Ball State Imbroglio: What About Gonzalez?

The Discoveroids’ listing of what they regard as the Top Ten items of the year has provided us with considerable entertainment during a time when news of The Controversy is at an all-time low. Now it appears that we’re not the only ones who are searching for material, and as we’ve pointed out in the past, these news lulls can lead to interesting insights.

We found something good in the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana — the home town of Ball State University. They’ve been a useful source of news about what we call the Ball State Imbroglio. For example, we relied on their reporting last July when we wrote Statement from Ball State University’s President. Jo Ann Gora’s informed and vigorous statement of policy that “intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses” drove the Discoveroids to an extraordinary level of frenzy.

They actually issued some kind of ultimatum to the university. We wrote about that in Ball State to Discoveroids: “Bugger Off!” Our information was based on another story in the Star Press — in which they described the Discovery Institute with these words:

The institute is an anti-evolution, pro-creationism intelligent design think tank in Seattle that maintains supernatural forces shaped the universe.

So let’s take a look at the latest creationist news to be reported by the Star Press. Their headline is Gora’s ‘gag order’ a top story of 2013.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They’re writing about the Discoveroids’ list of their Top Ten stories for the year. You recall that the Discoveroids had ranked their humiliation at Ball State as their Number Four, which inspired us to write Discovery Institute’s Triumph #4 for 2013. Let’s see what the Star Press says about it:

BSU President Jo An Gora’s “gag order” on teaching intelligent design in science classrooms has been named one of the top 10 evolution stories of the year by Evolution News & Views.


In July, Gora concluded that “intelligent design is overwhelmingly deemed by the scientific community as a religious belief and not a scientific theory. Therefore, intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses.”

Yes, yes — we know all that. Let’s read on:

Evolution News & Views, a daily online news service of The Discovery Institute, a Seattle ID think tank, named “Ball State President Imposes Gag Order on Intelligent Design” as its fourth-biggest evolution story of 2013.

Yeah — the Discoveroids’ blog is a “news service.” So was Baghdad Bob. Anyway, the newspaper then talks about some of the Discoveroids’ other big accomplishments in their Top Ten. We’ve been through all that. Oh wait — then they drop the topic of the Discoveroids’ list.

They spend the rest of a rather long article discussing the issue we wrote about here: Ball State University Hires Guillermo Gonzalez. We’ve decided to call him “Gonzo.” His hiring was a surprise, considering that his prior position had been teaching at a bible college — a faculty post that isn’t the greatest science credential. Aside from that, Gonzo is known to be a Discoveroid “senior fellow,” so adding him to the Ball State faculty struck us as far more controversial than the fuss over physics professor Eric Hedin and his course on the “Boundaries of Science.”

We always thought that the mysterious hiring of Gonzo was the big story at Ball state, yet it was being unreported. We try to be aware of things that don’t happen when it’s natural that they should (sort of like Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark in Silver Blaze), so our suspicions were enhanced because, throughout the Ball State Imbroglio, the Discoveroids have been silent about Gonzo. Back when we wrote Battle of Ball State: Setting the Stage we said:

A word of advice from the Curmudgeon to Ball State: Don’t worry about the Discoveroids’ feigned concern over Hedin, and don’t be troubled when they say you’re Orwellian. Remember the teachings of Sun Tzu. War is often about deception and diversionary maneuvers. The Discoveroids’ indignation over Eric Hedin’s class is merely a distraction. Keep your eyes on Gonzalez.

We are very pleased to see that the Star Press‘s article pays more attention to Gonzo than to the incident that made the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list. They they say there may have been irregularities, or at least peculiarities, in the procedures that led to Gonzo’s hiring. We want you to read it for yourself, so click over there. This is a news story we recommend.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Ball State Imbroglio: What About Gonzalez?

  1. That Star Press article is great. BSU physics engaged in some skullduggery. Gonzalez filed his application before the “official” start of advertising for that position, so they admit he had inside information. It seems that real advertising didn’t start until a month after that. In their ad BSU said applications would be accepted until July 1– then they stopped accepting applications March 27– after 27 days! 30 is the accepted minimum.


  2. Star Press article quotes genuine astronomer Michael J.I. Brown:

    Brown told The Star Press: “The number of astronomers who believe in ID/creationism is tiny, so it is unlikely that two ID-believing astronomers (Gonzalez and Hedin) would end up at the same university by random chance. It flags a potentially biased job search. It would be equally unlikely … if two astronomers who owned chimpanzees ended up in the same modestly sized astrophysics group.”

    Oook oook, indeed!

  3. Nice to see these concerns reported in the local paper. Maybe the publicity will motivate the university to organize a review of their hiring process.

  4. The Star Press article was a good one. It’s nice to see a local newspaper that doesn’t fawn over the babblings of creationists.

  5. I tried to leave a comment on the Star Press’ website, but there was some kind of computer glitch that prevented continued typing.

    What I tried to say was, “Who was the person who played the lead in hiring Gonzalez?” It would appear to be someone in a senior position.

    Also, their website wouldn’t let me click on the rest of the one comment that had already been posted. Strange.

  6. I revisited the Star Press website with a different computer, and had no problem reading the rest of the first comment. So, I’m going to try leaving a comment there again.

  7. Need to have a Facebook account to comment, and I don’t. Here’s what I would have commented:

    “Who was the individual who played the lead in hiring Gonzalez? It would appear to have been someone in a senior position. It would also seem that this person has placed the university in a vulnerable position, given the possibility of a class action lawsuit based on religious discrimination per Frank Pettit’s suggestion.”

    (Frank Pettit was the first commenter, and suggested that the 39 real astronomers who had applied but were not hired had grounds for suit.)

    If anyone agrees with my comment and wants to post it on the Star Press’ website using their Facebook account, please feel free to do so.

  8. Who might have known about the position at BSU before it was publicized? Perhaps I might suggest one Eric Hedin, a member of the BSU faculty and certainly a person who would welcome a creationist colleague to his department’s fold.

    (I did find the ad put out by BSU and referenced it here or on the PT site.)

  9. Ball State promises to have “interesting times” along the lines of the ancient, Chinese curse. Gonzo is still sore about his Iowa State experience and wrote a long diatribe about how he is in no way apologetic (ha ha, that’s funny!) about what he did in Iowa or his commitment to IDC. He’s going to be cagier about his ID involvement until he gets tenure at Ball State at which time he’ll follow his mentor Behe into infamy.

    Now, the trick for Gonzo, unlike Behe, will be to sift through the ashes of his career and find enough legitimate stuff to do to actually get tenure. That may be tough. He’ll have to mentor students, teach classes, bring in grants and do research, none of which he has accomplished in his career so far.

    My prediction is that he will continue to underperform and fail just like every other IDC and will ultimate end up with a job at AIG, or ICR or the Disco Tute. Who’s covering that bet?

  10. I had posted this regarding Gonzo’s job position on PT:

    I said it was a contract position, not a tenured position, at least at the time of posting. Now this link apparently doesn’t work, but if someone wants to try the wayback machine you might find something. (aas is the American Astronomical Society).