Evolutionary Informatics Lab
The Evolutionary Informatics Lab is a cyberspace entity created in 2007 by Baylor University professor Robert J. Marks II conducting research on mathematical details of evolutionary computation and purported to underlie intelligent design It defines evolutionary informatics and serves as a showcase for those researchers' writings.
Marks first created a website for the lab on a Baylor server. Controversy ensued when the University deleted the site for linking the University to private research. Baylor's action is represented as persecution of ID advocates in a 2008 documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The site now resides on a third-party server.
History of the website
The declared purpose of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab is as follows.
"Evolutionary informatics merges theories of evolution and information, thereby wedding the natural, engineering, and mathematical sciences. Evolutionary informatics studies how evolving systems incorporate, transform, and export information. The Evolutionary Informatics Laboratory explores the conceptual foundations, mathematical development, and empirical application of evolutionary informatics. The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems."
As of February 18, 2012, The Evolutionary Informatics Lab involves the following senior researchers:
- William F. Basener, Professor of Mathematics at Rochester Institute of Technology,
- William A. Dembski, an intelligent design advocate,
- Gil Dodgen, a programmer, musician and contributor on Dembski's Uncommon Descent blog,
- Norman C. Griswold Emeritus Halliburton Professor of Electrical Engineering (retired) and former Department Chair at Texas A&M University,
- Granville Sewell, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at El Paso,
- Robert J. Marks II, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, and
- Donald C. Wunsch II, Mary K. Finley Missouri Distinguished Professor of Computer Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Support staff includes research assistant Winston Ewert.
Baylor's removal of the website
Marks did not seek permission from Baylor University to form the lab, but created a website for it on a server owned by the university. The website was deleted when Baylor's administration determined that it violated university policy forbidding professors from creating the impression that their personal views represent Baylor as an institution. Baylor said they would permit Marks to repost his website on their server, provided a disclaimer accompany any intelligent design-advancing research to make clear that the work does not represent the university's position. The site now resides on a third-party server and still contains the material advancing intelligent design.
After removing the site, the Baylor administration stated that it contained "unapproved research" and that university policy forbids professors from creating the impression that their personal views represent Baylor as an institution. Baylor has said that it will permit Marks to repost his website on its server, provided he (1) delete any reference to a "Lab," (2) delete listing of any Baylor graduate students, and (3) post at the bottom of every page and the top of the home page a 108-word disclaimer.
Dembski, Marks, and Baylor
William Dembski had been employed by Baylor twice prior to the establishment of the lab, and the website made available technical papers coauthored by him and Marks. Dembski was embroiled in controversy in 2000 as the director of Baylor's short-lived Michael Polanyi Center, which promoted intelligent design. In 2006, Dembski was briefly employed by Marks as a research assistant, despite the fact that he was a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That stint as a Baylor employee came to an end when the university rejected the $30,000 grant from the Lifeworks Foundation that provided his salary. In a well sourced article at "The Panda's Thumb," a weblog opposing intelligent design, Andrea Bottaro links the Lifeworks Foundation to the Discovery Institute, a think tank advocating intelligent design.
"Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" coverage
Baylor's removal of the website is addressed in the 2008 film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The main thesis of the film is that academia and the scientific establishment discriminate against intelligent design advocates. It includes interview footage with Marks and Dembski.
As of May 2015 the lab's website offers twenty four publications. The majority are peer reviewed including five in major engineering journals. The publications in evolutionary informatics purport to discredit search based computer models of evolution including Avida, ev and Tierra by measuring the active information infused into the search models. Four papers on algorithmic specified complexity claim to provide a model whereby the degree of design of an object can be measured in bits. The remaining papers deal with evolution and the second law of thermodynamics, evolutionary swarm intelligence and two papers deal overtly with Christian apologetics.
As of May 2015, another forty-nine publications by the nine lab members are listed under Other Publications, including 16 books.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Evolutionary Informatics Lab|
- Baylor University
- William A. Dembski
- Robert J. Marks II
- Granville Sewell
- Norman C. Griswold
- Donald C. Wunsch II
- "Most of these critics are responding to my book No Free Lunch. As I explained in the preface of that book, its aim was to provide enough technical details so that experts could fill in details, but enough exposition so that the general reader could grasp the essence of my project. The book seems to have succeeded with the general reader and with some experts, though mainly with those who were already well-disposed toward ID. In any case, it became clear after that publication of that book that I would need to fill in the mathematical details myself, something I have been doing right along (see my articles described under “mathematical foundations of intelligent design” at www.designinference.com) and which has now been taken up in earnest in a collaboration with my friend and Baylor colleague Robert Marks at his Evolutionary Informatics Lab (www.EvoInfo.org)." — An Interview with Dr. William A. Dembski (Updated)
- The Evolutionary Informatics Lab website
- An Interview with Dr. William A. Dembski (Updated)
- Web site sparks new intelligent design battle at BU, Waco Tribune-Herald
- Baylor forces professor to shut down site, The Daily Orange
- Uncommon Descent: About
- A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism
- William Dembski Addresses Forthcoming Intelligent Design Research that Advances ID and Answers Critics, Evolution News & Views, Discovery Institute
- Crisis averted, Mark Bergin, World Magazine
- Baylor U. Removes a Web Page Associated With Intelligent Design From Its Site by Elizabeth F. Farrell. Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 4, 2007. onlinesubscription access
- New intelligent design conflict hits BU, Claire St. Amant, Baylor Lariat, September 11, 2007
- Baylor U. Removes a Web Page Associated With Intelligent Design From Its Site, Elizabeth F. Farrell, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 6, 2007.
- WORLD Magazine | Today's News, Christian Views
- Grace Maalouf and Brad Briggs "BU had role in Dembski return," Baylor Lariat, Nov. 16, 2007 
- "Follow the money: more Dembski/Baylor-related mischief?" September 7, 2007 
- Jerry Pierce, "Baptist professors featured in new film," Southern Baptist Texan (January 28, 2008)
- Lesley Burbridge-Bates (2007-08-22). "Expelled Press Release" (PDF). Premise Media. Retrieved 2008-04-07. External link in