent evolution of the universe, astronomers do not consider a mere billion years to be long, but in the context of life on the earth, enormous changes have taken place in the last billion years.  For example, the "Cambrian Explosion" when multi-cellular life as we know it suddenly develops was only 530 million years ago.

 
I cited the the pharyngula blog simply to underscore that the diatribe found there only showed that the composer of that piece had never bothered to read anything that Gaskell had produced in the field of astronomy and went off on his own tangent a la Dawkins or Hitchens. I can believe the moon is made of green cheese but such is irrelevant to the quality of my writing or my research within my field of expertise. It might be odd but that's about it. I understand that just the writing of the word "created" would send some idiots into a tizz but then the big bang as some sort of parthenogenesis (virgin birth) is also unprovable and I can just imagine what some dolts today would make of Einstein's declaration that "God does not throw dice".
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 01 Feb 2011 at 17:23
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
hugoestr View Drop Down
King
King

Most Glorious Leader of Muzhnopia

Joined: 13 Aug 2004
Status: Offline
Points: 5213
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 18:34
Dear Dr D.

You can believe in evolution, and believe that evolution is the hand of God. Nothing stops you from doing that. Nothing stops you from believing that Genesis is true through symbolism.

But if you are a scientist, and you advocate for creationism over evolution, then yes, your religious views are getting in the way of practicing science.


Also, if you didn't want to bring this forth, why did you link to that page? wasn't that supposed to support your arguments?
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 18:53
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Take economics, for example. Economics is more like a religion now,
It always was.  
Quote
where if you are not pushing for neoliberalism, you are considered a total idiot.
Well, not by the Nobel committee, but I guess you're talking about America.
Quote
People advocating pragmatic applications of Keynesian economics, which was the mainstream thought before the 70s, are more or less outcasts.
Too many people took Keynesian economics as a Bible, for the usual reason that they never properly understood it. I exempt some, like Joan Robinson and Galbraith, from that. Original thinkers like Veblen got little credence from either side because he refused to accept their dogma.
Quote
Or look at psychology in the 50s. Everyone was a behaviorist. Non behaviorists simply didn't have jobs, and much less access to research money.
So they moved into business studies....
 
I rather agree with your theme though. Up till the 'sixties Nobody except a Taylorian or Maynardite had much of an audience, until fairly suddenly the organisational behaviourists arrived: but then McGregor and the rest became the only acceptable school in their turn.
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 18:59
Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

 
They are less intellectually diverse every year. Honestly, over here they are some of the least intellectually diverse forums for discussion.
Do you really think that phenomenon has nothing to do with the increasing prominence ond fervency of the 'religious right'? Or for that matter of the Islamic equivalent elsewhere.
 
People who try and inculcate their religious beliefs into the law must expect to be resisted, especially in a country which is supposed to keep religion out of it.
 
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2011 at 20:14
Hugo wrote:
 
Also, if you didn't want to bring this forth, why did you link to that page? wasn't that supposed to support your arguments?
However Hugo you forgot the reason for my citing that link:
 
But of course some "scientists" would deny anything that does not sit well with their own weltanschauung--
 
Did you not notice the " " around my use of the word scientist as well as all the verbiage over evolution and Gaskell being a "creationist". Can you say that Gaskell fits into the mold of someone that would teach the earth is but 4,000 years and "evolution" is but a nasty word after reading the excise of his views I placed above? Certainly anyone who wrote "and astronomers are now seeing galaxies back to about one billion years of creation" can not be accused of what is the hallmark of the fundamentalist: the literal inerrancy of Scripture--7 days and that it with taking place since Adam who is 2000 years distant from Abraham! Besides, the claim that we must fear people who try to inculcate their religious beliefs into law is a sham argument. Deus ex machina is hardly a subversive notion and the historical fact with respect to freedom of conscience is that this premise is in and of itself a religious ideal. One of the most glaring of contemporary political myths is the notion that exclusion of particularist religious notions from the public forum was the product of liberal free-thinkers. Such is garbage since within the political milieu of the United States such came about as a result of very religious individuals. If you know your history of public education in New York state you can not avoid the name of Bishon John "Dagger" Hughes. It is to him rather than the peripatetic musings of Thomas Jefferson that one must look for the keeping of the King James Bible out of the public schools! He lost his first pitched Constitutional battle in the 1840s but he eventually won the war! In many ways the constant yammer over the "religious right" is but a strawman convenient to some but entirely chimerical given the nature of religion and politics within the United States.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
Joe View Drop Down
Baron
Baron
Avatar

Joined: 19 Jan 2011
Status: Offline
Points: 473
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2011 at 17:18
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Akolouthos Akolouthos wrote:

 
They are less intellectually diverse every year. Honestly, over here they are some of the least intellectually diverse forums for discussion.
Do you really think that phenomenon has nothing to do with the increasing prominence ond fervency of the 'religious right'? Or for that matter of the Islamic equivalent elsewhere.
 
People who try and inculcate their religious beliefs into the law must expect to be resisted, especially in a country which is supposed to keep religion out of it.
 

I'd say it also has to do with modern culture. In my college all everybody talks about is BS or a new CD or how many shots they took last night. One time me and some acquaintances were talking about the bar exam and I made a crack "its so hard James Madison couldn't even pass" out of the ten people there nobody got the joke and a few didn't even know who James Madison was but they all know who Lil Wayne is or that he got probation or how much a bottle of hennesy cost.
Back to Top
Panther View Drop Down
Moderator
Moderator
Avatar
Editorial Staff

Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Location: Texas
Status: Offline
Points: 4577
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Feb 2011 at 22:03
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:



When people hire other people, they hire people like themselves. It is natural. That is how group think develops in different fields. In the U.S., it seems that normally one single worldview, theory, or technique will take over a field, and only those who share that worldview end up being able to participate in it.

