An individual with the screen name Healtheland recently left a criticism to my post concerning Dr. Marcus Ross. I'd like to use it to elaborate further on the matter. The criticism starts with:
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.
Healtheland's first mistake is to assume that I'm talking about all Christians. That couldn't be farhter from the truth. I'm simply talking about the minority of theists that reject modern science and its conventions in favor of Bible-friendly Creationism, which Dr. Ross reportedly does. The same critcism would apply to Jewish and Muslim Young-Earth Creationists. However, Healtheland left no evidence (names, links, etc.) to verify his or her claim that there are such individuals out there. As for Creationists who teach evolution in public schools and colleges...well public is the key word. It's unconstitutional to teach Creationism in a public school science class, so these Creationists have no choice. It's different from someone seeking a PhD where they should have to endorse what they study.
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.
Once again, I am not talking about Christians in general. Just ones who try to distort science for their own theological ends. As for a Marxist earning an economics degree, Marxism is not antithetical to economics in general, only free market capitalism. Economics themselves remain valid to both systems.
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?
Once again, we have no evidence to back up an assertion, but if an atheist writes a dissertation antithetical to his beliefs in order to earn a PhD with the goal of undermining a religion, then
he is just as wrong as Dr. Ross. The only way evolution could be seriously overthrown is from within science itself by following the conventions of science. It happens all the time. Just look at the Big Bang Theory. Before, the accepted idea was that the universe was eternal. However, scientists using the scientific method successfully proved that the universe did have a beginning.
If Dr. Ross really disagrees with evolution, then he has to find scientific reasons to support it. This should have been his dissertation instead of writing something he sees no use in beyond a means to an end. He could have brought up legitimate questions about the theory of evolution and done research to back it up. It would have been intellectually honest. Is this what he did? No. He wrote a paper that goes completely against his beliefs, and then once he had his PhD, he scurried away to a Creation-friendly institute (Liberty University) that engages in propaganda instead of real science.
This is not an attack against Christians. This is a criticism of Dr. Ross. His actions and his methods seem suspect because he did not even try to support his own "theories." It seems clear he knows that Creationism is not real science, so he needed to go through the motions to obtain his ultimate goal. What is his goal? Beyond earning a legitimate PhD, hard to say. Now, if he starts to produce legitimate research that follows the conventions of science, then I will stand corrected. Until then, I won't hold my breath.