Fw: [NEWS] Press Release: Dembski attacks Pennock and MIT Press

From: Michael Roberts (topper@robertschirk.u-net.com)
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 10:10:39 EST

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    Is this ethical of Pennock? I dont think so. Surely a critic can make enough
    criticisms of ID without resorting to this type of tactic?

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Billy Grassie" <grassie@METANEXUS.NET>
    Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2002 3:26 AM
    Subject: [NEWS] Press Release: Dembski attacks Pennock and MIT Press

    > January 8, 2001: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    > How Not to Debate Intelligent Design
    > By William A. Dembski
    > Intelligent design has many critics. Some play hard and fair. Robert
    > Pennock is not one of them.
    > Pennock has just published _Intelligent Design Creationists and Their
    > Critics_ with MIT Press. It includes two essays by me. Pennock never
    > contacted me about their inclusion. Indeed, I only learned of their
    > inclusion after his volume was published and became available to the
    > last week.
    > It appears that Pennock and MIT Press are legally in the clear -- Pennock
    > selected pieces for which he was able to obtain copyright permissions
    > without having to consult me.
    > There's more to ethics, however, than legalities. What Pennock and MIT
    > Press have done is emblematic of the viewpoint discrimination that
    > dissenters to Darwinism face in American academic culture. Pennock's
    > is supposed to constitute a definitive refutation of intelligent design,
    > allowing intelligent design proponents to have their say and then meet
    > their strongest critics. Instead, it is a shabby ploy to cast intelligent
    > design in the worst possible light.
    > Imagine if someone critical of Darwinian evolutionary theory decided to
    > publish a book titled _Dogmatic Darwinian Fundamentalists and Their
    > Critics_, managed to obtain copyright permissions for pieces by prominent
    > Darwinists (mostly outdated pieces at that), and then situated their
    > within a collection of critical replies designed to make them look
    > ridiculous. Substitute intelligent design for Darwinism, and that's what
    > Pennock and MIT Press have done.
    > In my case, Pennock chose a popular 2,000 word essay of mine titled "Who's
    > Got the Magic?" and followed it with a 9,000-word rebuttal by him titled
    > "The Wizards of ID." For the other essay of mine, Pennock chose
    > "Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information," which was a popular piece
    > on information theory that's now five years old. I've written much on that
    > topic since then, and the essay itself is now outdated. Moreover, Pennock
    > followed that essay with three critical responses. One of those responses,
    > by Elliott Sober, was a lengthy technical review (from the journal
    > _Philosophy of Science_) of my technical monograph _The Design Inference_
    > (Cambridge University Press, 1998). No portion of that monograph or
    > anything comparable from my work was included in Pennock's book. Finally,
    > was given no chance to respond to my critics.
    > I contacted both Pennock and MIT Press to register my concerns. I would
    > like to have seen a public apology by Pennock and some notice by MIT Press
    > indicating that my essays appeared without my knowledge, that they
    > represent my popular rather than technical work on intelligent design, and
    > that I was not given a chance to reply to my critics. Pennock indicated
    > that unless I chose to pursue legal action, he considered the matter
    > closed. MIT Press ignored my concerns and indicated they would be happy to
    > hear about any other concerns I might have.
    > I do not plan to seek legal redress, though it seems to me that Pennock
    > MIT Press have deliberately tried to undermine my standing in the academic
    > community. Pennock chose popular and outdated work of mine, positioned
    > various critiques of my work with it, gave me no opportunity to reply to
    > critics, and packaged it all in a volume titled _Intelligent Design
    > Creationists and Their Critics_, thus casting me as a creationist, which
    > contemporary academic culture is equivalent to being cast as a flat
    > earther, astrologer, or holocaust denier. There's no way I would have
    > allowed my work to appear under such conditions if I had any say in the
    > matter. Pennock saw to it that I had no say in the matter.
    > Some critics of intelligent design play hard and fair. They allow
    > intelligent design proponents to put their best foot forward and they in
    > turn produce their strongest counterarguments to intelligent design.
    > Pennock, by contrast, is like the Emperor Commodus in the movie
    > _Gladiator_, who first needs to hamstring his opponents before he tosses
    > them into the arena.
    > Episodes like this are bad for American academic life. They undermine free
    > and open exchange. They make for bad feelings on all sides. And they
    > prevent ideas from getting the critical scrutiny they need. Intelligent
    > design needs critical scrutiny. But by rigging the debate the way he did,
    > Pennock ensures that intelligent design will continue to be politicized.
    > Pennock's new book is an object lesson in how not to debate intelligent
    > design.
    > --30--
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