Monday, November 19, 2007

More on the tortured relationship between Baylor University, William Dembski and Robert Marks.

Baylor's history of controversy surrounding intelligent design has been well chronicled, especially when former professor Dr. William Dembski has been involved. But such was not the case in November of 2006 when Dembski arrived back on campus to work with Dr. Robert Marks, distinguished professor of computer and electrical engineering.

Baylor was involved in asking for the grant that brought Dembski back, but when his return was made known to the administration, Baylor returned the grant, effectively terminating his position.

Marks, himself, is no stranger to controversy:

Marks became involved in another academic controversy this fall when his Web site containing research related to intelligent design was removed from Baylor's server.

The site chronicled his work in evolutionary informatics, a field which uses computer modeling of evolution and adds information to the understood process.

There are funny things about how this grant, which originated from LifeWorks, a foundation that is no longer in operation, was administered, though:

"I have ... a file of a letter that [University president] Lilley signed off on basically thanking the foundation and all of the paperwork that went through," Dembski said, adding, "If he didn't look it over it closely enough, well, OK, whose fault is that?"

Fogleman said the president receives large amounts of paperwork to sign, and "once anything reaches the president's desk, he is trusting that the processes in place have been properly vetted at that point."

But the LifeWorks grant, which she said "circumvented the standard funding evaluation programs," could have "been vetted completely differently if it had gone through the academic side."

Since the whole Dembski affair, life has been not especially easy for Dr. Marks, either:

"Our professors are expected to research and teach in areas that they are hired to produce," Fogleman said.

"We're talking about any kind of outside research -- outside of their particular field of expertise in which they are hired to produce at the university. If they fulfill all of their contractual obligations to the university regarding time and productivity, then that professor is perfectly free to research in an outside area," Fogleman said.

"Right now, this continues to be an ongoing legal discussion that we hope will be resolved satisfactorily."

It seems to me that Baylor needs to demonstrate that Dr. Marks is not fulfilling the parts in this contract pertaining to research.

No comments:

Post a Comment