Posted: Feb 16, 2013 4:01 pm
by Shrunk
Dear Mr. Bentley,

My boss Dr. Stephen C. Meyer at the Discovery Institute is finishing up a book that discusses various attempts to explain the Cambrian Explosion. It is called Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosion of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design.

I am in the process of looking for photos for his book and came across your set detailing a trip to the Burgess Shale. I am writing to see if you are open to giving him permission to use one of your photos, a picture of Emerald Lake and the Burgess Shale landscape....


I’d like to offer you $100 and a complimentary copy of the book in return for permission to use the photo.....

Our deadline for submitting photos and art is this coming Thursday, Feb. 14th. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Andrew McDiarmid
Media Relations Specialist
Assistant to Dr. Stephen Meyer
Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture

The reply:

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for your interest.

I hold the Discovery Institute in the lowest regard, and it sounds like the new book will be a further perversion of reason in the name of pseudoscience. As a science educator, I could never support such an effort! I will not grant reproduction rights to any of my photos or drawings to any creationist effort such as the one you describe here.

Best wishes for your good health, and the speedy demise of the sham institution that employs you.

Callan Bentley

Bentley's blog post goes on to reprint McDiarmid's reponse, which quickly drops the polite and respectful veneer of the initial inquiry. I have to say, my favourite part of of the exchange is the offer of a complementary copy of the book as compensation. If Bentley had felt inclined to allow them to use the photo, he could have replied "But, please, just pay me $50 instead of $100, and keep the book."