Pharyngula

One wonders exactly how desperate or deluded a young biology graduate would have to be to accept this job?

Position: Biology
Salary: Unspecified
Institution: Liberty University
Location: Virginia
Date posted: 3/6/2006

Biology: Liberty University invites applications for: Faculty member with Ph.D. and compatibility with a young-earth creationist philosophy. Teaching expertise in Microbiology and supervision of undergraduate research expected. Experience in molecular genetics helpful. Send letter of interest, resume, and statement of personal Christian faith commitment to Dr. Ron Hawkins, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Liberty University, 1971 University Boulevard, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502.

Wow. They want a microbiologist who is also a creationist and young-earther. How does one get doctoral level training in microbiology and come out rejecting evolution? I think Tara would have to slap ‘em silly.

Comments

  1. #1 MJ Memphis
    March 6, 2006

    Well, it doesn’t say that the PhD *has* to be in microbiology. And I’m guessing their bar for “teaching expertise” is pretty low. I mean, they would probably consider Dembski an expert in biology, and he’s a friggin’ mathematician.

  2. #2 Angel
    March 6, 2006

    I am thinking more deluded, then again, I have always wondered just what kind of faculty does that institution attract anyhow. Like MJ, I am guessing their bar is pretty low as long as the candidate says what they want to hear in the interview in terms of the creationist (can we even call it a doctrine? I am thinking a few other choice words, but want to stay within family friendly writing here) and writes a decent statement of faith. I am just glad I don’t work there, and I definitely would go back to teaching public schools before even considering such a place.

  3. #3 CCP
    March 6, 2006

    They seem to be advertising for damn near an entire faculty:
    http://chronicle.com/jobs/search.php?org=3752&sort=name

    Odd that no particular worldview-compatibility is required for chemists or pianists (although all positions do require a “statement of personal Christian faith commitment”).

  4. #4 Tara
    March 6, 2006

    How does one get doctoral level training in microbiology and come out rejecting evolution?

    Well, there’s always Minnich.

    I think I saw this ad before a month or two ago from another PT-er. Guess they’re having a hard time filling the position. Wonder if it pays as well as AiG

  5. #5 lt.kizhe
    March 6, 2006

    …but I hear they have a championship debate team.
    (Source: the Colbert Report, sometime last week).

  6. #6 Bored Huge Krill
    March 6, 2006

    Depends on exactly what qualifies as a “PhD” I suppose… if that’s a problem for any otherwise qualified applicant, I’m sure they can get one from Patriot University.

    I’m thinking that perhaps, I don’t know, DaveScot might apply?

  7. #7 CCP
    March 6, 2006

    Just checked out the rest of the LU Biology Dept:
    http://www.liberty.edu/academics/arts-sciences/biology-chemistry/index.cfm?PID=6559
    These people seem to have real PhDs from real universities…
    Here’s one I liked: “Dr. DeWitt is a biochemist and neuroscientist whose passion is to defend creation using The Word of God. When not pointing out the flaws in Darwin’s theory, Dr. DeWitt is investigating the inner workings of the brain.”

  8. #8 Bruce Thompson
    March 6, 2006

    Dr. Georgia Purdom from the Creation Mega Conference this past summer is a likely candidate. Perhaps she will move from Mount Vernon Nazarene University to Liberty. “It’s what God said, and that’s enough, and that’s the way it has to be,” said Purdom.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/events/megaconference/speakers.aspx
    http://www.reason.com/rb/rb072105.shtml

  9. #9 windy
    March 6, 2006

    They seem to be advertising for damn near an entire faculty

    Maybe a few evilutionists should infiltrate them, then. Hmm, any tenure positions available? ;) “Wedgie strategy” strikes again!

  10. #10 Jonathan Bartlett
    March 6, 2006

    Why do you think that good biologists can’t be YECs? There was a YEC on the team that sequenced the rice genome. He has also written chapters in Wiley’s Handbook of Statistical Genetics and also had a core article in The Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine.

    The MRI was developed by a YEC.

    And those are the ones who have “come out of the closet” so to speak. There are others who keep their head down.

  11. #11 jwunder
    March 6, 2006

    I wonder what it would be like to interview for a job like that? Kinda like interviewing for a job as a history professor, who’s job description reads, “must be sympathetic to holocaust denial”.

  12. #12 Pattanowski
    March 6, 2006

    I guess they won’t be covering endosymbiosis. Probably not secondary endosymbiosis either. Certainly not tertiary endosymbiosis. That’s for sure!

  13. #13 Dave Munger
    March 6, 2006

    lt.kizhe: Ed Drayton has some unkind words about the liberty debate team. Basically, they puff up their schedule against patsies and never face the big boys face to face, hence the meaningless number one ranking.

  14. #14 Job Market
    March 6, 2006

    Interestingly, there is no need for submitting three letters of reference.

  15. #15 EVinson
    March 6, 2006

    No letters of reference? Maybe they ask the Big Guy about candidates directly?

  16. #16 dbpitt
    March 6, 2006

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t it be, position: biologist? Or more accurately yet, position: young-earth creationist? But position: biology just seems gramatically incorrect. No one says they are a “biology.”

  17. #17 CCP
    March 6, 2006

    “Why do you think that good biologists can’t be YECs?”
    I’ll bite: because good biologists do science, you know, with observations and reasoning. Good biologists are more interested in what the data suggest than in what the Good Book sez. Let’s see, what else…oh, a good biologist could not write a sentence like “The level of similarity observed between the human and chimpanzee genomes cannot be adequately explained simply by the will of the Creator, unless a theory can be developed to explain why the Creator would will such similarity.” (http://www.bryancore.org/bsg/opbsg/007.pdf) See, that sort of begs the question.

