2 October 2007
Some years back a colleague from England emailed me about an article by Paul Gross against intelligent design. He wrote:
This is loaded with extreme polemical language almost from the first sentence. I find it so biased that I simply cannot get beyond the first page. That the editor is proud to present this polemical babble is astonishing. If this is the best that the ’scientific establishment’ can do, then that establishement is culturally decadent.
It confirms what I have worried about for a long time: that science today simply does not have the cultural depth, the conceptual and linguistic resources, to conduct civilized scholarly debate about its foundational commitments and assumptions. Thomas Huxley would be deeply embarrassed by this article. If you have to deal daily with this kind of low polemic there is a real danger of being dragged down to their level. I am more sympathetic than ever with what you have to deal with.
I’m afraid in my recent efforts to throw light on the Baylor administration’s removal of Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics Lab from Baylor, I succumbed to the “low polemic” that my English colleague feared. I have no regrets about alerting my contacts in the press about Baylor’s suppression of academic freedom in the Marks affair.
Nonetheless, on this blog I went too far in trying to hold up the Baylor administration’s actions to the light of day. I let it get personal and went over the edge in three things: (1) posting a parody letter attributed to Baylor President Lilley; (2) posting contact information for the Baylor Board of Regents in an effort to apply pressure to the Baylor administration; (3) posting an exchange between Peter Irons and John Lilley largely for the purpose of embarassing both.
I’ve removed all three posts and herewith extend a public apology to the Baylor administration and Board of Regents for these actions on this blog. In offering this apology, however, I mean in no way to mitigate the gravity of Baylor’s wrong in censoring the research of Robert Marks and his Evolutionary Informatics Lab.
Without moralizing, I want to suggest a lesson in all this. Stay on topic and don’t let things get personal. I hurt my family and lost about three weeks of productive work by being consumed with anger about the injustice against Robert Marks. It’s not worth it. Let’s get on with our work and leave justice in the hands of a God who has reason to find fault with all of us and yet is merciful.Email This Post Print This Post