Do creationists “need remediation” in science?

Prominent evolution proponent advocates discrimination against creationists in graduate programs.

by Dr. David A. DeWitt
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Evolutionist Eugenie Scott doesn’t think much of creationists, no matter what level of education they’ve attained.

In a recent New York Times article (dated February 12, 2007), Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) was quoted as saying:

But Dr. Scott, a former professor of physical anthropology at the University of Colorado, said in an interview that graduate admissions committees were entitled to consider the difficulties that would arise from admitting a doctoral candidate with views “so at variance with what we consider standard science.” She said such students “would require so much remedial instruction it would not be worth my time.”

That is not religious discrimination, she added, it is discrimination “on the basis of science.”

This suggestion that creationists would require remedial instruction is quite ironic and out of place considering the thrust of the New York Times article. The article is about Marcus Ross, a paleontologist who recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island in geosciences. Dr. Ross’s advisor said that his work was “impeccable” while another one of his professors said, “he does good science, great science.” Although Dr. Ross is a young earth creationist, those faculty members most familiar with him and his work are quite complimentary.

Also discussed in the article are Drs. Kurt Wise and John Baumgardner—both prominent scientists in their field and young earth creationists. (Besides these, there are numerous other credentialed scientists who hold to biblical creation. The suggestion that individuals need remediation in science simply because of their religious beliefs is an unfounded stereotype that is clearly refuted by outstanding scientists such as these.

Unfortunately, in spite of the evidence that young earth creationists can do excellent science, they are still marginalized and discriminated against. Currently, the Association of Christian Schools International and other plaintiffs are involved in a court case against the University of California System. The U.C. system is allegedly discriminating against students who have used textbooks that promote the Bible and creation. All of this with no evidence that the textbooks are factually deficient or that the students are academically unqualified. It appears that they are disqualified only on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Such bias and mistreatment for religious views has happened to Dr. Richard Sternberg. Despite having two PhDs in evolutionary biology, he was harassed and encouraged to resign from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History because, as an editor, he allowed the publication of an article that was favorable to intelligent design. A recently released congressional investigative report described “compelling evidence that Dr. Sternberg’s civil and constitutional rights were violated by Smithsonian officials.” In addition, it was noted that “Given the attitudes expressed in these emails, scientists who are known to be skeptical of Darwinian theory, whatever their qualifications or research record, cannot expect to receive equal treatment or consideration by NMNH officials.”

Also in the report was the finding that “NMNH officials conspired with a special interest group on government time and using government emails to publicly smear Dr. Sternberg; the group was also enlisted to monitor Sternberg’s outside activities in order to find a way to dismiss him.”

Who was the special interest group? None other than the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and specifically NCSE director Eugenie Scott.

Although Scott insists that such discrimination is not because of religious beliefs but on the basis of science, there is no evidence to support her claim. Indeed, the testimony of numerous creationists who have earned PhDs suggest no deficiency exists. Reports from graduates from Liberty University who have been admitted to science and science related graduate programs indicate that they often receive some of the highest grades and are quite competitive with their peers. While anyone may need help or remediation in science, the suggestion that a creationist automatically requires remediation is in fact religious discrimination.

Evolution proponents often consider creationists to be ignorant. The assumption is that anyone who understood science or was properly educated would obviously accept molecules-to-man evolution as fact. In reality, this confuses science with a commitment to naturalistic philosophy. Scientists such as Dr. Ross and I fully understand the scientific method and use it appropriately. However, we also believe the Bible and the creation account in Genesis. I know and understand a lot about evolution, I just don’t believe that it explains the origin of man.

It is my sincere hope that Christian young people will not shy away from careers in science. Examples such as Dr. Ross should encourage them that they can do good science and honor the Creator at the same time. With increasing numbers of well- credentialed creationists in science disciplines perhaps we can overcome the bias and stereotypes that are heaped upon people because of their faith in Christ.

Dr. David DeWitt is the Director of the Center for Creation Studies and a professor of Biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, USA. He has a B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Case Western Reserve University. He has authored and co-authored numerous papers on Alzheimer’s disease in peer-reviewed journals.


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