Doug Axe's Position at Biola

Axe only gained this chair in August 2019. How has the situation changed since then?

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I think so.

That does not answer my question of how the situation has changed in that short time.

Given that the chair is in Molecular Biology, and …

  1. Axe has no formal training in that field (all his degrees are in Chemistry) and

  2. he appears to have no record of recent or extensive mainstream publication in that field (his Biola Bio lists only publications in his own Bio-Complexity journal)

… I have to wonder if he’s even qualified for the position. @Mercer, @Rumraket, would you like to venture an opinion?

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Could you clarify what you are saying here? Why did they not have many options for a $2.5 million endowed chair? How has the situation changed?

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Yes, I’m rather curious about this, too. If my CCCU University created an endowed chair and forced me to accept Axe in that position, I may not walk out immediately (hey, I need a job!) but I would certainly be looking for a new position.

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#1 is irrelevant, as field/department boundaries have been fluid-to-nonexistent for decades.
#2, OTOH, is. The idea of a department chair with only 3 publications since his/her independence is ludicrous for any institution claiming to have active research.

Now that Axe has all of this money, though, he could use a tiny bit of it on this kit:

https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/product/sigma/mak221?lang=en&region=US

[$7/assay is very cheap!]

…and actually measure beta-lactamase activities for his 2004 mutants.

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Well, their belief statement requires affirmation of the de novo creation of Adam and Eve. At that time, this required rejecting evolutionary science. They also are not YEC, but OEC. So the pool of biologists that could even be hired was exceedingly small.

Now it is more widely known that the de novo creation of Adam and Eve can be consistent with evolution. So that substantially widens their pool.

The bigger question they face as an institution is whether or not they require scientists they hire to sign on to ID. If so, they need to be upfront and transparent about this. That sort of belief test would also raise questions about academic freedom.

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Does Biola claim to have active research? As I understand it, they are solidly a teaching institution.

All the same, his publication record is exceedingly poor unless you give weight to his public books, which I am sure that Biola does. Unbelievable was a successful book, even if we disagree with its scientific content, and that counts for a lot at Biola.

That rather supports my suspicion of Biola: that celebrity counts more than academic chops.

It would be like Francis Collins getting an academic appointment purely on the strength of The Language of God, or Jerry Coyne purely on the strength of Why Evolution is True. Even if “we [agree] with its scientific content”, I would not think that such pop-science publications, even if “successful”, would merit a chaired professorship.

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I don’t know if they do. That is the reason why I carefully qualified my statement.

That they felt compelled to hire a creationist only confirms my grouping BIOLA and Liberty together in my original comment (which is not part of this sub-thread). It is insignificant whether they hired an OEC or YEC.

If GAE encourages such institutions to hire evolutionary creationists instead of evolution-denying creationists, that would be a big feather in your hat. We’ll see.

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I don’t feel comfortable attempting to judge what Axe is or isn’t qualified to do. He definitely has more formal education than me.

Is he just lying for dollars? Or he could be extremely confused and biased? Or extremely good at compartmentalizing knowledge so contradictory facts don’t make contact because they’re disconnected by lengthy chains of reasoning that obscures their de facto incompatibility? I don’t know which, if any, of the above is the case. Of course we can all guess and speculate but I’ll leave that aside.

It is entirely possible Douglas Axe is an excellent biochemist as long as someone doesn’t pay him to speak on something that has to do with things he considers a threat to his religion. Him being wrong about evolution doesn’t mean he’s wrong about everything else related to biochemistry.

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Almost certainly there would not be hires of evolutionary creationists at Biola, as that would be anathema. The BioLogos approach is incompatible with their core commitments.

But they might hire Christians that affirm evolutionary science (CASE). As it is, they already have WLC on staff, and his book comes out this September. With that, more like him might come out of the woodwork or be hired.

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Which could happen at a teaching institution, except neither of those two are in the market for a position at a teaching institution.

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