Posts tagged ‘Casey Luskin’

June 20th, 2012

Science and Human Origins: An Important New Book by Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe and Casey Luskin

by Max Andrews

Reblogged from David Klinghoffer.

Lurking behind the evolution debate is a question that is smaller than evolution as a whole, having encompassed only an exceedingly brief span of time in the more than 3-billion-year history of life. Yet in emotional terms, for Darwinists and Darwin doubters alike, this question — the mystery of human origins — drives the controversy around Darwinian theory as does no other point of contention.

Intensely personal in a way the bacterial flagellum never will be, it is the subject of an important new book just published by Discovery Institute Press. You will hear a lot about it from us in coming days, including from the book’s scientist authors, Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe and Casey Luskin.

Science and Human Origins is a book about science yet its importance lies no less in anthropology. Not anthropology the social-science field, but the ageless enigma of what a man is. Are you a clever animal, or something incomparably other? In his Introduction, John West cites G.K. Chesterton who wrote that, “Man is not merely an evolution but rather a revolution.” That frames the subject concisely.

June 25th, 2011

Exclusive Diversity – More Thoughts on Frank Turek and Cisco’s Discrimination

by Max Andrews

Soon after hearing about Frank Turek’s wrongful termination by Cisco Systems I blogged about the situation in hopes of getting this information out for as many people to hear as I could reach.  Hundreds have since read my post and it has been shared by many organizations and individuals (thanks for sharing the news!).  Recently, I discovered a comment that was left on this post by Kathleen, which stated,

You seemed to be confused about what diversity is. It doesn’t mean a company is going to welcome skinheads, white surpremacists [sic] or anti-gay bigots.

Later, Blinkyboy left some loving words as he accused Dr. Turek of hate speech.

Actually Turek’s book qualifies as hate speech based upon its consistent use of lies and plagiarism. No one has to employ a lying bigot.

This is incredible.  I couldn’t help but shake my head at such horrible logic, intolerance, and hypocrisy.  Those who march under the banner of diversity and tolerance are the same ones who are just as or more intolerant than anyone else.  I’m not anti-diversity nor am I anti-tolerance.  Diversity is crucial for many things.  Diversity increases flow of perspective and thought in the free marketplace of ideas.  Diversity allows for a greater increase of making catalysts for attaining goals of an organization or group.  I certainly do my best to tolerate others as well.  However, tolerance is not the same as acceptance.  Tolerance is allowing others to hold the opinions and ideas that they may have.  Acceptance is embracing those opinions and ideas.  These two commenters who maliciously attack Dr. Turek are ignorant of what tolerance and diversity really mean.  If they claim to be proponents of such ideas, then they’re speaking out of both ends of their mouth.  This whole “hate speech” deal is just ridiculous.  Does having an opinion that doesn’t accept an idea or practice, in Dr. Turek’s case, homosexual marriage, qualify as hate speech?  I don’t think so.  The whole idea of “hate speech” is just off in my opinion anyways.  People can say whatever they want, if it’s hateful then they have the freedom to do so, but it shouldn’t be criminalized.  Many proponents homosexual marriage lobby need to check their words and their ideas before accusing others of being intolerant, hateful, or non-diverse lest they backfire.

June 16th, 2011

Frank Turek and Cisco Systems’ Discrimination

by Max Andrews

Today started off as a rather normal day for me at the office until I happened to notice Dr. Frank Turek post an unsettling news update from his Twitter account.  His tweet read,

The Cisco Kid: Fired by Cisco for my political views even though they were never mentioned during work. http://t.co/pwH8UjB via @townhallcom

I almost passed over it as I briefly scrolled through my feed.  The link he had shared was an open letter written by Dr. Mike S. Adams to Mr. John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems Inc.  The account of what happened can be read in the letter but I’ll share a brief synopsis.  Dr. Turek was hired by Cisco back in 2008 to train in leadership techniques and team building for their Remote Operations Services team.  Dr. Turek “was fired as a vendor for his political and religious views, even though those views were never mentioned or expressed during his work at Cisco.”  What happened was one of the managers in Dr. Turek’s program Googled Turek and noticed that he had authored a book, which advocated a particular position on marriage that this manager, a self-identified homosexual, disagreed with.  A complaint was filed against Dr. Turek for not having values consistent with Cisco.

