Saturday, September 8, 2007

With Friends like Dembski (again)

William Dembski calls out the dogs:

I expect Lilley will work through spokespersons on this one as long as possible. I can’t see it as being in his interest to provide Ben Stein with an interview. On the other hand, it will look bad if he refuses. The Baylor administration is in a tight spot. They can still stop the bleeding by simply doing what they should have done from the start, namely, allow Robert Marks to leave the EIL site on his space on the Baylor server. Once media outlets like the NYT and WSJ start weighing in, to say nothing of O’Reilly and Hannity & Coombs [sic], there won’t be any way to stop the bleeding. In fact, at that point I wouldn’t be surprised if the Baylor Board of Regents puts the present president out to pasture — that’s what they did with Sloan, they made him Chancellor, a well-paying nice-sounding meaningless job with no real authority.
Because it's all about the media.

For the record, I'm mildly sympathetic to Marks's position. PZ Myers put it well:
I categorically reject Marks' whole philosophy and I'd probably call him delusional, but … it is the professor's job to talk freely about wacky ideas if he wants. A web page that can be shared (and laughed at) is a reasonable part of the commitment to public communication, and I don't think Baylor should restrict it. Even if the professor is a bit of an embarrassment, and the subject is a sore spot for the university.
In fact, PZ and I seem to be more on Marks's side than Dembski. From the first, he has made things worse. From announcing the superpower of the EIL before they'd published anything ("it promises to put people like Christoph Adami and Rob Pennock out of business"), to the absolutely stupid hoax letter -- which I still think must have been a dream, it was so deliciously mismanaged -- to his focus on negative media attention now, he's got to be making Marks more and more isolated. I wonder if he cares about that, or if it's just that he's got an unfailingly tin ear.