Friday, March 09, 2007

Intellectual Honesty

I ran across this article in the New York Times last month (free registration is required to read it) and I wanted to post it here to see what everyone thought about it. The main issue that the journalist is raising is the increasing number of young-earth scientists who are going to well-established, secular, public universities for the doctoral degrees in scientific fields. The specific person in focus in the article is Dr. Ross, who just received his Ph.D. in paleontology from Rhode Island University for his dissertation work on the fossil record of reptiles at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. The rub is that Dr. Ross doesn't believe anything that he is writing - he is a young-earth creationist who believes the earth is really around 10,000 years old based on his reading of Genesis. Dr. Ross defends his dissertation as work done through a "different paradigm" than what he personally believes. In other words, he feels comfortable doing scientific research and writing that conflicts with his personal Christian convictions because he can compartmentalize the two areas into two different paradigms that he works in.

You can read a little between the lines of the article and feel the journalist questioning the intellectual honesty of Christian scientists who do "university-style science" in order to get advanced doctorates from state schools only to go into private Christian colleges and teach their creationist views with the credibility that comes from an advanced science degree that comes from a national university.

What do you think about Dr. Ross' work and his views? Do you think the NY Times writer has a point?

1 comment:

Hallam Fam News said...

This was really thought-provoking. I remember taking a feminism class in college and having to separate my own views from those of the class in order to get an "A". But because I disagreed with the concepts, I could not have majored in the discipline. I will have to keep thinking about this one. It raises an interesting question about what the options are for scientific-minded Christians who want to earn advanced degrees. Hmmm...