Another bizarre chapter in the Dembski-Baylor spat ?

Last night, a strange post appeared at Uncommon Descent, under the byline “Botnik”, claiming to report on a letter by Baylor University President John Lilley about the University’s disavowal of the Orwellianly named “Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory” that had been created a few months ago by engineering professor Robert Marks in collaboration with Dembski. The alleged letter had a decidely non-“presidential” tone, and caused many UD commenters to immediately attack Lilley as a puppet of the ACLU, a member of the vast NCSE-led atheist conspiracy, etc. As tempers flared, the letter was identified as a “P-A-R-O-D-Y” a few hours after the original posting.

What the intended goal of the “parody” was, other than to risk getting the Baylor Administration more upset about ID-related shenanigans, is unclear. Wes discusses the matter further at The Austringer.


UPDATE 9:30 pm, 09/02/07

It looks like it didn’t take long for the entire UD thread to disappear. With characteristic arrogance, Dembski has issued a non-apologetic apology, presenting the removal of the forgery as a “gesture of good-will”, as opposed to a sensible act of decency.

Ironically, Dembski says he believed that few would be taken by the letter because it was “so over-the-top”. In fact, the arguments in the letter were mostly rather sensible, if debatable. What made the letter unbelievable, apart from the occasionally clumsy language, was that no sane University President would answer some nobody’s e-mail with such blunt frankness and directness, and greatly embarrass one of his faculty members in the process. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, privately, a University President like Lilley harbored the same feelings as those expressed in the fake letter about the back-door shenanigans that have twice now brought Dembski to inappropriately claim Baylor’s institutional imprimatur for ID “research”.

For the record, a compound capture of the original UD post and several of the following comments is reproduced below.