Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Martin Gaskell v University of Kentucky

I have an article today on Comment is Free at the Guardian on the strange case of Martin Gaskell, a devout Christian, who was rejected for an astronomy post at the University of Kentucky. The reasons for his rejection appear to have been based on his religion and he won $125,000 in an out-of-court settlement as a result.

Many of new atheist persuasion seem to feel rather let down by the University settling the case. The comments on my piece give an indication of the diversity of opinion on this matter.

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum


Andrew Brew said...

"Diversity of opinion". At the Guardian.

Very dry, James.

Tim O'Neill said...

As I've noted on the Quodlibeta forum, this guy has changed his online record to remove previous endorsements of blatantly Creationist crap. I backed you up on the Guardian's comments section James but am regretting it now.

You seem to be backing a losing horse here - this guy is far more than just a theist who accepts evolution. He also seems to be a liar.

James said...

Hi Tim,

I've replied at the forum. See you there.


James said...

On the subject of diverse views, my article has not gone down too well at Butterflies and Wheels:

Duke of Earl said...

Ooh, I love some of the comments. Who wants a raving creationist teaching science like, you know, Maxwell, or Newton, or Pasteur, or von Braun?

Oh and yes, evolutionary beliefs were linked to Nazism and the Holocaust. It's one of those inconvenient truths of history.

Of course the comments wouldn't be complete without equating creationists with flat earthers and child abusers.

The general contempt I have for atheists (you're excluded from that Tim) just rose a few notches. It's quite depressing actually.

Sisko said...

You know, I'd have more respect for Butterflies and Wheels if they didn't delete comments or ban people who were giving them a right pounding.

Tim O'Neill said...

Oh and yes, evolutionary beliefs were linked to Nazism and the Holocaust. It's one of those inconvenient truths of history.

Another inconvenient fact is that using this as a stick with which to beat the science of evolution is like using the application of physics to build the Hiroshima bomb to attack the science of nuclear physics.

How people chose, rightly or wrongly, to apply science in the real world tells us nothing about the veracity of that science.

Kooky theistic claims about the "Aryan race" being the perfect reflection of the "Creator" and vile anti-Semitic slurs about Jews being "Christ killers" were also "linked to Nazism and the Holocaust". That tells us a lot about the Nazis and nothing at all about the validity of theism or Christianity per se.

Matko said...

Nazism is closer to neo-paganism than to Christianity.

Matko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merkavah said...

Actually Earl, the Holocaust and Nazi eugenics were far closer aligned to concepts of " racial purity" and the quest for the ubermensch which the Nazi's stole from and then warped from Nietzsche.

You could say alot of things about Nietzsche but he was not an antisemite.

So blaming evolutionary thought for this is just as foolish.

Suburbanbanshee said...

It seems the commenters really didn't read your essay, and certainly didn't apply the implications of UK's little contretemps to themselves and their own potential job prospects.

1. Lots of professors, and lots of science ones among them, hold non-mainstream ideas. Some of this goes to academic freedom, and some of it academic eccentricity.

2. Lots of professors, and lots of science ones among them, are extremely outspoken about their weird ideas inside and outside their field. One might mention Noam Chomsky, who hasn't pretended to do linguistics work at MIT for at least thirty years, but still collected his paycheck for same.

3. Lots of people inside and outside academe have extensive Internet paper trails of their weird idea-holding.

4. You never know what will become a fashionable shibboleth next, and hence convict you of holding weird ideas.

5. If UK could hire this way without penalty, nobody could be secure in their rights as a potential hire-ee.

Fairly straightforward.

danielj said...

Ridiculous oversimplification about the evil of Nazis and the innate goodness of Jews is so retarded.

I expect more of educated Catholics I respect. I certainly don't come here for the Catholicism.

Humphrey said...


Hmmm. Anyone know what this chap is on about ??

Matko said...

I'm afraid not, but the one above him smears unjustifiably the greatest linguist of 20th century.

Joel said...

Chomsky may be a great linguist, but his ridiculous Marxist anti-Americans screeds in politics and history deserve contempt.

Joel said...

Well, maybe "contempt" is too strong a word - but the stuff he writes outside of his specialty IS ridiculous, and it's the main thing he's known for in the past few decades.

Matko said...

Joel, I fully agree with you, but the poster had Chomsky's scientific and philosophical work on his mind when he made that rhetorical jab.