University has made tremendous strides in the past several years in
working toward the vision of “Baylor 2012”. In the beginning of the
first “Imperative” of Baylor 2012, a vision of critical thinking is
“Baylor will seek to maintain a culture
that fosters a conversation about great ideas and the issues that
confront humanity and how a Christian world-view interprets and affects
While Baylor has made progress towards many
2012 goals, it just took a giant leap backward on this keystone
concept, which has academic freedom for students and faculty as its
Baylor has literally censored a
“distinguished instructor” who has been conducting computational
studies of what Darwinian evolution can and cannot accomplish.
His website was hosted on Baylor servers (as professors are permitted
to use). However, some still mysterious (and anonymous) person or
persons objected to the content of his website.
administration literally took one of his web pages down. This was
in direct violation of an agreement hammered out just days before that
included his changing the title of the material and putting an
agreed-upon disclaimer on the site stating that it represented
Professor Marks’ views only and not those of all of Baylor.
Academic censorship, not based on poor scholarship or bad data—but
purely and simply based on a disagreement of the conclusions. The
conclusions were not deemed to be particularly favorable to the notion
that Darwin was right and no intelligence was required in the creation
of the world and everything in it.
A Baylor spokesman
said that taking the page down has nothing to do with content and
everything to do with rules relating to Baylor’s official endorsement
of ideas. Right. Just like shutting down Dr. William
Dembski and the Michael Polanyi Research Center wasn’t about
content. Just like initially denying tenure to scholar Dr.
Francis Beckwith wasn’t about his views. (Thankfully, Dr.
Beckwith later received tenure after appeal). That Baylor would
be so un-bold as to cower to those who advocate a secular society must
give its supporters pause.
One would think that
scholarship consistent with the beliefs of the vast majority of both
Americans in general and Baptists in particular would be something
Baylor would cultivate, not censor. Christians are called to be salt,
Is Baylor Consistent?
geology department’s statement on evolution is instructive. It
includes numerous pages, several in direct conflict with clear teaching
of most Baylor parents’ and students’ beliefs.
listed as “suggested reading” include Stephen J. Gould (the most vocal
atheist in America until his death), Richard Dawkins (the most vocal
living atheist on the planet who openly mocks all religion and whose
“weasel” computer program is a joke compared to Professor Marks’ work),
and Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science
Education, a so-called think-tank devoted (and partially publicly
funded) to promoting evolution and discrediting non-evolutionary
beliefs. Curiously, the pages on the geology site end with the
“The information on this page was written and approved by the faculty of the Geology Department at Baylor University. “
“conversation”. If the beginning of the Baylor 2012 vision is to
be attained, and the Christian mission preserved, it is imperative that
Baylor stand up to the pressure of the Darwinists and insist that
Baylor professors and students have the academic freedom to express
their views, even if in the minority. (What new idea isn’t
in the minority?) What restrictions are next, (after censoring
web sites, of course)? Professor Marks, Baylor students and
faculty, and yes, Baptists, deserve better.