Synthese Boycott Status Page

John Symons, one of the editors in Chief, resigns.

Mohan Matthen asks if we are increasingly finding legal intervention in academic publishing.

PD Magnus withdraws a paper from a Synthese special

Boycotting the plaintiffs? Academic Librarian

L’Affaire Synthese: Payback for Barbara Forrest’s Crucial Role in the Dover Case? Leiter

Michael Pearl comments

On the Synthese EICs Leiter

Intelligent Designists exploit the disclaimer

Gabrielle Contessa at It’s Only a Theory suggests ways to break the deadlock

Jason Streitfield suggests this is motivated by legal advice

PD Magnus comments that the EiC’s behaviour is unacceptable and that they may be pushing a corporate line.

A Post-Petition Poll about Synthese Leiter

Synthese: What to do now? Leiter

Synthese: Where Things Stand Leiter

Mark Oppenheimer, in the New York Times covers the story.

Mark Vernon at the Guardian thinks this may cause Synthese to close, which I find very unlikely.

Wesley Elsberry notes that the timing of the rebuttal paper by Francis Beckwith appears to indicate that he knew about the disclaimer before the guest editors or any of the authors did.

Leiter has said that the Editors of Synthese have received the petition and will comment next week [they did, sort of].

Leiter discusses a letter from the Editors in Chief. I also note the comment below by guest editor James Fetzer:


Reviewing the thread, I discovered your question about how we knew it was “friends of Beckwith”. I was given the names of him and two others — one of whom was Dembski, the other far better known — all three of whom are targets of Forrest’s critique. So we knew that those who were lobbying the Editors-in-Chief were among those she was criticizing in her article — hardly the right persons to be offering advice and encouraging a reply and such.

The crucial letter from Hendricks to Forrest has just been posted by Brian Leiter on his blog. In my opinion, this letter — to which I composed and sent a very lengthy, point by point, rebuttal, which I sent to the three Editors-in-Chief and representatives of Springer — is especially striking not only because Glenn and I were not copied but because the third of the three Editors-in-Chief, John Symons, who had accepted the special issue on behalf of SYNTHESE, was not copied either! In my opinion, that was despicable conduct.

A proper petition is now up for online completion and is open for another day. I give the text below:

To: Editors-in-Chief of Synthese
We, as members of the philosophical community, call upon the Editors-in-Chief of Synthese to:

1. Respond forthrightly to the allegations in the ‘open letter’ from Glenn Branch and James Fetzer, the Guest Editors of the special issue on “Evolution and Its Rivals” (their open letter is available here)

2. Apologize to the Guest Editors and the contributors for the unprofessional manner in which this issue, and the insertion of a “disclaimer,” were handled.


3. Retract the “disclaimer” in a subsequent print edition of Synthese.
4. Disclose the nature of complaints and/or legal threats from Francis Beckwith, his supporters, and supporters of Intelligent Design that were received by the Editors-in-Chief after the on-line publication of “Evolution and Its Rivals” last year.


The Undersigned

As of today, I have received quite a number of definite statements of intent to boycott the journal. However, this may be superseded by the petition.

There are also two other petitions, by Eric Schliesser of New APPS.

One petition is to allow Barbara Forrest to respond to the rather histrionic rebuttal by Francis Beckwith (there seems to be some doubt whether Beckwith knew of the disclaimer before anyone else, as this paper is extensive and seems to have arrived fairly rapidly after the online version of Forrest’s paper). It doesn’t look like Beckwith’s paper got much editorial oversight either.

The other is to call on the Editors in Chief to explain in detail the sequence of events that led to the disclaimer.

The editors of Synthese have given some kind of reply*, restating their initial statement but adding no information.

Inside Higher Ed has an article about the matter.

Chronicle of Higher Education has an article.

The following are comments and posts online about it:

Did Synthese bow to Intelligent Design pressure? Evolving Thoughts

Synthese Editors Cave in to Pressure from the Intelligent Design Lobby: Philosophers Should Boycott Synthese Leiter Reports [Update]

Epistemic community and the Synthese boycott Footnotes on Epicycles [PD Magnus]

The Synthese flap – what’s the big deal? The Heretical Philosopher [Neil Rickert]

Synthese Editors in Chief diss their own journal Deep Thoughts and Silliness

The Synthese boycott affair M-Phi

Leiter calls for boycotting Synthese – some discussion please? New APPS [Extensive discussion in comments]

Brian Leiter on boycotting Synthese The Secular Outpost

Synthese Shenanigans The Austringer

The Forrest Controversy Specter of Reason

Philosophers and the Tone Argument Pharyngula

Why I Will Not Boycott Synthese Honest Toil [Response by Wesley Elsberry]

The Synthese Affair It’s Only a Theory

*A Response by the Editors of Synthese New APPS

On the Response from Synthese: Unanswered Questions New APPS

The Synthese Problem Siris

Accusations Certain Doubts [John Turri]

The Non-Response of the Synthese Editors Leiter Report [comments open]

Once You Start Thoughts in a Haystack [On Evolution News and Views, a Discovery Institute blog, falsely claiming this is driven by the National Center for Science Education]

The Synthese Editors-in-Chief Strike Back Austringer [Wesley Elsberry, one of the issue authors]

Branch and Fetzer Reply to the Editors in Chief of Synthese Leiter Report

A Poll about the Synthese Affair Leiter Report

Todd Gitlin on the Synthese Scandal in CHE Leiter Report [contains a comment by Hilary Kornblith] Gitlin’s article

ID Hullabaloo over at Synthese Philosophy@Utah State

“New APPS” and Synthese Comments Austringer

With friends like this who needs enemies? Leiter Report

A Petition to the Editors-in-Chief of Synthese Leiter Report [Announcing the petition mentioned above]

How tone is becoming the new censorship wierd things

A petition focused on the Synthese editors’ disclaimer and Beckwith’s use thereof Leiter Report [highlights a good comment by Ingo Brigandt, and another by Mohan Matthen defending Forrest’s paper, which is good to see] [See also the note by Footnotes on Epicycles]

Epistemic community and the Synthese boycott Footnotes on Epicycles [PD Magus discusses the bind he is in with a paper in process at Synthese]

Synthese Petition Update Leiter Report [As at April 27 2011]

Another Reason to Support the Petition to the Synthese EICs Leiter Report [Beckwith’s reply was accepted without peer review, contrary to Synthese policy]

Synthese, Petition, Boycott Leiter Report

Paper withdrawn from Synthese Evolving Thoughts

The Letter 2 of the 3 Synthese Editors-in-Chief Sent to Barbara Forrest After Being Lobbied by Beckwith and the Intelligent Design Crowd Leiter Report
Questions, Francis Beckwith, and a Tangible Absence of Answers Austringer

Comments may be made in the Open Thread

2 thoughts on “Synthese Boycott Status Page

  1. At this point your only avenue to results is total boycott.
    Retraction/apology is worthless as I am sure you know.
    Total boycott to put the mag out of business.
    But then too, Synthese may be funded by ID folks and a boycott would be of no value.


  2. joed, every one of your statements is entirely absurd … I think the word “trolling” fits them perfectly. No one sensible wants to put Synthese out of business.


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