Via New APPS, we learn that the editors in chief of Synthese have responded to Leiter's (it was the one Leiter created, right? There were so many...) petition. The response can be found here. It is not at all illuminating.
In the same New APPS post, we learn that Beckwith has also posted the response, and that the New York Times ran a story yesterday.
The way I look at it, there are a bunch of things that are pretty weird about this whole disclaimer thing. One of them is that the disclaimer is attached to material that they, the editors in chief themselves, accepted for publication. This strikes me as highly peculiar. Another is that they accepted the Forrest paper (in particular) for publication, sent it to the typesetter, published it, and then asked Forrest (in particular) to revise the paper. This seems to me to be a highly irregular order of operations. Another is that they attached the disclaimer even though they assured the guest editors more than just once that they were not going to attach any disclaimer.
One thing that the letter does clear up is the issue of the existence and nature of legal threats that may have led to the issuance of the disclaimer. The editors insist that there were no legal threats. So that's helpful. They then go on to say that they did receive messages that were not legal threats but which the editors take as seriously as legal threats. These messages did not come from Christian philosophers, though. And these challenges constrain them from answering questions on the blogs.
I don't know about you, but that seems cryptic to me. It does not seem forthright.
Another thing it clears up is where the idea for Beckwith to respond came from: Beckwith. But that's no mystery. What would be interesting to hear about is where the idea for a disclaimer came from, but on that there is no word.
They also indicate that there were problems with the language of two papers, but not which two. They indicate that they corresponded with Forrest but there is no indication that they corresponded with a second author.
Finally, the weirdest thing is where they explain that they "were unable to properly communicate later stages of [their] decision-making process to the guest-editors." They say that were pretty good about communicating the early stages of their decision making with the guest editors, but not so much with the later stages. Of course, the early stages were where they were disinclined to issue the disclaimer, and (to hear the guest editors tell it) the communications about the early stages seem to have been disguised as a communication of a final decision, and the later stages were where they changed their minds and decided to issue the disclaimer.
On its face, I have no idea what they could possibly mean here. When you say 'unable,' that makes it sound like you lack the ability to do something. If you had the ability but failed to exercise it, you say you failed, not that you were unable. But then they say that what they were unable to do was to properly communicate with the guest editors. The use of 'properly' there makes it seem like they think there was something improper about the way they didn't communicate with the guest editors. But if that's right, they should apologize for having done something improper--especially since this is a response to a petition that calls on them to apologize for exactly that. And now I feel like I'm parsing the sentence entirely too carefully. So I'm not at all sure what to make of it.
And there's no indication of why they changed their minds and decided to issue the disclaimer or anything, either.