21 September 2007
September 14th marked the end of the first wave of media attention in the Baylor administration’s censoring of Prof. Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab (now on a third-party server at www.EvoInfo.org). With the coming to campus of a crew from Ben Stein for his forthcoming movie/documentary EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED, things have ramped up and the second wave has begun (see all the local newspaper coverage cited below).
Where are we now? Baylor President John Lilley remains the problem — he continues to dig in his heels and won’t let the Evolutionary Informatics Lab back on campus. Nonetheless, the people speaking to the press in his stead (e.g., Lori Fogleman and Randall O’Brien) are now back to claiming that the problem was “procedural” (previously they had introduced the category of “approved research” — research in evolutionary informatics presumably constituting unapproved research). Also, they are saying that there is a “deal in the works” (see the front-page story in the Waco Tribune, 9.21.07, link given below).
How there can be a deal in the works when the administration has made clear that Prof. Marks’s work on evolutionary informatics is entirely on his own time and may not be characterized as a group or lab on the Baylor server remains a mystery. Baylor is positioning itself as a “reasonable party” trying to work things out, but in fact they are simply playing a waiting game until this second wave of media interest dies down, after which the removal of Prof. Marks’s website from the Baylor server will be quietly forgotten. What the Baylor administration needs to do is apologize to Prof. Marks and restore his site with no more restrictions than any one else on the Baylor server faces.
Second Wave of Media Attention:
- September 21, 2007: “Film Crew Presses Baylor Officials on Intelligent Design Web Site’s Removal” — Front page story in Waco Tribune-Herald. The article presents the Baylor administration as claiming that “a deal is in the works.” Nothing the Baylor administration has done to date suggests this to be the case.
- September 21, 2007: “ID Talks Fail to Satisfy” — Baylor student paper reports on EXPELLED crew coming to campus.
- September 20, 2007: “Editorial: Lilley’s Two Cents Are Missing” — Amazing editorial in the Baylor student paper criticizing President Lilley for being unwilling to address the Marks affair straight on. The editorial charges Lilley with having “laryngitis” and being dismissive of the press.
- September 19, 2007: “ID Debate to Continue in New Film” — Baylor student paper reports on EXPELLED crew coming to campus the following day.
- September 18, 2007: “BU Administration Silencing Science by Design” — Walt Ruloff, the executive producer of EXPELLED, here writes a hard-hitting editorial that appears in the Baylor student newspaper. In the editorial he indicates that he is sending a crew to Baylor to interview President Lilley September 20th.
- September 17, 2007: “The Unpardonable Sin in Academia” — Regis Nicoll weighs in on this scandal.
First Wave of Media Attention:
- September 14, 2007: “The Baylor Board of Regents” — Contact information of the Baylor Board of Regents, the only authority above President John Lilley that may be able to encourage him to do the right thing in the Marks affair.
- September 14, 2007: “Baylor Closes Ranks, Defends Darwin Against All Lines of Evidence” — Denyse O’Leary summarizes the present impasse.
- September 14, 2007: “BU Opens Old Wounds with Marks” — Editorial in the Baylor student newspaper (The Lariat) defending Robert Marks’s academic freedom.
- September 13, 2007: “Let Academic Freedom Ring” — Letter to Baylor student newspaper from Cody Cobb, atheist biochemistry major at Baylor, who defends Robert Marks’s academic freedom to post his ID-related work on the Baylor server.
- September 11, 2007: “So where ARE the Friends of Robert Marks? Of intellectual freedom at Baylor?” — Denyse O’Leary here takes apart the claim by the Baylor PR people that the Evolutionary Informatics Lab was not doing “approved research.”
- September 11, 2007: “New Intelligent Design Conflict Hits BU” — The Baylor Lariat, the student newspaper, finally weighs in on Baylor’s academic discrimination crisis over Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab. This story presents Baylor’s latest subterfuge in trying to justify its removal of the lab — that it does not do “approved research.” Go here for additional comment.
- September 10, 2007: “Baylor Forces Professor to Shut Down Site” — The Syracuse University student newspaper beats out the Baylor student newspaper (the Lariat) in reporting on this story.
- September 10, 2007: “Baylor’s Post Hoc Rationalizations” — Dean Kelley’s email to Prof. Marks, given here, requiring him to remove the EIL website from his space on the Baylor server gives the lie to all post hoc rationalizations by Baylor about the lab’s removal.
