Search Subscribe to Waco Trib XML RSS Feed E-Newsletter WacoTrib on your PDA
Welcome, Bob   |  Update Profile  |  Log Out
Wacotrib Cars
Real Estate
Neighbor Plus | State | Nation | Photos/Multimedia | World | Weather | Archives

Click here to find out more!
COMMENT INSIDE: Film crew presses Baylor officials on intelligent design Web site's removal

Friday, September 21, 2007

By Tim Woods

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Baylor University’s recent controversy regarding a professor’s intelligent design-related Web site took a dramatic turn Thursday when a film crew went to President John Lilley’s office, hoping to speak to him about what they deem academic suppression.

But Lilley was out of town.


Mark Mathis, associate producer for the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and a film crew went to Lilley’s office about 10 a.m. When they learned Lilley was in Houston and unavailable Thursday, Mathis asked to speak with Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman.

The movie claims to uncover instances of suppression of intelligent design research by anti-religious dogmatic scientists and educators, its developers say. It features comedian and former presidential speech-writer Ben Stein and is set to be released in February 2008.

“The documentary is really about Ben Stein’s journey of trying to figure out why it is that, in science, there is . . . such antipathy for anybody who would question (Darwinian evolution),” Mathis said Wednesday as the film crew drove from Dallas to Waco.

Mathis said Stein and the film’s producers believe Baylor’s removal of distinguished engineering professor Robert Marks’ Web site devoted to evolutionary informatics — a concept Marks’ collaborator, William Dembski, termed “friendly” to intelligent design — from its server is an example of academic suppression.

While Baylor officials have said the site was removed for procedural reasons, namely the absence of a disclaimer separating the university from involvement in Marks’ research, Mathis believes it was taken down because of its content.

“To us, it seems pretty obvious what’s going on with Professor Marks’ Web site. . . . To us, that’s academic persecution and suppression,” Mathis said. “What is the problem with tenured, distinguished university professors pursuing a scientific idea? What’s wrong with that? It’s especially interesting in the case of Baylor, in that this is happening at a Christian university.”

Baylor provost Randall O’Brien, who was in New York on Thursday, said Marks is free to conduct evolutionary informatics research and, like Fogleman, denied the site was removed because of its content.

“What we say is you have the freedom to formulate your own views and so forth, just make sure that you issue a disclaimer that your particular view does not necessarily express the view of Baylor University,” O’Brien said. “We fully endorse the right and responsibilities of academic freedom.”

Deal in works

Fogleman and O’Brien also said that Baylor’s legal counsel, Charles Beckenhauer, and Marks’ St. Paul, Minn.-based attorney, John Gilmore, are working to reach a mutually satisfying agreement that would allow the site to be restored.

Fogleman did not know how long the discussions might take.

“The conversations (between Beckenhauer and Gilmore) are private, but they are progressing,” Fogleman said.

Outside Baylor’s Pat Neff Hall, which houses Lilley’s and Fogleman’s offices, Mathis pressed the issue of academic suppression with Fogleman.

“This had everything to do with the fact that (Marks’ site) was friendly to intelligent design, didn’t it?” Mathis asked Fogleman.

“I just know that right now there is a discussion between the parties . . . and it will be resolved to mutual satisfaction,” Fogleman replied.

“The content of the site has nothing to do with this,” Fogleman later said, again stressing Baylor’s stance that it is a procedural matter.

Mathis then asked Fogleman about whether or not she is allowed to openly refer to intelligent design.

“You will not say ‘intelligent design.’ Is that forbidden? You keep saying ‘content.’ . . . You haven’t said (intelligent design) and it stuck out to me,” Mathis said. “You guys are holding your cards so tight . . . Are you not allowed to say it?”

Fogleman responded, “I am allowed to say it, (but) I’m not saying it because you’re asking me to.”

Though the goal of the visit was to get Lilley to speak on the record about the matter, Mathis said after the terse yet cordial conversation that he appreciated that Fogleman would come out to answer questions with their cameras rolling.

“I’m happy that at least she came out and talked to us,” he said. “She had the courage to do that, at least.”

Unruffled by the incident, Fogleman said she wasn’t surprised by any of Mathis’ questions or his determination in getting the answers.

“It just made for an interesting day,” Fogleman said. “I thought that Mark and I had a respectful conversation.”



By Texan

Sep 23, 2007 4:28 PM | Link to this

It should be of comfort to Baylor, that in a speech given at a church in Normam, Oklahoma; Dembski was humiliated during a question and answer session. Undergrads attending the session embarassed him with questions he could not answer, not to mentioned what professors did to him.

By Texan

Sep 21, 2007 10:32 PM | Link to this

Anyone who understands evolution agrees, it did not occur by "chance". Natural selection is a very directed process. The random part is mutations. Meaning that certain genes are more likely to mutate than others. Fundamentalist Creationism is what you are talking about, intelligent design was a fabrication to get around the law. Why pretend it is anything but an attempt to get religion into science classrooms. Trace the funding that Marks got for this "research", it goes right back to discovery institute. Just an attempt through deception to make it look like "research" is occuring at a major institution. Why should Baylor be upfront, the other side is not.

