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Expelled…Again (UPDATE)

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

In February we released an article concerning Martin Gaskell (see Miller, 2011), an astrophysicist who sued the University of Kentucky for not hiring him to be the director of the new, prestigious MacAdam Student Observatory. According to Gaskell, evidence from e-mails between professors in the university proved his rejection was due to his Christian faith and his creation views, which had been perceived to be critical of evolution (Lovan, 2011). Gaskell does not even believe in the creation view that puts the Universe at only a few thousand years old, and yet he was expelled from the position before he was even hired as the director. His attorney, Frank Manion, said, “[W]hat I do think this case disclosed is a kind of endemic, almost knee-jerk reaction in academia towards people, especially scientists, of a strong religious faith” (Lovan, 2011). According to science professors at the University, Gaskell was “something close to a creationist” and “potentially evangelical” (Lovan, 2011), and therefore, his faith “could conflict with his duties as a scientist” (Lovan, 2010). [Note: Creation scientists do and have for millennia operated effectively and even exceptionally as scientists. Many of the greatest scientific and technological breakthroughs in history came as a result of the work of such people.]

Recall that U.S. District Judge Karl S. Forester agreed that the evidence was substantial enough to warrant a trial and rejected a motion from the university to dismiss the proceedings. He said, “There is no dispute that based on his application, Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position” (Lovan, 2010). Since releasing our article in February, the University of Kentucky has decided to settle the case out of court, awarding Gaskell $125,000. Gaskell is currently a research fellow at the University of Texas in the astronomy department. It is nice to know that the University of Texas, at least, has not expelled Gaskell for his faith (at least, not yet), and that there are individuals willing to stand up against religious discrimination and attorneys who will take their case. One has to wonder—if Gaskell believed in the literal account of Creation, would he still find himself among the throng of unemployed persons in America?

REFERENCES

Lovan, Dylan (2010), “Scientist Alleges Religious Discrimination in KY,” The Washington Post, December 10, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/17/AR2010121701178.html.

Lovan, Dylan (2011), “University of Kentucky Settles Suit With Astronomer Martin Gaskell,” The Huffington Post, January 18, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/18/university-of-kentucky-se_n_810540.html.

Miller, Jeff (2011), “Expelled…Again,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3655.




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