I officially retract my question to Luskin as it has been answered. When I last asked my question of Luskin in regards to their assertion that the denial of tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez was a matter of “academic freedom”, I really wanted an answer to it. My question was:
Mr. Luskin, is it the considered opinion of the DI, UD etc., that it is never acceptable to discriminate against a professor in a tenure decision based on their ideas?
Now, Tara shows me the answer to my question in her post Why deny only one part of science? IDists branch out into AIDS denial.
I think my question is answered, and it is “no”.
Now, it’s been frequently mentioned on here that prominent IDers Phillip Johnson and Jon Wells have previously stated their “skepticism” of HIV as the cause of AIDS. To their credit, most IDers I know disagree with Johnson and Wells on this point. However, Scot and Cordova buy right into it. Scot:
That said it’s not wholly unlikely that HIV is a symptom rather than a cause of AIDS. From my POV 23 years of considering it the cause of AIDS has not moved us any closer to a vaccine. There are two possibilities in that. The first is that the virus is just too insidious but second is that it isn’t insidious it’s just not the cause so no amount of effort against the virus will prevent the disease. However it does seem incredibly unlikely that AIDS isn’t a transmissable disease caused by infectious element of some sort so if not HIV then what is it? The evidence is circumstantial and compelling but the lack of progress in curing AIDS is also compelling evidence that we’re on the wrong track.
Incredibly likely? Because we have no vaccine? That means that more than 99% of all infectious diseases, then, aren’t infectious.
Even if the dissent is wrong, it would be hard to argue those involved are crackpots. [Cites Kary Mullis, Bernard Forscher and David Rasnick]. Given how I’ve seen Darwinian evolution promoted and how it has created harmful medical and social practices, it’s hard not to be skeptical of all sorts of accepted scientific “truths”.
At least they’re consistent. With Dembski defending a holocaust denier, their AGW denialism from DaveScot, their general evolution denialism, and now HIV/AIDS denialism from at least 4 prominent IDers, I think it’s safe to write of the Discovery Institute and the intelligent design creationist movement as just another clearing house for anti-science and denialism. They clearly wouldn’t have a problem with a virology department hiring an HIV/AIDS denier, or a history department hiring a holocaust denier because they simply aren’t competent to judge what is good science and what isn’t.
Now, people may ask, why is this? Why is there so much overlap between cranks? Why do they not care if a crank has an inconsistent view as long as they’re attacking science? For instance, there is no consistency between the various IDers and their beliefs of what intelligent design covers – Behe is a raging “Darwinist” compared to Dembski for instance. Why are they like this?
Well I think our original post on the Unified Theory of the Crank still has the explanation. The fundamental issue is that of competence. Cranks can not make competent scientific arguments. And because people who are incompetent are not capable of recognizing competence in others (discussed in the post), cranks are not competent to judge the scientific arguments of others. Further, they enjoy anything that attacks perceived scientific “orthodoxy” because they figure if one aspect of the orthodoxy can be attacked, why not the orthdoxy they hate so much? They see science as a uniform enemy to be attacked, and any aspect of science that can be brought into question is an advance of their cause because they are fundamentally anti-science. They want their overvalued ideas to be believed by others, and science is in the way. Therefore science itself is the enemy and any attack on any branch of science is to their advantage.