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How a young-earth creationist can get a PhD from a secular university

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Until today, I’ve been keeping quiet about this developing story about Marcus Ross, a creationist PhD graduate from Rhode Island University. I wanted to protect him from media scrutiny until the news story finally broke.

Marcus Ross

Now that the NY Times has reported it, I may as well publicly extend my congratulations to Marcus Ross. He serves as a role model for how ID proponents and even young earth creationists can matriculate through Darwinist controlled institutions.

Believing Scripture but Playing by Science’s Rules

But Dr. Ross is hardly a conventional paleontologist. He is a “young earth creationist” — he believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old.

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.”

For the pro-ID and creationist students out there, Ross shows how to make it through a Darwinist controlled secular institution. Ross was never deceptive about his beliefs, yet demonstrated he could accept Old Earth Darwinism as a working but falsifiable hypothesis. One has a better chance of overturning prevailing paradigms when one is well-versed in it. Accepting a wrong theory as a working hypothesis is no more a profession of faith than accepting the wrong idea that the square root of two is rational in order to prove it is irrational.

May more and more people like Marcus Ross who reject Darwinism continue to graduate with science degrees. Happy Darwin Day, indeed!

22 Replies to “How a young-earth creationist can get a PhD from a secular university

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    I find this kind of ironic. Hugh Ross is the one who made the presentation on the Cambrian Explosion with Stephen Meyer that is available through ARN. In it they talk about dates of 500 mya or more. I will have to look at it again to see just what Ross says in his parts. Brown certainly knew about his association with the Discover Institute and that he was helping the ID people.

    Related but separate issue. On ARN they posted a link to the Sternberg discrimination investigation by Congress which makes a recommendation that no publicly funded institution discriminate against anyone who opposes Darwinism. It is a long paper and I am only quoting the end. See

    http://www.kolbecenter.org/Intolerance.pdf

  2. 2
    DaveScot says:

    Eugenie Scott’s attitude is infuriating. I understand the requirement to know consensus science but when it comes to anthropology, paleontology, or evolutionary biology there’s no practical need to believe the science. A doctor needs to know AND believe that medicines work otherwise people can be physically harmed. Engineers need to know AND believe how materials behave otherwise money and lives are lost. But what happens if an anthropologist knows something but believes otherwise and is wrong? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No harm is done. Get a clue, Eugenie Scott. Figure out when knowledge and belief matter and when they don’t. Your whole problem is you take your work far too seriously when it’s of no more than academic interest. An anthropologist should be able to provide answers to questions that agree with consensus science but he should be free to believe that consensus science is WRONG. No one will be harmed and just maybe he’s correct to disbelieve the majority.

  3. 3
    Atom says:

    I find this kind of ironic. Hugh Ross is the one who made the presentation on the Cambrian Explosion

    I think you mean Marcus Ross?

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    Atom,

    Yes, I meant Marcus Ross. Thank you very much for pointing out my miscue.

  5. 5
    Atom says:

    No problem. I just got confused, because Hugh Ross is a well-known OEC, I wasn’t sure if you were really referring to him.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Atom,

    I am not that familiar with Hugh Ross other than seeing the name here a few times and absentmindly substituted it for Marcus Ross who is the person in question in the post and who did the video with Stephen Meyer.

  7. 7
    johnnyb says:

    So….

    What was his thesis on?

  8. 8
    Joseph says:

    Jerry:
    (Marcus) Ross is the one who made the presentation on the Cambrian Explosion with Stephen Meyer that is available through ARN. In it they talk about dates of 500 mya or more.

    The presentation is dealing with the data on the terms of the “mainstream” interpretation. That is to show that even on their terms the event in question is pretty much unexplained by the presently understood “culled genetic accidents” scenario.

    (Hugh Ross heads up “Reasons to Believe”- his premise is that the “days of Creation”, ie the “Creation Week”, were eons (thousands of years or more per day). He references Psalms in which “God” says his days are like a thousand years- I think it’s in Psalms but I am not a Bible guy)

  9. 9
    Joseph says:

    To Johnny B:

    “His subject was the abundance and spread of mosasaurs, marine reptiles that, as he wrote, vanished at the end of the Cretaceous era about 65 million years ago.”

