Monday, August 25, 2014

The censorial anti-ID activist is… Bob O'Hara?

Those of you acquainted with Bob O’Hara have already busted a gut laughing. There is not, as best I can tell, a censorial bone in his body. He is the mildest of the pack nipping at the heels of ID creationists. As I recall, he even respects their wish not to be called creationists.

A year ago, ID-creationism advocate Casey Luskin alternately detailed and insinuated everything he ever wanted you to believe about Springer’s abandonment of the creationist-edited volume Biological Evolution: New Perspectives. And what he insinuated about Bob O’Hara was ugly.

[A]pparently [Matzke’s] post generated a lot of complaints to Springer from people who didn’t want the company to publish a book with articles sympathetic to ID. For example, one of Matzke’s Panda’s Thumb followers, statistician Bob O’Hara, reported that “I’ve been in contact with one of the editors at Springer, so they’re now certainly aware of the situation.” Within a day or two, Springer had removed its page for Biological Information: New Perspectives from its website.
Luskin cutely juxtaposes Bob’s comment with the removal of the book announcement, inviting you to read the worst into it. But this isn’t strong enough a rhetorical trick for the political magazine Human Events, which brings us “Powerful Conservative Voices.” So the powerful Robert J. Marks II resorted, apparently, to embellishment in his article of last week, Biological Information: New Perspectives from Intelligent Design:
Despite the intelligent design content, the German publishing company Springer invited the organizers to publish papers from the conference. But, even though no one had yet seen the book, publicity at an atheistic leaning neo-Darwinist blog prompted an anti-ID activist to contact Springer upper management and claim Springer’s publishing of the book would ruin Springer’s reputation in science. So Springer reneged on its contract with the Editors at the last minute.
I now have Bob’s permission not only to invoke his name, but also to reveal how he bullied a senior editor at Springer US on February 27, 2012. (He sent me a copy of his note, three days later.) After identifying the book, he wrote:
This has the potential to be a controversial text (as the editors are all active in pushing Intelligent Design), so I'm wondering why it's being published as an engineering text, rather than biology: it would seem to be a better fit there.
Gee. No threat. No doomsaying. No claim to know anything about what he had not yet seen. I see a flat statement of fact, followed by a gentle suggestion that the book was misclassified. Look back at what Marks wrote, and consider the warped mind that would concoct such propaganda.

Did Springer drop the title because of outside pressure? I doubt it highly. As I explained in my last post, the book deal was shady from the get-go. The most that Bob O’Hara did was to shine light on it. Predictably, the Pharisees focus on the alleged breach of contract instead of their own dubious ethics.

[Edit. I just learned that Marks has deleted an erroneous erratum from the online copy of an article, leaving no indication that one of the two highlighted theorems is severely botched. The kicker is that Marks received, long before submitting the paper to the journal that published it, a clear explanation of the error. His correspondent CC'd me! See “The theorem that never was: Diversionary ‘erratum’ from Dembski and Marks.”]

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