A number of philosophers, some of whom forwarded it to me, received the following e-mail from "Synthese boycotts stop" (not kidding, that was the name):
Dear colleagues and friends,
Brian Leiter has publicly requested that the philosophic journal Synthese be Boycotted. The request was motivated by Synthese’s preface of the latest special edition on Intelligent Design. In the preface the Editors in Chief explain to the reader that “we [Synthese EIC] judged that several articles included in the special issue contained language that is unacceptable: neutral readers of the issue will find no difficulty in identifying such passages.” (Synthese EICs response to Leiter's accusations)
The complain comes from the invited editors Branch and Fetzer who are claiming that the preface lacks of editorial professionalism and indirectly blames them for the lack of neutrality in the edition.
In any event the preface warns the Synthese reader that the journal's style of unbiased standards has deviated from its antics given the nature of the topic. Leaving thus up to the reader to recognize when there might be non-neutral argument. It is such the quality of the editorial work that the preface foresees any possible complains with regards to the selection of articles included in the special edition. Nonetheless the complaints are being made with regards to the misconception of "neutrality". Editor in Chief, John Symons has replied to the complaint that:
"Regular readers of the journal will find many instances of intemperate language and ad hominem in this issue which we regret and for which we take full responsibility. We are in no way shifting this responsibility to the guest editors. We failed to prevent this language going into print and because of this failure we felt the obligation to write this preface and to acknowledge that we compromised the standards of the journal."
Thus leaving the offence complaint without basis.
A further complaint has been made, accusing Synthese EICs of having "caved in to the major enemies of science education in the United States, the Creationist/Intelligent Design lobby" supports Brian Leiter in his blog. John Symons replies that "To be clear, the editors in chief of Synthese in no way "caved to the ID lobby" or to threats of lawsuits" in the response to Synthese’s unanswered questions.
I ask of you to reply to this email with your name and valid email in order to support Synthese against the boycott. Another way in which you could help Synthese was by voting in Leiter’s poll @ http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2011/04/a-poll-about-the-synthese-affair.html but he closed the poll within an hr [sic] after initial post. Different boycotts have been proposed throughout blogs ranging from banning Synthese from university libraries to requesting its cancelation. None of these measures are fair judgments of the special edition's nature.
Thank you for your time and attention.
As one philosopher wrote to me: "The authors clearly rushed it into print. I hope their standards for what they put in their journal are higher."
Joking aside, I have no idea whether anyone connected to the journal is connected to this odd e-mail. Of course, I myself noted Professor Symons's denial of undue influence, and indicated some reasons to be skeptical of it. As I wrote to "Synthese boycotts stop":
Various folks sent me your e-mail, with its various inaccuracies (and its awkward English—you should get a native speaker to help you with the public version, should you go forward with this). FYI, the poll was open for over three hours, and while the majority of respondents (75%) thought the Synthese editors had mishandled this issue, only about half of them supported a boycott. As you may know, I posted John Symons’s denial of improper influence from the ID crowd, though it is somewhat unconvincing in my view.
The philosophical community will form its own opinion about this entire matter based on information made available here and elsewhere. I myself still think that the overwhelming weight of evidence indicates editorial misconduct along several dimensions and still warrants a boycott.