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ID talks fail to satisfy

Sept. 21, 2007

By Jackie Hyland

The associate producer of the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Mark Mathis arrived on campus Thursday morning with a camera crew in a last effort to speak to President John Lilley.

Mark Mathis wished to discuss the decision to shut down a research Web site on Intelligent Design belonging to Dr. Robert Marks, distinguished professor in the electrical and computer engineering department.

Lilley was unavailable, but Mathis met with director of media relations Lori Fogleman and Dr. Ben Kelley, dean of the school of Engineering and Computer Science.

"I talked to (Mathis) about the fact that our point has been consistent and has not changed, about the issue of a research Web site being not about content but about the process," Fogleman said.

Professors, once they have done research for their academic unit, are free to do outside research, but not under Baylor's name, Fogleman said.

"With both of them it was really limited because they have a certain line they are holding, which the issues are all about procedures and not about the content," Mathis said, "and all the information we have seen says that that's not true."

Mathis said the main indication to him about the issue being about content is that Kelley sent an e-mail to Marks saying he had "received several concerned messages" about the Web site.

"With Dean Kelley and Lori Fogleman, it's pretty clear to me that both of them were coached by lawyers to continue saying it's not content but procedure," Mathis said.

Mathis said he asked Kelley and Fogleman several questions about academic freedom and the issue behind Marks' Web site, but he was unable to get a lot of answers.

"It seems odd to me that Baylor, which is a Christian university, is uncomfortable with a professor who is doing a research sympathetic to intelligent design," Mathis said.

Allentown, Pa., junior Sam Chen is the director of the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center.

He met and talked to Mathis on Thursday.

Chen said he thought it was interesting how generic and closed the administration's speech is about this issue.

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