Academic Freedom Expelled from Baylor University

From Robert Crowther and

“According to CSC senior fellow and leading ID theorist William Dembski, what follows is:

“[A] big story, perhaps the biggest story yet of academic suppression relating to ID. Robert Marks is a world-class expert in the field of evolutionary computing, and yet the Baylor administration, without any consideration of the actual content of Marks’s work at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, decided to shut it down simply because there were anonymous complaints linking the lab to intelligent design.”

Read on if you care at all about academic freedom and protecting the right of scientists to freedom of scientific inquiry.

What a difference a year or two makes. Or not. The ugly specter of academic suppression seems incapable of being dispelled at Baylor University. It first ghosted across the campus a number of years ago when leading ID theorist William Dembksi undertook the task of heading up an intelligent design research program at the Michael Polanyi Research Center. Anti-ID bigots amongst Baylor’s faculty and staff moved quickly and decisively to stifle any such research on their campus, claiming that they were concerned that “people will make us guilty by association and assume that we are associated with or linked to this organization that is very well established as a pseudo-science.” It was clear then that intelligent design was not a subject that could be freely researched, studied, or discussed at Baylor University. Academic freedom be damned.

Fast forward to 2005-06. Academic suppression and anti-science prejudice again surfaced at Baylor, this time in denial of tenure to acclaimed faculty member and scholar Francis Beckwith. ENV reported on Beckwith’s case at that time:

Beckwith has defended the constitutionality of teaching about intelligent design. Note: He has not advocated the wisdom of teaching ID, nor has he taken sides on the ultimate rightness or wrongness of ID. He has only defended the constitutionality of presenting the debate.

The trampling of academic freedom at Baylor did not go unnoticed in the wider world. Indeed, Joseph Bottum of First Things responded with withering scorn:

Baylor has apparently decided to sink back into its diminished role as a not terribly distinguished regional school. President Sloan is gone, the new high-profile faculty are demoralized and sniffing around for positions at better-known schools, energetic programs like the Intelligent Design institute have been chased away, and the bright young professors are having their academic careers ruined by a school that lured them to campus with the promises of the 2012 plan and now is simply embarrassed by them.

Fortunately for Beckwith, the decision was ultimately reversed and he was granted tenure, as he should have been in the beginning. But the writing on the wall was clear for ID proponents: Keep your views to yourself at Baylor or find yourself disgraced. Public pressure notwithstanding, academic freedom was all but absent at Baylor.Unfortunately for Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor, he didn’t keep his views to himself. Perhaps he was still under the misperception that tenured professors and proven researchers could still pursue scientific inquiry without fear of institutional reprisal.”

To read more click here.


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