- September 9, 2007: “Baylor University Accused of Viewpoint Discrimination In Suppression of Pro-Intelligent Design Scientist” — Discovery Institute rightly continues to hammer the point that the crisis at Baylor over Prof. Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab is not over some procedural mix up but is squarely a case of the Baylor administration singling out him and his lab for prejudicial treatment.
- September 9, 2007: “Web Site Sparks New Intelligent Design Battle at Baylor University” — The Waco Tribune-Herald, the local paper where Baylor is located, here weighs in on the controversy. The coverage is not bad, but it leaves open whether Baylor might just be following a school policy in removing the EIL site. Note my comments added to the online version of the article, which indicate that the problem was indeed the lab’s connection to ID and guilt by association.
- September 8, 2007: “Of Groups and Labs at Baylor” — If there was any doubt that the Baylor administration was treating Prof. Marks unfairly by removing his lab from Baylor and the Baylor server, there is no longer. Baylor has unfairly singled out him and his lab.
- September 8, 2007: “THE GREAT ESCAPE: A Tribute to Bob Marks” — How intolerance at Baylor to the EILab reflects a much bigger conflict between the forces of oppression and of liberation.
- September 7, 2007: “Baylor University Attacks Scientists for Questioning Evolution (PODCAST)” — Casey Luskin and Rob Crowther of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture discuss the history of intolerance at Baylor toward ID proponents. In an earlier podcast (Well-Informed: Dr. Robert Marks and the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, July 20, 2007), Casey Luskin interviewed Prof. Robert Marks regarding the Evolutionary Informatics Lab while its website was still on the Baylor server. That interview led Benjamin Kelley, dean of engineering at Baylor, to ban the EIL website from Prof. Marks’s space on the Baylor server.
- September 7, 2007: “Not so fast: BaylorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s treatment of an ID-advancing research lab has shifted from friendly to fire” — WORLD Magazine, which first reported on the recent troubles at Baylor (go here) and, at the time, painted a rosy picture of a coming resolution, here updates its earlier report, indicating that the Baylor administration is digging in its heels against Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab.
- September 6, 2007: “Baylor University Denies Research Scientist’s Academic Freedom” — Discovery Institute press release about the latest Baylor fiasco. This will help take the story to the mainstream media nationally.
- September 6, 2007: “BaylorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Main Argument Against the Evo-Info Lab Ã¢â‚¬â€ Reply to Lori Fogleman” — Baylor is saying that the problem with Robert Marks putting his Evolutionary Informatics Lab on the Baylor server was procedural, violating Baylor policy about the appropriate use of its “brand name.” This line of argument is here shown to fail. Marks’s lab was removed because of guilt by association with intelligent design.
- September 5, 2007: “I.D. rift hits Baylor again” — The Baptist Press reports on the Evo-Info Lab controversy, thus drawing the attention of Southern Baptists nationwide (Baylor is a Southern Baptist institution).
- September 5, 2007: “Academic Freedom Expelled from Baylor University” — The widely read Evolution News & Views blog reports on the controversy.
- September 4, 2007: “Baylor Episode Is Getting Wider Circulation” — Atheist biologist and blogger P. Z. Myers, per impossibile, takes the side Robert Marks against the Baylor administration.
- September 4, 2007: “Baylor U. Removes a Web Page Associated With Intelligent Design From Its Site” — Chronicle of Higher Education reports on the lab, taking the controversy national.
- September 3, 2007: “Backgrounder to Robert MarksÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lab shutdown: Baylor revokes DembskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s research fellowship 2006” — Denyse O’Leary provides background indicating that Baylor’s suppression of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab is consistent with past actions by President John Lilley to suppress ID at Baylor.
- September 1, 2007: “Baptist University pulls plug on Evolutionary Informatics Lab - links to intelligent design fatal” — Denyse O’Leary breaks the story here at UD that the crisis is far from resolved.
- August 17, 2007: “Crisis Averted: Baylor Avoids Anti-ID Purge from Years Before” — WORLD Magazine reports on an August 9th meeting at Baylor indicating that the crisis over the Evolutionary Informatics Lab has been resolved equitably to the satisfaction of all parties. Unfortunately, the article did not anticipate President John Lilley overturning the agreements reached at that meeting.