    (from the link in the OP)

  10. 10
    Robo says:

    Hugh Ross is at http://www.reasons.org and is a PhD astronomer and day-age creationist. A great guy but I’m not sure how good is Biblical exegesis is. He has written a number of books and debates a YEC on the http://www.johnankerberg.com show.

  11. 11
    1of63 says:

    In the end, what difference does it make? The Universe is the way it is. What any of us believes is not important. If it was created by God 6000 years ago then, sooner or later, that should become apparent, unless God is also a Great Deceiver. If, on the other hand, it is billions of years old and life developed through evolution then what has Marcus Ross achieved, apart from being wrong?

  12. 12
    scordova says:

    Prior to Marcus Ross earning his PhD, many in the ID community were fearful he would become another Brian Leonard. Mutual friends communicated to me Ross’s extreme distress last year.

    Like Kurt Wise, Ross’s YEC views were public knowledge for years. Even before receiving a PhD, he was co-author with Paul Nelson in a Chapter of Darwin’s Nemesis. The chapter was titled, “YEC and ID” but the bulk of the written material was published May 2005 here in Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 53, n. 3, May, 2005, p. 319-323.

  13. 13
    Balti says:

    “Hugh Ross heads up “Reasons to Believe”- his premise is that the “days of Creation”, ie the “Creation Week”, were eons (thousands of years or more per day). He references Psalms in which “God” says his days are like a thousand years- I think it’s in Psalms but I am not a Bible guy”

    Actually there are a couple of references:

    “For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night” Psalm 90 3-5

    “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” 2 Peter 3:8

    The problem with the approach of interpretating these references as meaning – ‘the word “day” in scripture can mean “1 thousand years”‘ – is that the references are simply saying that God, being infinite, is outside of time. In addition, the references are discussing how our time appears to God, not how time is described in the bible. Furthermore, the second reference makes it clear that a thousand years is like a day to the Lord – with that in mind proponents would have to admit that, using their theory, any reference to a thousand years in the bible could mean a day, which is something they do not attempt to do (mainly as this would rightly be exposed as nonsense). As it they were needed, there are also compelling arguments regarding the actual syntax and semantics of the original language used in Genesis.
    As much as day-age creationists may want the references to mean something different, their arguments stretch the quotes beyond their actual meaning.

  14. 14
    scordova says:

    The irony is now that because Judge Jones ruled ID is religion, and other courts ruled creation science is religion, universities put themselves at risk of discrimination if they discriminate based on “religious views” even when PhD candidates like Ross can write and defend Darwinist paradigms.

    The court cases against ID and creation science can now be used as a legal tool for ID proponents and creationists to matriculate through universities and gain footholds in industry. If they can do the work, their “religious” views can’t be legally used against them. The ACLU must now come to the defense of people like Marcus Ross!

  15. 15
    a5b01zerobone says:

    “If, on the other hand, it is billions of years old and life developed through evolution then what has Marcus Ross achieved, apart from being wrong?”

    Hi everyone,

    I think you can believe that the universe is indeed billions of years old and still doubt evolution. Dr. Hugh Ross (maybe Dr. Gerald Schroeder too not really sure) does not accept Macroevolution and believes that Adam was specially created.

    Have a great week guys!

  16. 16
    Emkay says:

    “Hugh Ross heads up “Reasons to Believe”- his premise is that the “days of Creation”, ie the “Creation Week”, were eons (thousands of years or more per day).

    One problem with that misinterpretation, as aptly pointed out by Ken Ham of AiG, is what then is “a night” as described in the Genesis account? “…And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day.” A phrase repeated for each of the six days of biblical creation.

  17. 17
    jerry says:

    “And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day.” A phrase repeated for each of the six days of biblical creation.”

    This is English. Gerald Schroeder who is both a nuclear scientist with a Ph.D. from MIT and a biblical and hebrew scholar maintains that Genesis must only be interpreted using the original Hebrew and the connotations of the actual words used at the time they were written must be considered. Now I have no way of evaluating any of this but one should read his books to see what he says to get different interpretations.

