In April 2009, my article, “The Non-Epistemology of Intelligent Design: Its Implications for Public Policy,” was published online in a special issue of the journal Synthese (see I examine the epistemological problems of intelligent design creationism and their implications for public policy, chiefly analyzing the writings of philosopher Francis Beckwith. Beckwith argues that teaching ID is not only constitutional but may even be required in American government schools. The special issue, entitled Evolution and Its Rivals, was guest-edited by Glenn Branch, Deputy Director of the National Center for Science Education, and Prof. James Fetzer, a philosopher of science and former Synthese co-editor (1990-1999).
In September 2010, seventeen months after publication, I received an e-mail from the two European editors-in-chief, Johan van Benthem and Vincent Fella Hendricks (the American editor-in-chief, John Symons, was not included). Van Benthem and Hendricks informed me that “through a sequence of events beyond our control,” they had received criticisms of my “tone” and “manner of criticizing Prof. Beckwith.” If I did not make revisions to produce a more “neutral” tone, they would include in the upcoming printed issue “a brief general Editorial in this issue stating Synthese’s policies and standards of debate.”
Asking the editors-in-chief for time to construct a response, I immediately contacted my immediate editor, Glenn Branch, and learned that neither Branch nor Fetzer had been informed of this development, which they protested vigorously. A resolution was reached with the editors-in-chief that, in the understanding of the guest editors, would allow Beckwith to respond in a future issue, but I would not be required to make revisions and no editorial would be placed in the printed version of the special issue. However, not only was Beckwith allowed to write a response that was clearly without peer review (published online), but, when the print issue arrived, the editorial was included, again without my editors’ being informed.
A May 13, 2011, New York Times story revealed that the editors-in-chief were threatened with legal action by parties whom they refuse to name, a fact that they did not reveal to me in their 2010 e-mail. However, the story verified that criticisms of my article came not only from Beckwith but also from Kelly James Clark, an evangelical Christian philosopher at Calvin College, and internationally known Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Plantinga’s alliance with the intelligent design creationist movement dates back to at least 1992 (see Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross, Creationism’s Trojan Horse, 2004).
The editors-in-chief have received a petition that was begun by Brian Leiter and signed by 468 philosophers from around the world (see The petition requests an apology to the guest editors and contributors, a retraction of the editorial, and a disclosure of the source of the legal threats. The editors-in-chief have so far taken no corrective action. They issued only a reiteration of their initial position and a vow to adopt “improved editorial procedures and improved oversight” (see