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Gaskell vs. University of Kentucky

The other day, news broke about what will likely be a landmark case on academic freedom and religious discrimination in hiring university faculty. Dr. Martin Gaskell, a noted astronomer and an evangelical Christian, was the leading candidate for a position directing a new student observatory at the University of Kentucky, one for which he was uniquely qualified by his past experience…until one of the search committee found an essay online where Dr. Gaskell discusses science and the Bible. At that point, the information was passed around the committee and the department, with a flurry of emails. Dr. Gaskell then was passed over for the job and it was given to someone with vastly less experience.

It is critical that we as Christian faculty are aware of such cases, that we pray for them and that we are on watch for similar situations in our own universities so we can remind folks that this is illegal discrimination. I will keep the blog up to date on the progress of the case. For more information on the specifics, please follow these links:

The decision to hear the case:

The press release by Gaskell’s legal team:

The offending online essay:

Please remember Dr. Gaskell and his family (and his legal team!) in your prayers.


  1. I think the Univ. of Kentucky erred. Maybe they based their decision on an earlier version of Gaskell's on-line essay, which indeed displayed Gaskell's previous ignorance of the evidence for common ancestry and other aspects of evolution.

    Eventually, Gaskell updated and improved the essay. As it stands now, the essay seems acceptable to me. Some parts are wonderful; some are less than wonderful but still no basis to deny him employment.

    Gaskell does not mention some obvious problems with intelligent design (ID) theory, but correctly contrasts ID with creationism. He vaguely refers to "problems" with evolutionary theory, leaving unclear whether "problems" means open questions (the lifeblood of any valid science) or flaws that he thinks undermine the theory itself. Martin Gaskell was, and perhaps remains, enthusiastic about Phillip E. Johnson's book Darwin on Trial as well as Johnson's later books. In his web essay, I like Gaskell's critique of the philosophical materialism that (as Johnson emphasized) too often gets packaged along with evolutionary science. In my opinion, Johnson himself unfortunately failed to distinguish the philosophy from the science; Johnson's approach was to attack the science, because of Johnson's assumption that God's fingerprints (accessible to science, he thought!) would be all over creation. Martin Gaskell has progressed a long way beyond Johnson. UT is lucky to have him, and UK missed an opportunity.

  2. This is a limited version of the story. Gaskell gave a talk at Kentucky in the late 1990s about science and religion, and in a confrontational Q&A session at the end, left many in the audience with the impression that he was some form of creationist and not supportive of the basics of the theory of evolution. There is a lot more than just the discovery of an online essay.