The philosopher and chemist Michael Polanyi came up in a recent conversation I had with some colleagues, so I though I’d repost the following from last December …
In 1999, Dembski established the Michael Polanyi Center – an ID institute – at Baylor University. As this article notes, Dembski appropriated Polanyi‘s name, contrary to the wishes of his literary executor and son, Nobel Laureate John Polanyi, in an attempt to associate Polanyi with a cause he clearly would not have shared. Richard Gelwick, the articles author, should know. He is the author of The Way of Discovery: an Introduction to the Thought of Michael Polanyi (1977) and Michael Polanyi: Credere Aude: His Theory of Knowledge and Its Implications for Christian Theology (1965), having studied personally with Polanyi, prepared the first bibliography of Polanyi’s social and philosophical writings, published The Collected Articles and Papers of Michael Polanyi (1963), wrote the first doctoral dissertation on Michael Polanyi’s work, and served as coordinator and editor for The Polanyi Society from 1978-99. Who do you think has more right to claim what Polanyi would have thought about ID? Dembski or Gelwick? Obviously, Gelwick, and Dembski seems to have know that. As the essay notes:
As a scholarly society, the Polanyi Society had asked William Dembski and Bruce Gordon, associate director of the Baylor center, to come to their annual meeting as far back as 1999, but they have never attended. In 2003, Dembski was invited to give a paper at the Polanyi Society meeting in conjunction with the meetings of the American Academy of Religion. Dembski at first accepted the invitation, and a program was planned that would include several respondents to his paper. Later Dembski withdrew, but the program on ?Michael Polanyi’s Understanding of Teleology? was held with three Society members presenting their views.
The consensus of the three speakers was that Polanyi’s teleology would not support the ?intelligent design? thesis. Their papers are now published in the March 2005 issue of Zygon, Journal of Science and Religion. The abstracts of these papers show each author’s independent basis for seeing Polanyi’s thought as incompatible with ?intelligent design theory.?
As if any more evidence were needed that Dembski just appropriates names and ideas to suit his purpose and is afraid to be faced with criticism from those who may differ from him.
Some may remember that upon the decision to rename the Center, Dembski yelped:
My work on intelligent design will continue unabated. Dogmatic opponents of design who demanded the Center be shut down have met their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression. [Oct 18 2000]
Five years later, we are still waiting for Waterloo. Unfortunately, Dembski is still yelping.