Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Baylor’s Evolutionary Informatics lab shutdown

In June, I mentioned that Baylor University had a new lab where it appeared that the design inference may be considered in respect to the research being done.

As reported at Uncommon Descent, the lab has been shut down due to complaints that the work was perceived as being linked to ID.

This whole episode is so puzzling...

It seems to me that allowing this type of research would give those who oppose ID a better footing in their objections to ID. If nothing were being produced by Marks that would advance the design inference, they would be able to *show* the world that ID is worthless to the advancement of science.

As a lay person, this latest saga certainly seems to suggest that ID must be a *much* bigger threat to Darwinian evolution than it’s supporters are willing to admit.

If what Dembski says is true, Lilley knew that he was involved in the lab. Lilley signed off on the grant that was advanced to the lab, so he must have been well aware that Dembski was involved as his name was on the grant. It doesn’t appear that Dembski was sneaking into the lab in some devious fashion.

What’s really puzzling is that it didn’t seem to me that what was going on in that lab was a threat to evolution...in fact, I would think that any research in regard to the information observed in nature would be of great benefit to the ToE.

One would think that by placing Dembski or other ID theorists smack dab into the mainstream scientific environment, provide them with grants and demand that they produce results which will answer questions that have yet to be answered in regard to the design inference, it would allow the Darwin supporters to put more pressure on them to produce results. If no results were forthcoming, their case against ID would be solid.

Mainstream scientists in these debates tell us that that ID must produce results, and that the research must be considered in mainstream peer reviewed journals, yet every time it looks as if there is a minute chance of that happening, the plug is pulled. Why?

It only took a few months in this case before the complaints were strong enough from those who were in opposition to the lab to come forward. I wonder how having Dembski on the campus could be that threatening? What were they worried would happen as a result of his involvement? Was it just the matter of the reputation of the school? Would that reputation lend to less grant assistance, or what?

Just as in the aftermath of the Gonzalez case, the sciencebloggers are claiming that ID advocates will be crying “persecution” or “censorship”, yet what else can this be called other than censorship? I don’t know what other explanation would apply.