Well, the defenders of Scientific Correctness have themselves into another fine logical mess.
They are claiming once again that Intelligent Design is a religious, rather than a scientific position. So far the claim has served them well. It allows them to simply dismiss it without actually doing any intellectual heavy lifting. They can simply raise their noses high, sniff audibly, and utter, in a dismissing tone, vague things about the integrity of science.
But the Gaskell affair at the University of Kentucky has got them all tied up in logical knots. Gaskell was the best qualified of seven candidates for the post of observatory director at UK until one member of the search committee got wind that he was a Christian, at which point some members of the committee--and apparently some faculty in the biology department--began a campaign to smear his reputation in order to deny him employment. They ended up hiring the third best candidate for the position rather than have a Christian on staff in one of their science departments.
It started when Sally Shafer, a UK staffer apparently in charge of keeping the university religion-free, Googled information on Gaskell and discovered he had given a lecture at UK in 1997 on science and religion, in which he went over the long list of Christian scientists in history and said that he adhered to the majority position in science that the universe--and the earth--were very old. He went on to say that, although he accepted natural selection, there were some unanswered questions about it.
Shafer, apparently appalled that Gaskell would discuss religion and science in the same lecture, and clearly disturbed that he had used the two words anywhere in the same vicinity, swung into action and reported Gaskell to the search committee as (brace yourself, this is strong language) a "potential evangelical."
Several other appalled committee members began calling him a "creationist" and "Intelligent Design" advocate, although the first is certainly untrue, and the second is not entirely clear from the record. In any case, the consequence was that he was passed over, even though, according to court documents, he was clearly the most qualified candidate. Gaskell then sued the university for religious discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
But what is interesting is the reasons now being given to justify his treatment at the hands of UK's Scientific Inquisition.
According to the critics of Intelligent Design, ID is a religious position, not a scientific one. But if it is a religious position, then those who hold it cannot be discriminated against on the basis that they hold it under the Civil Rights Act. If ID is a religious position, then its advocates should not be allowed in university science departments. But if it is a religious position, then it is discrimination not to hire them on that basis.
Oooh. Not a good dilemma to be in. But the critics--on this blog anyway--just go on blindly ignoring the inconsistency.
Again, it is not clear that Gaskell holds to an Intelligent Design position. We're just granting it for the sake of argument here.
If Intelligent Design is a religious position, then Gaskell cannot be denied employment on the basis of holding believing it. And if it is scientific, then he should not be denied employment for holding it.
Go ahead Maniacs, tell me how you get out of this one.