Martin Gaskell v. Univ. of Kentucky — It’s Settled

We’ve been scooped again by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). They report: Settlement in the Gaskell case.

We posted twice before about this case: Creationist Astronomer Sues Univ. of Kentucky and also Discovery Institute Discovers Martin Gaskell . Gaskell didn’t get an astronomy position at the University of Kentucky and he sued them, alleging that what the university thought were his creationist beliefs resulted in unlawful religious discrimination against him.

Here are some excerpts from NCSE’s article, with bold font added by us:

A settlement was reached in C. Martin Gaskell v. University of Kentucky, and the parties are moving for a dismissal of the lawsuit.

It’s always good to see these things resolved without a trial. That’s not much fun for bloggers, but it’s good nevertheless. Let’s read on:

In the settlement, the University of Kentucky agreed to pay Gaskell and his attorneys $125,000; the parties are responsible for their own costs and attorney fees. The settlement provided (PDF, p. 3), “The parties agree that by entering into this Release and Settlement Agreement, the Defendant, University of Kentucky, is not admitting wrongdoing,” …

Here’s another link to the Release and Settlement Agreement. It’s a 6-page pdf file. The university pays $125K, everyone releases everyone else, and no one admits doing anything wrong.

Don’t read too much into that settlement. It’s true that the university pays, but it might have cost them that much in attorney’s fees to go through a trial even if they won the case. This way they end the matter swiftly. Also, they were remarkably clumsy in how they handled this affair, so it’s not an unjust result (in our humble opinion).

Is Gaskell a creationist? He’s said some odd things that aroused suspicion, but a friend of ours knows him and says he’s not a creationist. We have no idea, but everyone says he’s a fine astronomer. We wish him well in his new position at an observatory in Chile.

The National Center for Science Education has an archive of all the pleadings at their website, available here: C. Martin Gaskell v. University of Kentucky.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Martin Gaskell v. Univ. of Kentucky — It’s Settled

  1. A good muddled ending to a muddled case. I certainly do not like some of what he wrote on his website, including the patently untrue claim that ID isn’t religious (would you want your PR guy telling people that?). Nevertheless, he also claimed that he wasn’t opposed to normal evolutionary explanations, either, so it’s hard to know what his point was.

    I’d guess that Gaskell comes out about even, and while UK is obviously out a significant amount, but rather less than it could have been even if the judgment went in their favor.

  2. Benjamin Franklin

    Like divorce, the only winners in situations like these are the lawyers.

    The reputations of both Gaskell and UK are sullied. Gaskell will most probably never get tenure as a professor of Astronomy, and will be regarded as a poison pill to academia (even though his career was not what one could call ‘on the fast track’).

    But, there’s always “Dancing With The Stars”, Martin.

    Do they samba in Chile?

  3. On an unrelated topic, I was on fstdt and I was eventually led to this guy:

    The unifyng feature of all these cesspools is the anonymity of their heads and participants. If someone knows the identity of the Sensuous Curmudgeon please let me know so I can broadcast it far and wide. That goes for any other cowardly, low life, snotty blogczar and his equally cowardly followers. Anonymity is without question the most degenerate feature of internet communication. It should never have been allowed. Imagine a scientific literature (or any other kind of literature) with unkown authors. It is one more manifestation of what Judge Robert Bork described in his book “Slouching Towards Gommorah.” We have become a civilization of intellectual, moral and ethical TRASH. Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

    Any idea what you did to piss that guy off?

  4. ^^ that’s John Davison, he’s… not sane. From PZ Myers’s site: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/i_get_email_61.php

  5. If I recall correctly, I think he was banned from here a year or two ago.

  6. Benjamin Franklin

    Anonymity is without question the most degenerate feature of internet communication. It should never have been allowed.
    […]
    Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

    Nonsense.

    During the eighteenth century, it was common for writers and journalists to use pseudonyms, or false names, when they created newspaper articles and letters to the editor. Benjamin Franklin used this convention extensively throughout his life, sometimes to express an idea that might have been considered slanderous or even illegal by the authorities; other times to present two sides of an issue, much like the point-counterpoint style of journalism used today.

    Silence Dogood, Richard Saunders, Busy Body, Anthony Afterwit, Alice Addertongue, Polly Baker, and Benevolus were a few of his know pen names.

    I rather think that if for any reason the founding fathers would be rolling in their graves, it would be over concern for the degree to which the populace has lost its true representation in government.

  7. SC: “Is Gaskell a creationist? He’s said some odd things that aroused suspicion, but a friend of ours knows him and says he’s not a creationist.”

    As long as we let ID scammers bait and switch definitions of “creationist” and “creationism” the only correct answer is “yes and no.”

    The important question is whether one misrepresents evolution and the nature of science. If the answer to that is “yes,” that person promotes “creationism” by whatever definition one wants to use.

  8. The problem with this SNAFU is that the he taught and did his research in Astronomy using current accepted practices and theories. In his private life he wrote on the interaction of religion and science in our soceity. The faculty at UK used his religious beliefs as a reason not to hire him. They were not able to show that these beliefs ever entered into his classrooms.