Who is Against Politeness and Respect?
Who could take offense at this?
We believe that vigorous debate is clearly of the essence in intellectual communities, and that even strong disagreements can be an engine of progress. However, tone and prose should follow the usual academic standards of politeness and respect in phrasing. We recognize that these are not consistently met in this particular issue. These standards, especially toward people we deeply disagree with, are a common benefit to us all. We regret any deviation from our usual standards.
For the answer, check out this post, from the Evo News blog:
What Can We Learn From the Behavior of the Darwin Lobby
We can learn some things from this episode about NCSE / Darwin lobby behavior.
First, we now know that Branch and the NCSE would take issue with those who publish statements that uphold "the usual academic standards of politeness and respect."
Second, we can see the intolerant mindset of folks like Wilkins, who feel that if Synthese publishes a statement upholding civility, as well as one paper that critiques Barbara Forrest, then means they "bow to intelligent design pressure." This is incredible: Beckwith's piece wasn't even arguing for ID--it was simply responding to Forrest's fallacious attacks on him and the ID movement. But Wilkins' post shows how intolerant Darwin lobbyists are of ID proponents in the academy.
Third, we see that the NCSE / Darwin lobby feel they must enforce a rule where the academic orthodoxy doesn't critique their own kind when it comes to evolution. The NCSE / Darwin lobby is so intolerant of criticism from their own kind that they are blacklisting people or groups who disagree with their methods. When that happens, they go after people personally.