Baylor ousts think tank leader, advocate of 'intelligent design'

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2000

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Baylor University has fired the head of a think tank who is a noted advocate of the ''intelligent design'' theory, which says scientific evidence shows that nature is so complex it must result from a higher power.

Controversy flared at the historically Baptist school last April when the faculty senate asked Baylor to shut the Michael Polanyi Center directed by William A. Dembski because it legitimized creationism. Baylor asked scholars from other campuses to investigate. Their report affirmed the center's academic work but called for a faculty advisory committee.

Dembski then praised Baylor for resisting ''intolerant assaults on freedom of thought'' from ''dogmatic opponents of design.''

University officials asked him to recant his remarks. When he refused, he was removed by university President Robert Sloan. A spokesman said Dembski had ''compromised his ability to serve'' and lacked a ''collegial'' manner.

Dembski, an Eastern Orthodox layman with doctorates from both the University of Chicago in mathematics and the University of Illinois in philosophy, remains an associate professor at Baylor's Institute for Faith and Learning.

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