Re: [asa] Francis Beckwith on Dembski and Baylor

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Thu Sep 11 2008 - 15:46:22 EDT

As I thought about this , I think this supports a change in both Dembski and much of the ID movement, so that it became less open and more strident, with an emphasis whoever is not 110% for us is against us. All dating from late 2000. After that ID often became political eg in Ohio and later Kansas and of course Icons of Evolution.

Sceptical supporters were not required and thus later "hybrids" between TE and ID like you and Ted were thrown off UCD. This type of thing prevents constructive discussion. To develop one's own understanding properly one needs a freedom to explore and unfortunately one can only do that outside YEC and ID. This means one can discuss affably with the likes of the late Arthur Peacocke with his very liberal process theology (he always thought I was too biblicist) and his warmth and friendliness also gave a recommendation for his beliefs.

Those who know me will know I was opposed to ID in the late 90s publishing a critical review of the black box in Science and Christian Belief, and then warmed to ID in 2000, only to find the door closing again

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: ASA
  Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 6:23 PM
  Subject: [asa] Francis Beckwith on Dembski and Baylor

  The current issue of the Journal of Law & Religion (the preeminent specialty legal journal in this field) contains a book review of Ronald Numbers' "The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design." The book is a new edition of Numbers' classic "The Creationists," which now includes chapters on the ID movement. The book review is particularly interesting because it is written by Francis Beckwith, a professor at Baylor University, who was President of the Evangelical Theological Society before converting to Roman Catholicism.

  Beckwith gently criticizes Numbers' account of William Dembski's "Polanyi Center" at Baylor as being too soft on Dembski. According to Beckwith, Baylor was prepared to keep the center open but to remove Polanyi from the name. Beckwith says Dembski then issued a press release stating that "Dogmatic opponents of design who demanded the Center be shut down have met their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression." Beckwith concludes that
    "[i]nstead of offering an olive branch and conciliatory tone at the moment of vicotry, Dembski angered many faculty members and embarrassed his benefactors and supporters at Baylor. Nevertheless, the administration gave Dembski a chance to extricate himself from his imprudent epistle. He was asked to offer a public apology. He refused. It was a that point that the university dismissed Demski as MPC director. In short, Dembski snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory." (JLR Vol. XXIII, p. 738).
  This is quite interesting coming from a figure such as Beckwith, and is particularly interesting to me as further context for how the movement has developed. Is there more of a history between Beckwith and Dembski than is evident here?

  David W. Opderbeck
  Associate Professor of Law
  Seton Hall University Law School
  Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Sep 11 16:50:43 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Sep 11 2008 - 16:50:44 EDT