Re: Dembski's Meta-News post attracts faculty attention

From: Richard Wein (
Date: Fri Oct 20 2000 - 03:57:19 EDT

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    And the latest breaking news...


    Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 18:58:08 -0400
    Reply-To: "William A. Dembski (by way of William Grassie)"
    Sender: Metanews <metanews@META-LIST.ORG>
    From: "William A. Dembski (by way of William Grassie)"
    Subject: Dembski's Response to His Removal
    Comments: To:
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"

    October 19, 2000: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


    Baylor University President Robert Sloan has removed me as director of the
    Michael Polanyi Center despite his having personally solicited me to come to
    Baylor and establish the Center as a means of furthering work on intelligent
    design. Some Baylor faculty have exerted enormous pressure on Baylor to
    disassociate the university from me and my research. Earlier President Sloan
    had properly characterized these efforts as "intellectual McCarthyism."

    Because I released a press statement (see below) applauding the results of
    the peer review committee that passed upon and approved the academic
    soundness of my work, I am now being labeled as not "collegial" and the
    statement is said to have fatally compromised my ability to serve as
    Director. My press release allowed me publicly to state my full support for
    the results of the peer review committee report. Having made that statement,
    I then expected to proceed full steam ahead to implement the committee's
    recommendations by expanding the scope of the center while still focusing my
    own research on intelligent design -- just as the peer review committee
    recommended and President Sloan agreed.

    Instead, I was informed that my press release created a "firestorm" on
    campus. Shockingly, the administration formally asked me to retract my press
    release. I explained that the press release accurately conveyed how I
    perceived the outcome of the peer review committee and that for me to
    retract it would be tantamount to giving in to the censorship and
    vilification against me that had been a constant feature since I arrived on
    campus. I could not and would not betray all that I have worked for in my
    professional career.

    In the utmost of bad faith, the administration claimed my refusal to retract
    my press release constituted a lack of collegiality on my part and charged
    that this compromised my ability to serve as director, thereby providing the
    fig leaf of justification for my removal. Intellectual McCarthyism has, for
    the moment, prevailed at Baylor. The announcement of my removal from the
    Polanyi Center directorship states that I am to be kept on in my capacity as
    an Associate Professor in Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning. I look
    forward in that capacity to continuing to work on intelligent design and its

    ------Previous Press Release of October 17, 2000------

    The Michael Polanyi Center Peer Review Committee has now released its
    official report ( and the Baylor
    University administration has responded to the report
    ( As director of the
    Center, I wish to offer the following comment:

    The report marks the triumph of intelligent design as a legitimate form of
    academic inquiry. This is a great day for academic freedom. I'm deeply
    grateful to President Sloan and Baylor University for making this possible,
    as well as to the peer review committee for its unqualified affirmation of
    my own work on intelligent design. The scope of the Center will be expanded
    to embrace a broader set of conceptual issues at the intersection of science
    and religion, and the Center will therefore receive a new name to reflect
    this expanded vision. My work on intelligent design will continue unabated.
    Dogmatic opponents of design who demanded the Center be shut down have met
    their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in
    the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression.

    [end quote]

    I have one comment to add.

    I was surprised to see Dembski come straight out and say that: "Baylor
    University President Robert Sloan ... personally solicited me to come to
    Baylor and establish the Center as a means of furthering work on intelligent
    design." I find this quite revealing.

    According to the MPC's own web site (

    "The Michael Polanyi Center (MPC) is a cross-disciplinary research and
    educational initiative focused on advancing the understanding of science. It
    has a fourfold purpose: (1) to support and pursue research in the history
    and conceptual foundations of the natural and social sciences; (2) to study
    the impact of contemporary science on the humanities and the arts; (3) to be
    an active participant in the growing dialogue between science and religion;
    and (4) to pursue the mathematical development and empirical application of
    design-theoretic concepts in the natural sciences."

    Note that ID research is only listed as the fourth of four purposes.
    Dembski's comment strongly supports my suspicion from the start that the
    first three stated purposes were just cover for the fourth, real purpose.

    Richard Wein (Tich)
    "Do the calculation. Take the numbers seriously. See if the underlying
    probabilities really are small enough to yield design."
      -- W. A. Dembski, who has never presented any calculation to back up his
    claim to have detected Intelligent Design in life.

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