    For example, the words for evening and morning have the connotation of disorder and order in the original hebrew so each day as expressed in Genesis could be read as order coming from disorder and not a typical 24 hour day we see during our year. He also mentions for the first couple days in Genesis neither the Sun or the Earth exists so what does a day mean in this context.

    The last thing I want to do is start a discussion on this because it would go nowhere and is not really appropriate but that if one is going to start quoting the bible one should realize that there are myriads of interpretations out there (which is why it will go nowhere) and I am sure there are much better forums to discuss it than here.

  18. 18
    Janice says:

    jerry,

    the words for evening and morning have the connotation of disorder and order

    Schroeder cites Nachmanides (1194-1270) for this.

    The Jewish Virtual Library says Nachmanides’ commentaries are the first ones to incorporate the mystical teachings of kabbalah.

    It seems Schroeder’s argument is based on Kabbalistic mysticism rather than historical linguistics.

  19. 19
    jerry says:

    Janice,

    You may be very right and I have no way of evaluating Schroeder’s comments, the legitimacy of his sources nor anything else about ancient interpretations of the language used in the bible. He also says the order of the words is significant and I have no way of evaluating that either. All I am saying is that there is a myriad of interpetations and Schroeder’s is one of them. Maybe this question should be posed to Schroeder. I have written him an email about it and will see if he responds.

    What I find ironic is how some people are so definitive about how to interpet the bible from a tradition that emphasizes individual interpetation of it.

    There is a lot of ironic behavior in the whole discussion of evolution.

  20. 20
    Balti says:

    I am not certain that it is useful to refer to a ‘myriad of interpretations’ of anything. In Law Courts, people try to change and twist the meanings of words all the time for a variety of purposes. If the approach you allude to were used by the Judge however, no Judgment could ever be reached.

    The arguments concerning postmodernist critique and semantics aside, the question as to whether Psalm 90 or 2 Peter supports the very wide meaning imposed upon them by day-age creationists and others is a matter of simple logic.

    Jerry I see you refer to to Gerald Schroeder’s ideas. After reading some of his work, I found his argument wholly unconvincing and was left with a strong impression of a person attempting to strain meaning. It is actually incorrect to suggest that the words ‘erev'(evening) and ‘boker'(morning) mean order and disorder in hebrew, just as the word ‘abhor’ does not mean ‘away-shudder’ in English. Schroeder is simply using highly questionable etymology to support his arguments.

    Your point concerning the existance of the Sun and Moon is also one used by Schroeder. He says:

    “Nachmanides discusses the meaning of evening and morning. Does it mean sunset and sunrise? It would certainly seem to.”

    However, logically, a day/night is subjective human experience of 24 hours (after all the sun shines constantly). Thus the only logical assumption is that a ‘day’ is 24 hours and that the references to evening and morning are the start and end of that period. The sun does not come into it; indeed in e.g. Norway the idea of the dawning of the sun being linked to morning is untenable.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    Balti,

    I wrote Schroeder about this and he sent a very courteous reply. Here is the part of the email that deals with the subject”

    ‘ “erev” can mean disorder and “boker” can mean order
    Nahmanides, also called the RambaN from the initials in his entire name, year 1250 one of the most important commentators on the Hebrew Bible, writes that he learned it from his teachers who learned it from their teachers etc etc etc back to Sinai., the RambaN states this explicitly in his commentary on Genesis. ‘

    I have no way of evaluating any of this but then again I think any literal reading of Genesis is problematic especially when it tries to estabish hard facts and leads one to evaluate science in terms of what it says.

    My point is that how one interpets something to do with religion is often very individualistic and driven by ideology and a discussion that assumes you are right and others are not will get no where. I prefer not to have a thread get into a religious discussion which led to my comment that such discussions are not productive. If someone wants to believe in a 24 hr day of creation, fine but do not justify it in a science forum or criticize others who do not hold this belief.

  22. 22
    Roland says:

    I thought the NYT article was fair and balanced until the very end, where they gave the final word to those who believe that in order to be recognized as a scientist one should be expected to believe in science as a dogmatic worldview, rather than as a working paradigm. Once again, the NYT puts itself in the vanguard of those laying a foundation to justify marginalizing anyone who does not subscribe to pure secularism.

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