This has got to be one of the poorest responses Cisco management could have to this type of situation for there are several things that are wrong here.  According to Dr. Adams’ open letter the complaining manager discovered that Dr. Turek had written a book on same-sex marriage.  Now, North Carolina is a “right to work” or “at-will” state.  This means that an employer can terminate an employe without notice, with or without any reason at all.  However, the reasons for Dr. Turek’s termination were given as being inconsistent with Cisco’s values.  There are exceptions to North Carolina’s “at-will” employment laws.  Wrongful termination can be filed for discrimination of age; national origin; disability (physical or mental); HIV/AIDS; gender; race; religion; genetic testing; lawful use of any product during non-work hours; military service; or sickle-cell trait.  According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 discrimination is prohibited based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.  SEC. 2000e. [Section 701], the subchapter defines “religion” as follows.

(j) The term “religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.

I have very few credentials in legal research, being that I only took a handful of undergraduate government courses, but it seems that Dr. Turek has a legitimate wrongful termination case to be made in an “at-will” state.  I will yield the legal research and precedents to those who are more credentialed and qualified than I am to explicate the legal issues here.

This whole situation is strikingly similar, perhaps even worse than the wrongful termination of NASA’s JPL information technology specialist David Coppedge.  Here’s a summary of the situation as provided by The Discovery Institute based out of Seattle, WA.

David Coppedge was an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s international Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. A division of California Institute of Technology, JPL operates under a contract with the federal space agency. Coppedge held the title of “Team Lead” System Administrator on the mission until his supervisors demoted and humiliated him for advancing ideas that superiors labeled “unwelcome” and “disruptive.” Ultimately they fired him.

Coppedge was terminated for allegedly “pushing” intelligent design upon his coworkers.  JPL associated this with Coppedge’s “religious beliefs” and so Coppedge sued on grounds of religious discrimination.  (I suggest reading the articles listed for a full account).  Cisco meets a sub-par standard of internal consistency and had a knee-jerk reaction to, well they didn’t really know what it was they were reacting to.  According to Cisco Systems,

Cisco values and fosters diversity, development, and growth opportunities for staff through employee networks. These networks join employees to help reinforce the value of all aspects of each member’s personality. Valuing the differences in each person increases individual and team performance, productivity, and satisfaction. Cisco believes that its employee networks are critical to an inclusive organizational culture.

Sounds grand, right?  By all appearances this seems to be a harbor of professional, kind, and moral work atmosphere free of discrimination.  The problem is how consistent is Cisco going to be with this if it is at all possible?  Here are a few shortcomings Cisco made amidst this whole debacle.

  1. Cisco failed to comply with its own policy of “diversity” for not allowing, valuing, and fostering a view of heterosexual marriage that does not support same-sex marriage (Dr. Turek’s belief).
  2. Cisco failed to substantiate reasonable evidence of Dr. Frank Turek’s non-compliance.  The employee did not even exhaust the “evidence” (the book) prior to reporting the violation of values, which seems at this point to be hearsay at best, especially if it was not investigated by Human Resources.
  3. Cisco failed to recognize the complaining manager’s lack of fostering “diversity” and, by Cisco’s apparent standards, is just as guilty of failing to uphold these values as Dr. Turek.
  4. Cisco’s value and diversity policy is internally inconsistent, it is self-defeating.  There is absolutely no room for genuine diversity if Dr. Turek is an example of the practice of such diversity enforcement.  Reasons 1 and 3 make each party guilty of the same thing, which doesn’t permit anyone to have any expression [or beliefs unexpressed, as with Dr. Turek].  This follows that even if Cisco were to enforce any consequences for failing to comply with the value and diversity policy it would be a self-incriminating act by Cisco itself for failing to permit diversity.
  5. Essentially, tolerance and diversity is incredibly ambiguous (perhaps illusory) and inconsistently applied in Cisco Systems Inc.

