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Expelled – and Baylor’s passion for Darwin – 4

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A couple of days ago, I highlighted a recent op-ed in the Waco Tribune celebrating Baylor’s faculty’s cleverness in keeping their affair with Darwin at a discreet distance from lay Baptist donors for decades.

A friend has kindly trolled through Web arcana at Baylor and noted for me the depth of the passion in the Geology department:

Baylor’s Geology department’s FAQS ask, among other things, “What is science?” and  suggest as further reading:

Scott, E.C., 2004, Evolution vs. creationism — an introduction: Berkeley, University of California Press, 272 p., ISBN 0-520-24650-0, noting that Chapter 1, Science: “truth without certainty,” is “particularly relevant.”

Yes, that’s Darwin lobbyist Eugenie Scott of the NCSE. To what is her work so particularly relevant?

I find it interesting that nowhere on the list are authoritative Christian history of science scholars such as Owen Gingerich, John Polkinghorne, or Alister McGrath These guys are not friends of design, but they are rigorous and non-heretical Christian thinkers who have thought carefully about the issues around “What is science?” More to the point, none of these scientist-scholars represents a political lobby.

In their “Does the fossil record support the idea of biological change over time (biological evolution)?” FAQ, the department suggests reading, among others:

Dawkins, R., 1995, River out of eden – a Darwinian view of life: New York, Basic Books, 172 p., ISBN 0-465-01606-5.

Yes, that’s Richard Dawkins. And Simon Conway Morris, a highly respected Christian paleontologist, author of Crucible of Creation and Life’s Solution (and not a design fan either) is inexplicably absent from the list.

This too surprised me. I would expect a Christian university to make a point of encouraging students to read good science theory written by Christians, when applicable, to encourage them to integrate their faith with excellence. As well as the others, of course.

Instead, as I noted in the earlier post, the Biology department has the frosh reading the only genuine lightweight that I am aware of in the entire category, Francis Collins.

Under the circumstances, I am not surprised that Baylor’s Biology department endorses the “American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution:

“Evolution, a foundational principle of modern biology, is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. Because it is fundamental to the understanding of modern biology, the faculty in the Biology Department at Baylor University, Waco, TX, teach evolution throughout the biology curriculum. We are in accordance with the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement on evolution. We are a science department, so we do not teach alternative hypotheses or philosophically deduced theories that cannot be tested rigorously.

I assume, by alternative hypotheses, that they mean hypotheses based on evidence that does not support Darwin’s theory.

As I said earlier, I am hoping that Expelled will foster a constructive debate between the donors and the faculty at Baylor about the direction of the university.

It’s not just that the Baylor faculty don’t buy into intelligent design. The suggested (and non-suggested) reading lists hint at something deeper and more complex than simply rejecting design. What they accept is more of a cause for concern than  what they reject.

Speaking of evidence that does not support Darwin’s theory:

Today at the Design of Life blog

Does the peahen really care about the peacock’s display? Apparently not, and that is bad news for the increasingly convoluted theory of sexual selection.

(Also, just for fun: Lonely British peacock romances a petrol (gas) pump (Times, June 17, 2006) “Ornithologists believe that Mr P is confused by the clicking sounds of the pumps, which resemble the cries of a broody peahen. … His two brothers are also showing signs of confusion when it comes to finding a mate. One appears to have a crush on the family cat, and the other has been seen attempting to mate with a garden light.”)

Does natural selection select new traits for the dog? The evidence of thousands of years show otherwise.

Today at Overwhelming Evidence blog

So many different meanings for “evolution” – no wonder we get confused!

Shock for scientists: First animals complex, not simple

It's about time that Baylor was denounced as a BINO university—Baptist In Name Only! Jonathan Sarfati
D.A.Newton - you don't think it's possible that we might have done? Bob O'H
It’s been a century and a half since the publication of Darwin’s Origin. One would think that, in that amount of time, someone would have bothered to test the theory of sexual selection. After all, if Darwin himself was serious about science, he could have done it without much bother. I can’t imagine physicists or chemists displaying such an incredible lack of empirical curiosity! Pathetic! D.A.Newton
Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. - Shakespeare JPCollado
Chimp anyone? - Machine? - Code? If not, I'll have to say human exceptionalism is alive and kicking. RRE
I just want to see a non-human add concept onto matter in the form of machines or codes. I want them to produce that. Also, The materialist needs to show us that a machine and code can be produced without a mind. Any other causal power(s) of the universe when put to any combination have not yet been shown to produce these-even with chance involved. If not, they have the intellectually inferior theory. RRE
Now all they have to do is reproduce information gain in the lab, and they'll be all set. wnelson

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