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The New York Times examines the noteworthy case of a young-earth creationist being awarded a PhD in geosciences from the University of Rhode Island. (Noteworthy, sadly, because of the current domination evolutionary science has in doctoral programs.) Dr. Marcus Ross, reportedly a young-earth creationist who believes the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, completed his doctoral degree with the submission of a 197-page dissertation on the end of the mosasaurs (a marine reptile that supposedly died out some 65 million years ago in evolutionary history).
As expected, a minor firestorm erupted over whether or not universities should grant PhDs to creationists. Although David Fastovsky and Jon Boothroyd, professors at the University of Rhode Island, defend Dr. Ross’s dissertation and graduate work, the Times article quotes Michael L. Dini, professor of biology education at Texas Tech University, who vaguely states that graduate programs in science “ought to make certain the people they are conferring advanced degrees on understand the philosophy of science and are indeed philosophers of science.”
The article also references two scientists affiliated with Answers in Genesis who have experience in the world of secular education: Dr. John Baumgardner and Dr. Kurt Wise. The work of Drs. Baumgardner and Wise, in addition to furthering understanding of such topics as Noah’s Flood, plate tectonics, and paleontology from a biblical perspective, is an indication that creationists are not simply uneducated about or misunderstanding evolutionary theory.
As for Ross, the Times article explains that:
For him . . . 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.”
Ross, who currently teaches earth science at Liberty University in Virginia, clarifies that he “was working within a particular paradigm of earth history. I accepted that philosophy of science for the purpose of working with the people [at the university],” and claims he was not intellectually dishonest because he did not imply or deny endorsement of the dates in his dissertation.
Of course, one wonders if any secular university would award a PhD in the sciences if the candidate did not, at least, tacitly work in the evolutionary paradigm. In fact, this furthers the circular logic often employed by evolution’s proponents: no “real” scientists support creation … because the minute a scientist expresses any doubt in evolution, he or she is no longer classified as a “real” scientist!
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