Baylor’s Beckwith returns to the Catholic Church

Dr. Francis Beckwith, the Baylor University professor whose writings formed much of the justification for claims that intelligent design could be taught as science in public schools (prior to the Dover decision), announced he is returning to the Catholic Church and resigning as president of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Beckwith explains his faith switch at Right Reason. Contrast comments there with the snarky, uncharitable posts from the “evangelical” side, with Constructive Curmudgeon as an example. If this is the way ID advocates (such as Doug Groothuis) treat someone who merely changes sect, what would they do to someone who became rational on science?

Beckwith’s road at Baylor has not been a smooth one. One wishes him well when brickbats are already flying his direction, for silly reasons.

Educators and scientists, including especially those of faith traditions, may wish he had left the church of intelligent design instead. Perhaps he has, or will, if the attacks from fundamentalists keep up — similar to the way such attacks on Charles Darwin encouraged him to distance himself from the church.

How does this alter the Texas biology textbook fight discussion?

4 Responses to Baylor’s Beckwith returns to the Catholic Church

  1. […] at Baylor, appears to have dropped his campaign to teach philosophy in science classes since he rediscovered that God visits the Pope, and since he moved on to more serious philosophical pursuits and away from his practice of […]


  2. […] Another friend of intelligent design, Dr. Francis Beckwith, a philosopher, was originally denied tenure at Baylor last year. His appeal was successful, however, and he now has tenure at Baylor, though he is moving from the Institute for Church State Relations to the philosophy department. Beckwith also made a splash in conservative evangelical news recently when he made public his return…. […]


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    The Texas State School Board adopts new textbooks every three or four years. The state pays for the textbooks, but districts must pick from a list of “approved” books. The board holds hearings on the texts. Now rather handcuffed by law from making political changes in the texts, the State Board may ask publishers to correct “errors,” so there is a fight over whether it is an “error” to state that evolution occurs, or to cite evidence of natural selection like the moth research of Bernard Kettlewell. The fights are quite arcane, often.

    Last round, in 2003, the Discovery Institute put on a major push in Texas to get the Board to mention intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution, and to meticulously list problems with evolution theory and evidence that the Discovery Institute imagines.

    Dr. Beckwith testified that it’s legal to teach intelligent design in public school science classes, though he later backed off his testimony a bit claiming that he makes no claim that ID is science, which gives him plausible deniability were the school districts to get sued, I suppose. No one on the board heard him say anything other than “it’s legal.”

    We’re coming up on another round of biology textbook approvals.

    Here is an interesting discussion of Beckwith’s claims on ID:


  4. Don Jones says:

    What Texas biology textbook discussion, if you don’t mind me asking?


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