Leading Advocate of Intelligent Design Is Denied Tenure at Iowa State U.

May 15, 2007

Iowa State University has denied tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy who has been a prominent supporter of the idea of intelligent design. Mr. Gonzalez is appealing the university’s decision, according to an unusual news release issued by the university to explain its action. The release states that every level of review, from the departmental committee to the provost, determined that Mr. Gonzalez should not be awarded tenure.

In August 2005, 120 faculty members at Iowa State issued a statement denouncing intelligent design, in part as a reaction to Mr. Gonzalez’s work in the area. Intelligent-design advocates believe that some biological systems are so complex that they could have arisen only through the action of an intelligent force and not simply through Darwinian evolution, the theory of life that has overwhelming support from scientists.

The Discovery Institute, a leading backer of the intelligent-design movement, issued a news release on Monday that denounced the decision, saying that Mr. Gonzalez had written 68 peer-reviewed publications, far more than his department requires for tenure. But some comments on science blogs have questioned the worth of many of those publications and of Mr. Gonzalez’s scholarship in general. —Richard Monastersky