I came across a fascinating blog, Heal the Land, because the author was commenting on a post discussing some TV commentator named Tucker Carlson saying that Barack Obama’s church isn’t really Christian, because it’s all about black empowerment, and urges its members to become “soldiers for black freedom.” The author of Heal the Land seems to be a black Christian who is committed to studying the Bible – in its entirety, including the passages about slavery and genocide. My mind is spinning from his posts about routine miracles of healing, and gifts of the Spirit; but I like a lot of his commentary on other issues.
For instance, he linked to this article in the New York Times about creationists studying secular science (article is from Feb. 12, will probably only be publicly available for a few days). The story centers around Dr. Marcus Ross, a young-earth creationist who nevertheless earned his PhD from the University of Rhode Island with a dissertation on mosasaurs, marine reptiles who supposedly became extinct during the Cretaceous era, 65 million years ago. A large part of the article goes on to quote disgusted guardians of the evolutionary orthodoxy, who think that Christians/creationists/intelligent design theorists ought not to be permitted to receive degrees from their institutions, since they then go on to use those degrees as credentials in their writings against evolution. Of course, this is part of the larger trend in science to abandon the old tradition of free inquiry guided by evidence, no matter how contrary to old, accepted models, as we can see in the current witch-hunt against those who dare to deny the media-anointed truth of global warming.
I am more interested in the dilemma of Dr. Ross, whom the article describes as believing that “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.’ ” And later, “[T]hough his dissertation repeatedly described events as occurring tens of millions of years ago, Dr. Ross added, ‘I did not imply or deny any endorsement of the dates.’ ”
That’s taking plundering the Egyptians a bit far, to write and defend a dissertation based on evolutionary theory, and completely consistent with it, all the while believing something completely different. How much subterfuge is called for, given the intolerant discrimination advocated by the evolutionists quoted in the article?
Reference is made to another student, Bryan Leonard, who was trying to earn a PhD in education from OSU, with a dissertation on “the pedagogical usefulness of teaching alternatives to the theory of evolution.” His defense of the dissertation was cancelled when controversy arose about who would listen to him. Meanwhile, other faculty members had protested to the university administration “arguing that Mr. Leonard’s project violated the university’s research standards in that the students involved were being subjected to something harmful (the idea that there were scientific alternatives to the theory of evolution) without receiving any benefit.”
Which leaves me speechless. The idea that there are alternatives to evolution is harmful? I mean, I can grasp that you may think the alternatives are false. But it’s harmful to high-school students to present alternative points of view? No wonder American students are graduating with a woeful lack of critical thinking skills, and trailing the world in science and math. It would be too cliche to mention the unorthodox beliefs of Copernicus, Galileo, Boyle, Einstein, and other trailblazers of science. It’s too bad they weren’t protected from harmful alternatives, too.
So does such bigotry on the part of the educational and scientific establishment necessitate or condone what I cannot help regarding as intellectual dishonesty on the part of creationists like Dr. Ross? Because I know of others who have succeeded in earning PhDs with dissertations which either side-stepped the issue, or indeed confronted it head-on, and were successfully defended. How far do the boundaries stretch?