Uncommon Descent

8 September 2007

Of Groups and Labs at Baylor

William Dembski

This Man Will Destroy the Scholarly Reputation of Your University!

You might wonder whether Prof. Robert Marks is the only faculty member at Baylor who has a “group” or a “lab” not blessed by Baylor administration. The other day I mined a bunch of cases here at UD where the terms “group” and “lab” are used at Baylor, almost certainly without the Baylor administration’s blessing or knowledge. Here’s what I wrote:

(1) Robert Marks has another research entity on the Baylor server: “The Baylor University Time Scales Group” (note the Baylor URL: web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/marks/Research/TimeScales). This research group (a collaboration between engineering and mathematics) has been allowed to proceed unimpeded by Baylor, using its name and absent any disclaimer. Is Baylor now, to maintain a foolish consistency, going to take down that site as well? Is it going to require disclaimers when previously it didn’t? Note that Prof. Marks, by way of compromise, was willing to rename the “Evolutionary Informatics Lab” the “Evolutionary Informatics Group,” but this too was unacceptable to the Baylor administration.

(2) Many other labs and groups associated with Baylor scientists have websites on the Baylor server, and none of them carries disclaimers. Here are some that I found in a few minutes of googling the Baylor server: (i) The Robert R. Kane Research Group (chemistry); (ii) Rene Massengale Research Group (biology); (iii) The Klausmeyer Research Group (biochemistry); (iv) Jeffrey Olafsen’s Nonlinear and Nonequilibrium Dynamics Group, aka Nonlinear Dynamics Laboratory (physics); (v) The Stanford Lab (Matthew Stanford’s lab in neuroscience).

Well, there’s more:

**”The Baylor University Time Scales Group” (note the Baylor URL: web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/marks/Research/TimeScales) just got a big NSF Grant and is finishing another. No one with that group ever asked anyone at Baylor whether it was okay to form this group or put it on the Baylor server. It’s something research groups do. And no one at Baylor is upset about it.

**Robert Marks has another research group on the Baylor server with Randall Jean: The Microwave Applied Metrology Lab (note the Baylor URL: web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/jean). Prof. Marks does research with Prof. Jean. It has been posted with no changes since the first year Marks got to Baylor — 2003.

**Prof. Marks’s new department chair (electrical and computer engineering), who started this fall 2007, is Prof. Kwang Lee. Prof. Lee moves to Baylor from Penn State where he ran The Power Systems Control Laboratory (www.ee.psu.edu/faculty/lee/lee1.html). It’s still at Penn State. Given what Baylor did to Prof. Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab, why should Prof. Lee risk moving his lab to Baylor? Question: Was that lab okayed by Penn State? I’ll bet it wasn’t.

**At the University of Washington, where Prof. Marks was on faculty for 26 years, he ran The Computational Intelligence Applications Lab (note the acronym: CIA Lab). Prof. Marks ran it, with no approval from anybody, with Mohamed El-Sharkawi. They wrote numerous papers together and got millions in grants for this lab. El-Sharkawi still runs the lab at cialab.ee.washington.edu. Here’s the kicker: When Prof. Marks first came to Baylor, he called his research effort “The CIA Lab” — it’s still mentioned at web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/marks/Marks/Bob/Bob2004.htm. Note that Baylor and The CIA Lab are listed right next to each other. Prof. Marks used “CIA Lab” as the entity under which he conducted his research at Baylor for several years. You’d think if Baylor got mad at Prof. Marks for anything, it would be for placing his research under “The CIA Lab.”

THIS IS WHAT RESEARCH PROFESSORS AT RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES DO!!! To attract funds, research professors form groups and labs because there’s a synergy in numbers that enables research to attract funding and flourish. That’s how the game of “supply side academics” gets played. Interestingly, no one publicly criticizing Prof. Marks at Baylor (President, Provost, Dean) has ever attracted a cent of research funding for their own scientific work/scholarly activities. (Prove me wrong!) The President, John Lilley, is in music. The Provost, Randall O’Brien, is a Baptist Pastor. And Prof. Marks’s Dean, Benjamin Kelley, has a teaching, not a research, background. In particular, Kelley has admitted that he does not understand the work of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab.

It’s infuriating that none of the critics of the EIL at Baylor has offered a single comment about the substance of the papers they removed from Prof. Mark’s server. NO ONE!

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6 Responses


Larry Fafarman


5:33 pm


If the name “Evolutionary Informatics Lab” sounds weird, what about the oddly named “Station for Experimental Evolution”? LOL

In 1910, the Eugenics Record Office was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, as a center for the study of human heredity and a repository for genetic data on human traits. It merged with the Station for Experimental Evolution in 1920 to become the Department of Genetics at the Carnegie Institution, and under the direction of Charles B. Davenport and later of Albert Blakeslee and Milislav Demerec, it became the most important center for eugenic research in the nation.