I would like to call for Casey Luskin and the Discovery Institute to assist Dr. Frank Turek in legal advice (since they are not only a science think tank but also assist in legal affairs).  What makes this whole situation worse than Coppedge’s case is that none of these personal beliefs were expressed in the work atmosphere.  I stand behind Dr. Turek and Dr. Adams in their pursuit for answers, justice, and genuine equality under law.  I commend Dr. Adams for challenging Cisco CEO Mr. John Chambers to see if he is personally consistent with his company’s own policy (Chamber’s being politically conservative himself).  How far will we allow this inconsistency and self-defeating practice of “diversity” go under the guise of “tolerance”?

February 12th, 2011

The Discovery Institute’s Seminar on Intelligent Design

by Max Andrews

I attended the Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminar on Intelligent Design (Social Science) in 2010.  My thoughts and comments will be general since we were asked not release specifics concerning information being shared (some of it was yet-to-be published and I don’t know if it has been published yet so I’ll remain silent) and I do not want to “out” any other attendees in their academic endeavors.  Once you’re labeled as an ID proponent your academic career is potentially slowed down or halted.  I’ve already outed myself and I’m pretty vocal about my advocacy of design (I’m a philosopher so it’s not as academically persecuted).

I have no negative comments concerning the DI’s seminar.  In fact, I have more respect for the institute and fellows.  There were two concurrent seminars (natural and social sciences) that interacted with each other on a regular basis and combined on many occasions.  I participated in the social science seminar and being philosophy graduate student I’m not as adept in biology, chemistry, and physics as many others are.  I certainly received a welcoming abundance of science in presentations, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Some of the lecturers included Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Doug Axe, Jay Richards, Jonathan Wells, Richard Sternberg, Ann Gauger, Bruce Gordon, Jonathan Witt, John West, and Casey Luskin.

Lecture topics included:

  1. The role and origin of information in DNA
  2. History of intelligent design
  3. The scientific basis of intelligent design
  4. Science and education policy
  5. Science and education law
  6. Evolution and academic freedom
  7. The media and evolution
  8. The Privileged Planet
  9. Neo-Darwinism
  10. Population genetics
  11. Natural theology in cosmology
  12. The multiverse
  13. Obstacles to unguided evolution
  14. Junk DNA
  15. Biological information and development
  16. The Edge of Evolution
  17. The Social Darwinian Evolution
  18. Theistic evolution
  19. ID and the origins of modern science
  20. The role of genius, beauty, and the aesthetics in design
  21. The metaphysical implications of ID

The schedule is demanding since it requires to fit so much material into a time span just over a week-long.  You’ll interact with the scholars on a one-on-one basis and even enjoy meals together.  They’re not distanced like some professors at the university may be like since there’s only about thirty participants.  I still keep in touch with many of the other participants and have made great friendships.  What’s beautiful about the seminar is that not everyone believes the same thing.  Every participant’s credentials were different ranging from philosophy, theology, law, journalism, biology, medicine, biochemistry, and nuclear physics with only a couple of undergraduates, mostly graduates, and a couple Ph.D.’s.  Religious affiliation was irrelevant, views on evolution and origins vary, and friendly/fruitful debate sparked throughout the seminar.  The DI accepted participants from around the world:  Africa, Norway, Scotland, Wales, California, Texas, and the East Coast.

I left Seattle with 59 pages of notes on my computer.  I’ve referred to my notes on several occasions and have gained valuable and beneficial knowledge.  They provided nearly two-dozen books for me to read in preparation and for studying while there (and of course post-seminar studies).  I spent a total of $50 on my ten day endeavor and that was only for a snack in the airport, an over weight suit case, and another snack at a 7-11 down the street from the campus.  I highly recommend the seminar to anyone who is friendly and open to the ID hypothesis.  I’m doing my graduate research on the multiverse as it pertains to the fine-tuning argument and this seminar has certainly been a valuable asset for me.  Thank you Discovery Institute for sharing this knowledge and granting me the opportunity to briefly study under these scholars.