Here’s an excerpt from Lisa Anderson’s piece today in the Chicago Tribune about ID at Baylor. Notice that Baylor’s main concern in shutting down my Polanyi Center (for the full story, go here) was not the truth of ID but that “it made Baylor look like it could be stereotyped and placed in a particular fundamentalist camp that Baylor didn’t want to be in.” That insightful quote comes from Baylor’s provost.
. . . The initial exposure to modern biology and neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory can be akin to “culture shock,” said Randall O’Brien, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Baylor University, a moderate Baptist General Convention of Texas school in Waco. . .
“If you ask me what do we teach here at Baylor, we’re really as much about interrogation of faith and learning as we are about integration of faith and learning,” O’Brien said. “At Baylor, we believe Jesus came to take away our sins, not our minds.”
Nonetheless, he said, faculty are aware that “sometimes the word evolution is very offensive to people who come from home-schooled situations.”
“My intent is to be honest and truthful and to engage all questions as a person of intellect and a person of faith and not feel that truth is some sabertooth tiger that might jump out of the woods and devour my little, anemic God,” he said. “If truth leads to God, what fear do we have going after it?”
Although intelligent design is not taught at Baylor, O’Brien said, the university had a controversial association with it. In 1999, the Michael Polanyi Center opened at Baylor’s Institute for Faith and Learning, headed by William Dembski, one of the foremost ID proponents and an early fellow of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank and leading advocate for ID. After creating a furor among Baylor faculty, the center was stripped of its name and Dembski was dismissed in October 2000.
“Our scientists felt it made Baylor look like it could be stereotyped and placed in a particular fundamentalist camp that Baylor didn’t want to be in,” O’Brien said. . .
[For the full article, go here.]