– from http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/mole/e/ero.htm




6:44 pm


Prof. Marks has some very impressive credentials. I think a music scholar telling Dr. Marks what he can and can’t pursue scientifically has to be the height of ignorance.
Someone commented that it may be about money, iow, that someone would lose money if Neo-Darwinism is proved wrong. I have news for that commenter ,,They have already lost their money if they are relying on Neo-Darwinism to be true for it has been proven false many times %
I can’t think of any advances in medicine or genetic engineering that have benefited by the Neo-Darwinism fallacy,,Dr. J.C. Sanford work in genetics being a prime example of how Neo-Darwinism can impede progress since scientists are forced to go down blind alleys.
Yet at the same time if the correct foundation is laid as EIL is trying to do ,,Scientists would be much more fruitful in their endeavors since they would be going down the correct path to begin with.
So if its about the money then they should place their money on the truth for it will bear fruit for their investment!

[…] #197: DK: T”he issue, as I see it, is not whether both conclusions have the same wording,… russ: I wonder how all of the history of this controversy will be written or (re-written) when IDfinally manages to… […]




7:55 pm


Dr. J.C. Sanford work in genetics being a prime example

just alittle off topic here, but I’ve been dying to ask this. I read Genetic Entropy by Sanford, and really liked it. But, I have one main question:

1. if slightly deliterous mutations continue to build up, rendering a species extinct, why hasn’t the fruit fly, or even mosquitos gone extinct. That is they have enormous amounts of generations, all probably adding slightly deleterious mutations into its genome.

I’m probably not understanding it all that well, but I would have thought that if you extrapolate what Sanford says to the highly reproductive fruit fly, you’d see it degrade pretty rapidly. Why is this not happening?




8:17 pm


I would also like to see such questions addressed. Yet as you stated it is off topic,,Hopefully, one of the moderators will open a discussion on Genetic Entropy in the near future… Along with your question I can think of a few others along that line that I would like to see addressed for Genetic Entropy. My hunch is that science has barely touched the outline of this foundational principle of molecular biology and that further foundational research along these lines is needed to clarify it more fully! In fact what Dr. Dembski and Dr. Marks were/are trying to accomplish with the EIL would go a long way to establishing the clear guidelines needed to discern such important questions of Genetic Entropy.




8:34 pm



I promised myself I would limit my postings on the net, but this was too painful to read not to comment on, and I feel I owe it to Bob Marks for his kindness to me.

Bob telephoned me in April 2007 and said there was grant money at his disposal for my tuition and modest stipend for me to get an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor under his tutelage and in connection with the EIL.

I deeply appreciated the offer by Bob to use grant money to help me through school. I was very honored that I could be the student of such a distinguished professor in the field of Electrical Engineering.

There has been some accusation floating on the net that Marks’ work was all about just some website. No, it was not, it was a real lab and I was going to do paid work on the computers that would shatter the claims of places like Caltech Avida Lab and Digital Organism research at MSU. These two groups have been funded for around 17 years, and the work of the EIL would have put that work out of business.

I was surprised the intentions of the EIL lab were so forthright and specific about whom they expected to put out of business. See:
Casey Luskin interviews Robert Marks concerning his new Evolutionary Informatics Lab

I hope you catch from the interview the ambitiousness of the lab and how it promises to put people like Christoph Adami and Rob Pennock out of business

–Bill Dembski

It crossed my mind that the research at EIL would probably put a lot research out of business, not just those 2 labs at Caltech and MSU. I figured the EIL group being so forthright about their intentions would draw a lot of fire, but I figured Baylor couldn’t possibly be pressured to stop EIL’s progress. Not unless there was a lot of determination to stop the EIL…..

Apparently there was a lot of determination, and Bob’s lab was shut down….

Bill also pointed out:

To attract funds, research professors form groups and labs because there’s a synergy in numbers that enables research to attract funding and flourish.

In addition to shutting EIL down, Baylor lost a prospective student as well. I was considering working for Bob even for the modest stipend offered from the grants he had at hsi disposal.

I sensed things were not going well at Baylor, and thus I made two decisions:

1. I accepted a job (in the six figures) near Johns Hopkins.

2. I sought enrollment and was accepted late in the school year at Johns Hopkins in their part-time Masters Program in Physics.

Baylor might have had me working at the informatics lab instead. I’m sorry I won’t be with Bob Marks and have the privilege of studying under his Tutelage because the administration gave preference to the Old Guard at Baylor.

I’m very disappointed Baylor is apparently giving veiled threats to Marks in the form of ” “supervisory directions”.

Marks could get a job almost anywhere for a lot more money with a PhD in EE and his credentials. Baylor’s treatment of such a premier scientist is beyond belief.

from the picture:

and 56 supervised doctoral dissertations and masters theses

And to think, I had a chance at the honor of being #57. Oh well, but there will be another, and the EIL lab will continue. The Wedge of Truth will not be stopped by Baylor.

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