This seems to be especially strong in academia. It makes sense: there are not enough jobs, there are too many people aspiring to become professors. There is also a tendency in American academia for there to be field-hegemonies.


If that is their excuse, then i think it is a incredibly shallow and exceedingly poor one? The individuals involved in this affair are way smarter than i will ever be, and yet seemed to have forgotten the existence of EOE that all potential employers have to abide by.

Quote
Add to the mix in the U.S., that the religious right has been engaged in culture war against science and academia for at least 30 years, if not longer. At some point some populist decided that universities and scientists were the enemies of religious people. And academics and scientists have been at the receiving end of a lot of incendiary abuse. So academics are not going to be inclined to liked those who demonize them. Actually, most sane people aren't.


Let's just say intolerance exists everywhere and forget about the religious right and the godless left for the time being?

Quote
I believe that Gaskell has taken a good step into having people with religious views try to break into academic work and applying non discrimination laws for religious people. Unfortunately it is going to take a few people destroying their careers, and since, although noble, it is a very expensive act, it may take awhile for this to happen. It is the issue of the mouse having to put the bell on the cat.


Again, that leads me too wonder, what is the purpose of the EOE anyways if it is not even going to be enforced?


Edited by Panther - 03 Feb 2011 at 22:07
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2011 at 13:54
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Again, that leads me too wonder, what is the purpose of the EOE anyways if it is not even going to be enforced?
 
I'm not sure wha you ean by EOE, but the problem is illustrated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Quote Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, (1) it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to hire and employ employees, for an employment agency to classify, or refer for employment any individual, for a labor organization to classify its membership or to classify or refer for employment any individual, or for an employer, labor organization, or joint labor­management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining programs to admit or employ any individual in any such program, on the basis of his religion, sex, or national origin in those certain instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise, and (2) it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for a school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning to hire and employ employees of a particular religion if such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is, in whole or in substantial part, owned, supported, controlled, or managed by a particular religion or by a particular religious corporation, association, or society, or if the curriculum of such school, college, university, or other educational institution or institution of learning is directed toward the propagation of a particular religion.
 
 
Quite clearly that exempts something like Bob Jones' university from the provisions of the act: he can discriminate as much as he likes. So can a seminary or a madrassa. Why should not the same apply to a secular university? One that is directed to the propagation of a 'particular religion', which scientism can certainly claim to be.
 
Put another way, since the act makes it legal for an enterprise to limit recruitment to the preachers of religion, why should it not be legal to restrict employment to preachers against religion (which, implicitly, usually means preachers of a different religion?
 
Difficult question to answer. Which is probably why, to answer your question, it is allowed to stay unenforced.
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 04 Feb 2011 at 13:57
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
drgonzaga View Drop Down
King
King
Avatar
Plus Ultra

Joined: 01 Oct 2005
Status: Offline
Points: 6262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2011 at 15:10
Appealing to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a basis for interpretation giving an "out" to the U of K is akin to choosing an MG roadster over a Rolls as comfortable transport. But  Gcle do not push forth such an interpretation or you might be tapped for a judgeship in the 9th Circuit of the Federal judiciary! The governing instrument here is the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and its guidelines as superseded by the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972 and further modified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1995. Of even greater consequence is the premise that any entity receiving but one penny in Federal funds must adhere to and come under the jurisdiction of the EEOC. Here is the breakdown:
 
 
Nice try though at equating the secularist or atheist as a "religious" conviction, now your chore is to convince these that they are! Poor Madeline Murray O'Hare never could.
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Back to Top
gcle2003 View Drop Down
WorldHistoria Master
WorldHistoria Master
Avatar
PM Honorary Member

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Location: Luxembourg
Status: Offline
Points: 13262
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Feb 2011 at 15:42
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Appealing to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a basis for interpretation giving an "out" to the U of K is akin to choosing an MG roadster over a Rolls as comfortable transport. But  Gcle do not push forth such an interpretation or you might be tapped for a judgeship in the 9th Circuit of the Federal judiciary! The governing instrument here is the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and its guidelines as superseded by the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972 and further modified by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1995. Of even greater consequence is the premise that any entity receiving but one penny in Federal funds must adhere to and come under the jurisdiction of the EEOC. Here is the breakdown:
 
You can search the EOEC site at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/index.cfm high and low and not find much of any great precision - I couldn't find any texts there. In fact texts are hard to find generally it seems. The act that forces universities (and others) to comply if they receive federal funds (the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 - doesn't as far as I can see apply to religious discrimination, though it applies to sex, age, race and disability. This is possibly because otherwise it would have no passed (or Reagan's veto could not have been overridden) because of disagreements over the abortion issues.
 
There appears to be an executive order regarding enterprises working on government contracts, but the whole area is very tangled.
Quote
Nice try though at equating the secularist or atheist as a "religious" conviction, now your chore is to convince these that they are! Poor Madeline Murray O'Hare never could.
It's one of my favourite causes, if also one of those that may be lost because neither side is interested in objectivity Smile
Citizen of Ankh-Morpork.

Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.125 seconds.