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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

U Kentucky Settles Lawsuit

Over at the Instapundit is a post on Astronomer C. Martin Gaskell, of the University of Nebraska, suing the University of Kentucky because he was denied an appointment, apparently because of his Christianity.
After being snubbed for the directorship in 2007, Gaskell alleged that Kentucky officials had passed on him because of his Christian views -- a claim his lawyers say is supported by e-mails sent by members of the search committee, as well as sworn testimony given by the panel's members and other Kentucky faculty.  The university will pay the spurned astronomer $125,000 -- roughly the equivalent of the extra money Gaskell would have made if he had held the directorship for two years, according to Francis Marion, a senior trial lawyer for the National Center for Law & Justice, which worked the astronomer's case pro bono.  A district court judge had denied motions for summary judgment from both parties.

The bulk of Gaskell’s published work addresses the technical aspects of black holes. But he also made a hobby of criticizing the prima facie dismissal of Biblical assertions as irrelevant to scientific theory, while advocating for a view of natural history that rejects neither the Judeo-Christian creation story nor evolution. In a document published on his personal website -- which later became fodder for discussion among his would-be employers at Kentucky -- Gaskell criticized both creationists and evolutionary scientists for perpetuating bad science.
Instapundit Reader Matthias Shapiro opined:
It seems that the researchers at University of Kentucky weren’t even really that concerned about Mr. Gaskell’s Christian worldview. (Incidentally, Gaskell’s views are actually pretty mainstream. I’ll bet he and Francis Collins – a Christian geneticist appointed by President Obama as director of the NIH and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief- would probably have a grand old time talking science and religion.) Their biggest concern was that the media wouldn’t be able to understand the subtleties of Mr. Gaskell’s line of argumentation and would interpret any discussion about evolution coming from a Christian as “creationism”. These idiots looked at Gaskell’s views, and imagined that the media wouldn’t be able to comprehend a calm, intelligent discussion about science and religion.

Where ever would they have gotten that idea?
There is a range of views on this, as the article linked shows, toward the bottom.  For example, it would appear that Dr Paul Z. Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris, would not wish to see Mr Thomas L Friedman hired to teach journalism, given his popular book on the history of the 21st Century.

Regards  —  Cliff

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