Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Fumbling on the Goal Line
The death-knell of Intelligent Design may have rung. The college football crowd is beginning to take notice that getting involved with ID can be bad for a school's gridiron record.
And what is the cause of this ... uh ... fall from grace?Once upon a time, the name Baylor conjured images of a giant slayer in the Southwest Conference. In the late 70s and early 80s, Bears All-American Mike Singletary, tenacious on the field and a scholar off it, was the exemplar of all that was good about college football.
Nowadays you mention Baylor and you're more likely to get a blank stare or a reference to Charles Darwin rolling over in his grave.
Indeed, on the gridiron, the Bears of the last decade could have used a heavy infusion of intelligent design. They’ve gone 10 straight seasons without a winning record. Last year’s 5-6 showing marked the first time in eight campaigns they won more than three games.
It started with the school’s creation of an Intelligent Design research center in 1999 and ended with what has been described as a pitched battle between moderate and fundamentalist Christians for the soul of the university. In the process, wrote a national magazine, "one university president fell, the theory of Intelligent Design was wedged into the curriculum and then railroaded out, the faculty went to the mat to defend its academic freedom policy, alumni groups splintered, and headlines screamed blow-by-blow accounts."
That does it! There are many things that a university in the United States can stand but angry alumni disappointed on Homecoming Day isn't one of them. And how the college football programs go, so go all those high schools in Texas and Indiana and all the other Red States every fall Friday night.Ironically, Baylor’s public relations woes and internal identity crisis can be traced to the city where the Bears will be playing Washington State’s Cougars this Saturday: Seattle.
The notion of refashioning creationism into "intelligent design," and then pushing it as legitimate science rather than philosophy or faith, was hatched at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. And Baylor came to Seattle to find a director for its now-defunct Intelligent Design research center.