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Credibility Gap: Baylor Denies Robert Marks’ Situation Has Anything to do with ID

ID Proponents Need Not ApplyThe Waco Tribune reported that “Baylor vice president for marketing and communications John Barry … denied that the matter has been drawn out because the content is related to intelligent design.”

Does Baylor University actually expect us to believe that this has nothing to do with ID?

William Dembski reports that the initial e-mail sent from Baylor administrator, Dean Kelley, to Dr. Marks explicitly stated that people were complaining about Robert Marks’s website precisely because it dealt with ID!

Here’s what Dean Kelley wrote:

“I have received several concerned messages this week about an interview and web site dealing with evolutionary computing associated ID. Please disconnect this web site immediately and Cheryl will arrange a time for us to meet immediately upon my return.”

It was this e-mail that preluded Baylor’s removal of Marks’s website without his knowledge or permission.

Baylor, of course, provides the usual pretexts that they are treating Dr. Marks like they would any other faculty. This makes it important to dispel Baylor’s pretexts for persecuting Dr. Marks on the grounds that he has done something wrong.

Dr. Marks is an innocent party. He was simply doing his own research, much like any other faculty might do, and he discussed it on a website. After Dr. Marks made the mistake of talking about his research on an ID the Future Podcast, some anti-ID forces at Baylor complained, and Baylor administrators sent Dr. Marks the threatening e-mail above and even took the website offline, without Marks’ permission and knowledge.

At a meeting between Baylor administrators, Dr. Marks, and his attorney John Gilmore, Baylor administrators apparently said the website could go back online if Dr. Marks would emplace a disclaimer on the website stating the website was not officially affiliated with Baylor. In fact, Dr. Marks agreed to do that. But then the Baylor administration reneged on that earlier agreement by NOT putting the website back up and adding additional requirements upon Marks.

As World reported, these new requirements included:

  • Delete the title “The Evolutionary Informatics Lab” from the top of every page.
  • Delete the name and email address of a Baylor graduate student assisting Marks with his research.
  • Post at the bottom of every page and the top of the home page a 108-word public-relations statement denying any institutional support for the research and extolling Baylor’s commitment to academic freedom.

Marks even agreed to some of these new requirements, but others were over-the-top and he could not agree to them because they would trample his academic freedom.

Robert Marks has done nothing wrong here. He’s simply a researcher doing research and discussing that research publicly on his website. The American Association of University Professors’ Statement on Academic Freedom plainly supports his right to do as he has done:

Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in its teaching aspect is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning. It carries with it duties correlative with rights. … Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties

As John Gilmore stated, “Baylor has an obligation to defend Bob Marks’ position. Unfortunately, they’ve been taking the position of his persecutors. . . . It’s viewpoint discrimination.”

While Baylor is a private entity and not subject to First Amendment law regarding “viewpoint discrimination,” it’s clear that Robert Marks is being singled out due to his views on ID. One might assert that the Baylor Administration is merely exercising its right to defend its reputation, but again, that appears to be just a pretext for persecuting people, for one could justify any amount of viewpoint discrimination on such grounds. The only crime committed by Dr. Marks was the thought-crime of questioning Darwin.

When we balance the university’s right to “defend its reputation” against a tenured scientist’s “entitle[ment] to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his other academic duties” (AAUP 1940 Statement), there is no contest: Robert Marks’ academic freedom to question Darwin should win out, unless we are to make a mockery of the meaning of academic freedom. But no one is reporting about the Baylor Administration issuing any of the requirements they are demanding of Marks upon scientists with other viewpoints.

It’s obvious why the Baylor administration is attacking Robert Marks: he’s a Darwin-skeptic, and some people at Baylor University don’t take kindly to Darwin-skeptics being on their campus.


Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



Evolutionary Informatics LabRobert Marks