ID debate to continue in new film
Sept. 19, 2007
By Claire St. Amant
Troubled by the Baylor administration's removal of an intelligent
design Web site from a Baylor server, a producer from the film
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is planning a Thursday trip to campus
in hopes of meeting with President John Lilley.
Distinguished professor Dr. Robert Marks' personal research Web
site on evolutionary informatics was taken down from a Baylor server
last month, and producers of Expelled want to speak to Lilley about it.
"We are disturbed with what happened with Dr. Marks,"
executive producer Walt Ruloff said. "He was working on some really
Even though he was not granted an official meeting with Lilley,
associate producer Mark Mathis has decided to bring a film crew on
Lori Fogleman, director of media relations for Baylor, said the
president's office "gets many, many requests for meetings,
participation in special events, commentary and interviews."
"Given Dr. Lilley's ongoing commitments that are focused on advancing
the university's most significant objectives, it is impossible for us
to respond favorably to every invitation," Fogleman said. "In this
specific instance, we were unable to respond positively to a request
from a filmmaker working on comedic actor Ben Stein's next movie
The documentary, due out in February, features Stein as an
"academic rebel" in search of answers regarding higher education's
treatment of intelligent design issues. Stein and the producers have
conducted interviews on both sides of the issue at a number of colleges
and universities, including Notre Dame University, Iowa State
University, George Mason University, Cornell University, Pepperdine
University and the University of Minnesota at Morris.
"We're trying to be as fair and as up front as possible, but these are
questions that need answering," he said. "(The administration) should
be able to provide logical, reasonable answers."
Ruloff said while the current plans call for Mathis to discuss academic
freedom and intelligent design issues with Lilley, he hopes students
will come out as well and raise questions to the administration.
Mathis, too, believes this is a student cause.
"We think it would be appropriate for the student body to ask the questions," Mathis said.
However, the producers said they wouldn't be surprised if students are hesitant to get involved.
"Students are fearful," Mathis said. "They don't want to go on the record supporting intelligent design."
Through his previous experience on the film, Mathis said students have
frequently expressed concerns about coming forward with support.
"The depth of intimidation tactics are unreal," he said. "Students are
concerned they won't be able to get into graduate school or get a job."
Mathis also said certain majors are more worried about the stigma of intelligent design than others.
"If you were a biology student, you wouldn't dare touch this," he said.
Allentown, Pa. junior Sam Chen, the director of the Intelligent
Design Undergraduate Research Center said he doesn't have any plans to
be officially involved with questioning Lilley.
"The students deserve an answer," Chen said. "There may very
well be a good reason to shut down Dr. Marks' lab, but the president
has yet to provide one."