William Dembski’s replacement at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will be Kurt Wise, a creationist paleontologist who currently teaches at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn. Dembski will leave as director of the SBTS Center for Theology and Science at the end of the school year.
Wise, who will also hold the position of professor of science and theology, believes the Earth is actually only a few thousand years old. So the essential message of the SBTS — that Biblical principles are more authoritative than scientific ones — will be unchanged.
Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design, argues that the probabilities of life developing without some external influence were too astronomical to have occurred otherwise. While not a creationist, Dembski shares creationists’ doubts that evolution is a valid scientific explanation for the development of life on Earth.
Wise graduated from the University of Chicago with a geophysics degree, then went on to receive his doctorate in geology from Harvard, where he studied under reknowned biologist and science author Stephen Jay Gould. Despite that training, Wise is a born-again Christian and says he accepts as truth the Biblical account of creation. He interprets the fossil record in light of that belief, saying the Flood in Noah’s time is responsible for the multitude of fossils and extinctions.
Those that disagree with Wise’s interpretation of the geologic and fossil records generally admire his intellect and scientific acumen, so his presence at SBTS may in fact be a slight improvement over Dembski’s posturing.