Not the economic marketplace, but the intellectual one. Seems there are professors from several departments at Southern Methodist University who don’t want any competition:

Science professors at Southern Methodist University have written letters of protest to school officials to complain about a coming conference about intelligent design.

Members of the school’s anthropology department demanded the school shut down the “Darwin vs. Design” conference, co-sponsored by the SMU law school’s Christian Legal Society. The conference will argue that a higher power is the best explanation for aspects of life and the universe.

Anthropology is usually classified as a social science, and calling its practitioners “science professors” is stretching the definition. Whatever.

“These are conferences of and for believers and their sympathetic recruits,” a letter from the anthropology department said. “They have no place on an academic campus with their polemics hidden behind a deceptive mask.”

I’m not sure who the letter is referring to when it mentions “believers.” Are the professors suggesting that Christians, and those who look at the world from a Christian perspective, “have no place on an academic campus”? Are they suggesting that intelligent design, put forward by scholars credentialed in their academic fields, is unworthy of discussion at colleges? And are they really, seriously suggesting that “polemics” have no place in the ivory tower? Have they ever read any academic journals?

The biology and geology departments sent similar letters.

The university does not endorse the event but won’t cancel it, interim provost Tom Tunks said last Friday.

“Although SMU makes its facilities available as a community service, and in support of the free marketplace of ideas, providing facilities for those programs does not imply SMU’s endorsement of the presenters’ views,” a statement from the school said.

Ah, yes, the “free marketplace of ideas,” a concept increasingly opposed in America’s universities by those who don’t believe in free markets of any kind, but especially not of ideas, which can be dangerous to the ruling, unchallengable orthodoxies of the academic elite. Good for the provost. SMU doesn’t have to endorse everything that is said on its campus to allow it to be said. Even anthopology, biology, and geology professors should be allowed to express their opinions, as long as they don’t shut down others. Oh, wait…

SMU professors say the “Darwin vs. Design” conference could send a message that scientists at the school support intelligent design as an explanation for how life forms evolved.

“This is propaganda,” said John Ubelaker, former chairman of the chemistry department. “Using the campus for propaganda does not fit into anybody’s scheme of intellectual discussion.”

Yeah, it’s a good thing that nothing else propagandistic gets spewed into the atmosphere at schools such as SMU. For instance, no one would ever dream of refusing a treasure trove of information about world and national events such as a presidential library simply because they disagreed with the politics of the president in question, would they? Fact is, opposition to a “Darwin vs. Design” conference is simply academic cowardice. If the profs at SMU are so certain that intelligent design is bogus, why don’t they just show up and refute it?