Can a Fundamentalist be a good paleontologist?

I came across an interesting NY Times article from a link on Uncommon Descent, one of the more infamous ID blogs, about paleontologist Marcus Ross, currently a professor at Liberty University. Ross received his Ph.D. from the U of Rhode Island, hardly a “young Earth” type of school. As the article explains, his doctoral dissertation was on the disappearance of some species of marine reptiles 65 million years ago, even though he personally holds to a “young Earth” position. No matter which side of the issue you are on this does seem a bit oxymoronic.

Now, let me say up front that I have my own prejudices, and have a hard time taking seriously anyone who would be associated with Liberty U, the school founded by Jerry Falwell. It’s true – I hear “Liberty U” and I immediately think, “wacko fundamentalist.” I can’t help it; Falwell has done such a great job of developing that reputation over the years.

However, it seems that this is all the better for exploring the question about whether someone with extremely conservative theological views can be an impartial scientist. Based on the Times article, it would seem that this might be the case. Dr. Ross, so far, seems to be able to deal with the data, even if it doesn’t seem to mesh with his presuppositions.

Now, if we can get a few of these folks together with a few neo-Darwinists who are also able to set aside their materialist presuppositions, perhaps some of the wrinkles could be ironed out of the evolution v ID debate.

Anyway, the NYT piece is interesting, and at least worth a read.

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