Thursday, August 14, 2003

God and man at Baylor 

Can a Christian school be true to its roots and be a top-flight academic institution? Marvin Olasky wants to know.
Gaining research awards in the hard sciences and engineering while maintaining a Christian worldview is hard, but not impossible. Darwinian fundamentalism in biology remains a large problem, as proponents of "intelligent design" theory at Baylor itself can attest, but in some scientific areas concepts and products that grow out of research need to prove themselves in measurable ways.

Research in the humanities and social sciences is different. Professors gain prestige for themselves and their universities by presenting papers at meetings of academic trade associations and writing articles for the journals such groups establish. In past years, I've been to the annual conventions of five such groups -- Modern Language Association, American Sociological Association, American Historical Association, American Studies Association and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication -- and can offer Baylor a message from personal observation: You cannot serve both God and academic bigotry.

Along these lines, a look at the schedule of the American Sociological Association's 98th annual meeting (Aug.15-19, 2003) is suggestive. One of the official highlights is a section on "Marxist sociology," but paper and roundtable titles like "Queering Reproduction and Reinforcing Heteronormativity" or "Female Solidarity in the Sex Industry" suggest the radical fixation that is at the heart of much of today's academic sociology.