Monday, February 12, 2007

How Do Creationists Earn Legitimate Phds?

A front page article in the New York Times this morning caught my eye. Titled "Believing in Scripture but Playing by Science's Rules", the article is about Dr. Marcus Ross, who's 197-page dissertation was about the distribution of mosasaurs 65 million years ago. "So what?" you might ask. Dr. Ross is a young-earth creationist who believes the Bible is the literal word of God and the world was made 6,000 years ago.

This is intellectual dishonesty in the extreme. He basically lied his way through his doctorate to gain a legitimate PhD and obviously didn't care enough about his own work to accept his findings. He was simply pretending. The real clincher is where he works now: Liberty University, the ultra-conservative school founded by Jerry Falwell, which teaches young-earth creationism as actual science.

In Ross' defense, the New York Times reports:

For him, Dr. Ross said, the methods and theories of paleontology are one “paradigm” for studying the past, and Scripture is another. In the paleontological paradigm, he said, the dates in his dissertation are entirely appropriate. The fact that as a young earth creationist he has a different view just means, he said, “that I am separating the different paradigms.”

I don't buy it. I seriously doubt a person can find a way to agree with two completely opposed views.

This is just my speculation here, but Creationists are desperate to legitimize their views. A major way to do this is to gain more PhDs who agree with them. Is this what Ross has done? Perhaps.

Now, Creationists might defend Ross by saying he never would have earned his PhD without faking it because of the scientific community's dogma against new ideas.

That sounds nice, but it's bullshit. Evolution is accepted because the theory is derived from observation of the natural world. Creationism is not accepted because it is a mythological story that looks for evidence to prove it. The scientific one came from connecting the dots, the theological one already has the lines and tries to find the dots. It's the opposite of science.

The most upsetting part for me is that Ross went through all the work it takes to become a PhD by pretending to be someone he's not. It's deceitful and dishonest and should instantly discredit him in the scientific community. Furthermore, while he was a greaduate student, he appeared in a DVD endorsing intelligent design, so we already know where he stands.

In my opinion, he should stop pretending to be someone he's not and actually stand for what he believes in, no matter what it is. I'd respect him more since what he's doing now is simply dishonst.


healtheland said...

Sir, this may come as a shock to you, but Christians (and Jews and Muslims who also believe in creation but funny how no one is trying to keep THEM out of graduate school based on THEIR beliefs, hmmm!) who adhere to creation have been earning advanced degrees in physics, paleontology, and other disciplines that have required them to "compartmentalize" their beliefs and their studies for decades. As a matter of fact, many Christians believe in creation but teach evolution in public school and in college! So, this is nothing new.

What is new is radical atheists advancing the notion that a person who holds certain religious beliefs cannot and should not be educated, and hence such a person either should not be allowed to pursue an education or should "do the honorable thing" and not seek one. It is hilarious how so many are completely ignoring the perfectly RATIONAL stance of this fellow: if a Marxist can earn an economics degree at Milton Friedman's University of Chicago, then certainly a Christian can earn a paleontology degree.

And another thing still: atheists and similar earn degrees in theology, divinity, religion, etc. for the sole purpose of using what they learn to undermine and attack religion. Happens all the time. Anything wrong with that? Should they be prevented from doing so? Or should they openly declare their disbelief and hostility to the subject matter on every test and assignment, thereby ensuring that they will not successfully complete the program or perhaps even get admitted, to "earn your respect?" Or is your respect and integrity standard different for Christians?

Lord J-Bar said...

That's not my point. My point is that Dr. Ross pursued research he does not believe in. My point is that he eraned a PhD by pretending to be someone he is not. Why write a dissertation on something you believe to be false?

It would be like me becoming a Catholic priest.

Lord J-Bar said...

Additionally, if a Jewish or Muslim who was a young-Earth Creationist tried to do the same thing, my criticism for them would be the same as that for Dr. Ross.

Plus, if you're going to make claims that Jewish and Muslim young-earth Creationists are earning geoscience PhDs with dissertaions antithetical to their views, then you'd better back it up with evidence.

Plus, I seriously doubt atheists earn PhDs in theology (again, evidence would be nice), but the same critcism would apply to them if they try to write dissertaions supporting their opposite opinions. What I'm asking for is intellectual honesty.

Now if Dr. Ross is able to completely compartmentalize these two views and produce legitimate scientific research, then I will stand corrected.