Moi? Mentioned in the Waco Tribune? Defending a creationist? I knew that remark would come back to bite me. At least the author misspelled my name, so my shame won’t spread too far (except, unfortunately, that I seem to be more widely cited as “Meyers” than “Myers”). Anyway, it’s a letter by Robert Marks’ lawyer, complaining about Baylor’s decision to shut down Marks’ “evolutionary informatics” web page, and I’m mentioned as supporting him.
In Minnesota, where I live, a well-known biologist and faithful believer in evolution, Professor P.Z. Meyers, has followed what Baylor has done and called for it to reverse itself.
Meyers loathes ID and its proponents and blogs about it, frequently with exceptional humor. It is more than telling — shameful, perhaps? — that Meyers, a self-identified atheist, sees something amiss here that those in power at Baylor cannot or will not.
Yeah, I’m afraid it’s true (except the “faithful believer” part). As long as Robert Marks plainly labels his creationist web pages as unendorsed by Baylor, as long as his remarks are plainly associated with his personal views, not the university’s, they ought to be tolerated. And laughed at, but that goes without saying. That’s the price of academic freedom, that we have to allow the free expression of ideas that we don’t like.
I also sympathize a little bit with Baylor. They’ve got this persistent, obnoxious leech named Dembski who keeps trying to cling to the university, and I can understand how they might get a little overzealous in trying to excise him. It looks to me like they have gotten carried away, though.
Of course, I also experience a little inappropriate glee at the situation. What’s the lesson universities are going to learn from this? If you hire a creationist, you hire a lawsuit-happy twit who is going to embarrass you repeatedly and is going to get crazy crackpot lunacy associated with your academic mission. It doesn’t matter how good he is at his specific discipline, the creationism is going to poison everything.
For another example of embarrassing associations, remember Dembski’s ‘notpology’ to Baylor? Throw away any pretense of apology, Bill. His latest entry was a link to a hideous parody site by one Galapagos Finch (the site seems to consist only of very bad Photoshop jobs where faces are distorted into ugly unrecognizability) expressing resentment that poor Robert Marks was being martyred. That one was very quickly ripped down and tossed into the UD memory hole, but you can still find it preserved in its shameful putrescence at At the Bathroom Wall.
I’m sure hiring committees around the country will take notice of the Dembski style of collegiality.