Friday, September 21, 2007

"Thou Shalt Put No Other Gods Before Darwin"

One of the latest (and best) articles about the ongoing flap between academic freedom and Baylor University is Regis Nicoll's brief but punchy,"The Unpardonable Sin in Academia." Here it is:

What do William Dembski, Frank Beckwith, and Dr. Robert J. Marks have in common? All three have been victims of academic suppression at not at Cornell, Stanford or MIT, but at Baylor University—the world’s largest institute of higher learning in the Baptist tradition.

In 2001, Baylor shut down the Michael Polanyi Center and removed Dr. William Dembski as its director because of the center’s focus on ID. Last year, Baylor tried to deny tenure to Frank Beckwith—a scholar who is recognized as a world class philosopher with a prodigious publication record and high teaching marks--for his views on ID. And now the campus thought police has Robert Marks in its crosshairs.

Marks is a Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor who chairs several national and international committees, has authored over 300 technical papers and three books, and has received numerous awards in the field of computational intelligence.

This past June Dr. Marks launched a website on the Baylor server called, “Evolutionary Informatics Lab.” The purpose of the lab was to distinguish “the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.”

Although not an ID site, per se, Evolutionary Informatics was ID-friendly containing quotes by Michael Polanyi and links to publications of ID researchers like William Dembski. That was enough for a group of anonymous complainers to pressure the administration into purging the site from the Baylor system.

In sad irony, the science building where Dr. Marks works bears the words of Paul, "By Him all things are made; in Him all things are held together."

Even sadder is the fact that Baylor, as a Christian-based school, is not alone As Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute explains, "In the academic world, if you question evolution, you come under attack. There's been a pattern of discrimination against ID all over the nation in the past couple years."

It seems that the one commandment enforced by secular and Christian schools alike is: “Thou shalt put no other gods before Darwin.”