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Ball State U. Hires Astronomer Who Advocates Intelligent Design

Ball State University, which has been investigating one controversy over intelligent design, now has another. According to The Star Press, a newspaper in Muncie, Ind., the university has hired a controversial astronomer who is a national leader in the intelligent-design movement, which argues that an intelligent force guided the shaping of the universe and life on earth.

The astronomer, Guillermo Gonzalez, made headlines when Iowa State University denied him tenure in 2007, a decision that was upheld by the university’s president and the statewide Iowa Board of Regents. He maintained that he had been denied tenure because of his advocacy of intelligent design. The university said the decision was based on scholarly concerns, such as a publication record that dwindled after a promising start. After leaving Iowa State, Mr. Gonzalez landed on the faculty at Grove City College, a Christian institution in Pennsylvania.

Ball State’s president, Jo Ann Gora, approved Mr. Gonzalez’s hiring as an assistant professor in the department of physics and astronomy on June 12, The Star Press reported. The university has been investigating a complaint that another assistant professor in the same department, Eric Hedin, promotes intelligent design in “The Boundaries of Science,” an honors symposium that he developed.

Joan Todd, a spokeswoman for Ball State, declined to answer questions about Mr. Gonzalez’s hiring. In a prepared statement, she said: “This is our response. His qualifications are in his CV.”

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