By Michael Benson

Sep 21, 2007 10:14 PM | Link to this

Considering the lies and distortions that this "producer" went through to make his hack job (see

I'm amazed that this actually made it in the paper. The actual situation with the website is a legal issue involving the disclaimer. I am curious about this "research" that is supposed to be on the website, since after millions of dollars spent by the DI and its allies, there has been no research done. ID is creationism in a shabby tux, and most people are abandoning it in droves after it's losses at Dover, Kansas, and elsewhere. Perhaps Mr Woods needs to do a bit of research into the background of the story?

By snarfledoodles.

Sep 21, 2007 5:49 PM | Link to this

Intelligent Design is not a Christian theory.

They only make it about Christ when they're speaking to a Christian audience. To everyone else, they deny our Lord and Savior and shrug Him off as "a designer--anyone's designer." Buddha, Allah, Spaghetti Monster--it doesn't matter to them.

Baylor has every right to request that this dude put a disclaimer on his site. Many profs' sites that go into their personal projects have such disclaimers. I don't see the ruckus about requesting that Marks has one on his site. It's so that people don't think Baylor's funding another ID think tank behind the backs of the faculty and everyone else who typically goes into a decision to fund something like that. Completely reasonable. Sure, they could have been a lot clearer to Marks about the reason they took it off the server, but they're completely justified in doing so. It's not even about the content at this point. It's about the refusal to comply with a simple request.

By another texan

Sep 21, 2007 5:46 PM | Link to this

yes life is built on an extremely complex foundation that we don't understand.....yet. We do understand much more than we did 50 years ago and will surely know more in another 50. A natural inference? I think not. If there is a gap in our current understanding of the universe we have to stick God into that gap? What happens when that gap is closed? What happens to God then?

By Philip C.

Sep 21, 2007 3:22 PM | Link to this

Molecular Biology is revealing an extremely complex foundation on which life is built. Intelligent design is a natural inference since blind chance is not capable of answering the complexity we are finding. Why would a Christian University seek to ban such research?

By me

Sep 21, 2007 2:45 PM | Link to this

Baylor is not a Christian university.

By Texan

Sep 21, 2007 1:56 PM | Link to this

This same group interviewed some scientists for this film. They totally mis-represented and lied about the content of the film. They will take the lady's comments, edit her words into something she didn't say. This group is notorious for this. That should tell you something about their motives

By Texan

Sep 21, 2007 1:55 PM | Link to this

This same group interviewed some scientists for this film. They totally mis-represented and lied about the content of the film. They will take the lady's comments, edit her words into something she didn't say. This group is notorious for this. That should tell you something about their motives

By Dorothy Fornoff

Sep 21, 2007 1:48 PM | Link to this

It sounds to me as though the film crew that went to President Lilley's office on Thursday was looking for confrontation rather than discussion. Does this really deserve front page coverage?

Commenting is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F, except on Tuesday when it's open until 9 p.m.

Post a comment

Remember me?

You may use the following formatting:
Bold: **this text will be bolded** = this text will be bolded
Italic: *this text will be italic* = this text will be italic
Link: [text to be linked]( = text to be linked

There will be a delay of up to 5 minutes before your comment appears.

*HTML not allowed in comments. Your e-mail address is required.


Sponsored Links

Waco Tribune-Herald Top Jobs
CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS FT/PT. Nutone Cleaners, 2024 Lake Air Dr..(more)
ENGINEERING District Utility Supervisor Engineering Section Pedernales....(more)
Knights Inn Looking for Night Auditor FT 11pm - 7am. Exp. considered. *App....(more)
CONSTRUCTION Now hiring HVAC Sheet Metal Foremen, Mechanics, Plumbers, Pip....(more)
NURSING ROYAL MANOR HEALTH CENTER A privately owned and operated long....(more)
NURSE - Need FT CMA or LVN for busy, one physician practice. Non- smoking o....(more)
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT needed to help Executive. Multi tasking skills i....(more)
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL for State supported facility for emotionally disturbed,....(more)
MANAGEMENT COUPLES Couples, Want a Great Opportunity to Work Together? Liv....(more)
-View All Top Jobs-
-Place an Ad-
Waco Tribune-Herald Top Cars
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4X4 2003. 5.3, 8 Cyl., Automatic, Sequential-Port F......(more)
Chrysler Town & Country LX 2005. 3.3, 6 Cyl., Automatic With Overdrive, Fue......(more)
Chevrolet Cavalier LS 2003. 2.2, 4 Cyl., Automatic, Sequential-Port F.I., R......(more)
2006 FOCUS 4DR, 2.0L I4, $14421...(more)
Dodge Ram 2500 2006. 5.9, 6 Cyl., 6 Speed Manual, Turbo Diesel, Silver, Pow......(more)
Ford FIVE HUNDRED 2007. 3.0, 6 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, BLACK, Power......(more)
Chevrolet Tahoe 2005. 5.3, 8 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, BLUE, Power Wi......(more)
Chevrolet IMPALA 2007. 3.9, 6 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, WHITE, Power ......(more)
Chevrolet Impala LTZ 2006. 3.9, 6 Cyl., Automatic, Fuel Injected, Brown, Po......(more)
Ford MUSTANG 2007. 4.0, 6 Cyl., 5 Speed Manual, Fuel Injected, SILVER, Powe......(more)
-View All Top Cars-
-Place an Ad-

Copyright 2007 Waco Tribune-Herald. All rights reserved. - The Waco Tribune-Herald - Our Partners

By using this service, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement and privacy policy.
Registered site users, you may edit your profile.
Having trouble? Visit our help & FAQ.