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Baylor University Denies Research Scientist's Academic Freedom

“Baylor University has proven yet again that academic freedom has been thrown off campus and academic persecution is now the norm,” said Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin in reaction to Baylor University’s deletion of a professor's research website, which focused on evolutionary systems and informatics. “It is simply unconscionable that a major university would so trample a scientist’s right to freedom of scientific inquiry,”

Baylor University has taken offline the Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory website that had been administered by Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor, because the administration claimed there were anonymous complaints linking the lab to intelligent design.

The lab’s scope of research is described on evolutionaryinformatics.org (now hosted by a third party): “The Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory explores the conceptual foundations, mathematical development, and empirical application of evolutionary informatics. The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.”

This is the third instance in which Baylor University has squelched free speech and punished a faculty member because of their views on intelligent design. In 2000, the University administration caved to pressure from Darwinian activists demanding they shut down the Michael Polanyi Research Center established in part to do research on intelligent design theory. In 2006, noted legal scholar Francis Beckwith was denied tenure by Baylor administrators in part because of his writings supporting the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design. After a protracted public battle, the Board of Regents reversed that decision and Beckwith was granted tenure.

“There is a troubling pattern of scientists and scholars at Baylor university coming under attack for questioning evolution,” said Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs at the Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “The freedom of scientists, teachers, and students to question Darwin is coming under increasing attack by people that can only be called Darwinian fundamentalists.”

“What has happened to Professor Marks is censorship, pure and simple,” added Luskin.

Discovery Institute is encouraging Baylor alumni and Texas residents to write to the University’s board of regents and demand that the university reinstate academic freedom and protect the rights of scientists and scholars to pursue their research without fear of reprisal.


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