    “There was a YEC on the team that sequenced the rice genome.”
    That paper had 55 authors…your guy Wood was # 28. I think that means he changed the columns in one of the sequencing machines.

  18. #18 plunge
    March 6, 2006

    Hey, don’t laugh. I’ve been weighing whether or not to work towards a biology PhD myself (as opposed to my current career), and frankly, the downsides are pretty offputting: from the long long long years of little pay to the very tiny tiny chance that I’d ever be able to do much interesting research or get one of the very very few university positions out there.

    These “biology” lite programs are very appealing to someone like me! I could simply lie about my beliefs, and yet be in high demand, with my cushy job prospects. All I’d have to do would be to add “Just as GOD INTENDED” to the end of all my papers, and I’d be set for life!

  19. #19 ekzept
    March 6, 2006

    … statement of personal Christian faith commitment …

    i wonder if you can get those on eBay?

  20. #20 Great White Wonder
    March 6, 2006

    Someone’s gotta make a fucking documentary about this shit.

    It’s too fucking funny.

    Here’s Jon Bartlett

    Why do you think that good biologists can’t be YECs? The MRI was developed by a YEC.

    So was gunpowder. So fucking what, shithead?

  21. #21 george cauldron
    March 6, 2006

    And those are the ones who have “come out of the closet” so to speak. There are others who keep their head down.

    You mean they have to hide their stupidity for fear of being fired. You say that like it’s a bad thing!

    But seriously, you keep right on going. I’m sure either Liberty University of Bob Jones University is just itching to start up a Department of Barminology.

  22. #22 Barry
    March 6, 2006

    “I wonder what it would be like to interview for a job like that? Kinda like interviewing for a job as a history professor, who’s job description reads, “must be sympathetic to holocaust denial”.”

    Posted by: jwunder

    More like ‘must have published a holocaust denial’. They didn’t ask for people sympathetic to creationism, they specifically wanted a YEC.

  23. #23 Barry
    March 6, 2006

    My bad, they asked for ‘symathetic to YEC’. So, a historian who was merely sympathetic to holocaust denial would be comparable.

  24. #24 Michael "Sotek" Ralston
    March 6, 2006

    I wonder – if someone was turned down for the position on the basis of not being sympathetic enough to YEC, could they sue for religious discrimination?

  25. #25 Corkscrew
    March 6, 2006

    You mean they have to hide their stupidity for fear of being fired. You say that like it’s a bad thing!

    I’d tend to interpret it as “they’re expected to behave like scientists when they have their lab coats on”. Also not a bad thing, but in a less censorious fashion.

  26. #26 Ben
    March 6, 2006

    So what are you waiting for, PZ? You’re more than qualified. Just put on your Sunday best, rabbit on about “lunar recession” for a while, and it’s in the bag. Then, about 6 months into the job, be all like, “PSYCH!”. It’d totally be worth it.

  27. #27 george cauldron
    March 6, 2006

    I think we should keep our eyes open for who actually gets this job. Should be very interesting…

  28. #28 jwunder
    March 6, 2006

    So what are you waiting for, PZ? You’re more than qualified. Just put on your Sunday best, rabbit on about “lunar recession” for a while, and it’s in the bag.

    Well according the job description, he’d also have to write a statement of “personal christian faith commitment”. That means no odin, no jibes at the right wing, and no doonesbury. Ok, maybe a cephalopod reference here and there. Oh, and I’d recommend rehearsing a convincing prayer for the interview, to close the deal.

  29. #29 John C. Randolph
    March 6, 2006

    Ah, yes… Jerry Falwell University. Where all you have to do to fit in is submit to a complete encephelectomy.

    -jcr

  30. #30 Dustin
    March 6, 2006

    So what are you waiting for, PZ? You’re more than qualified. Just put on your Sunday best, rabbit on about “lunar recession” for a while, and it’s in the bag. Then, about 6 months into the job, be all like, “PSYCH!”. It’d totally be worth it.

    Man, I was thinking about pulling one of those with the Colorado Springs Christian School. I decided that I had better things to do with my life.

  31. #31 gramsci411
    March 7, 2006

    hmmm…no social science positions open. darn!

  32. #32 Jeff
    March 7, 2006

    Liberty seems like a bad joke to me. I used to tutor a Christian senior (who I hope will come around to reason) and Liberty called him and accepted him without him even applying. No transcript, no formal application, no standardized test scores, just a “give us basic information over the phone” and after a short time he was accepted. If every student simply has to be a Christian to be accepted, I worry about faculty requirements. Or maybe it’s a sign they have a hard time getting students to go there?

    Virginia (my state) seems generally smart about science/biology/evolution/etc., though admittedly I do live in a northern pocket of a technically southern state.

  33. #33 MJ Memphis
    March 7, 2006

    “So was gunpowder. So fucking what, shithead?”

    Whoa… you mean there were Chinese YECs back then? Damn fundamentalist Confucians!

    Incidentally, it would be fun to slip a Middle Ages-style bestiary into one’s CV when applying for a job like this, just to see if they noticed. Good, old-fashioned Christian biology!

  34. #34 Keith Douglas
    March 7, 2006

    And the students of this schill will become Republican operatives or “scholars” at the DI, no doubt. It doesn’t ever end. :(

  35. #35 Molly, NYC
    March 7, 2006

    People actually pay good money for their kids to go to this place–more than they would at most state colleges in the South.

    Falwell’s kind of Christians remind me of the birds at that place where Cheney went hunting. It’s an artificial environment maintained, not for the residents, but for the people who prey on them.

  36. #36 wamba
    March 7, 2006

    I wonder – if someone was turned down for the position on the basis of not being sympathetic enough to YEC, could they sue for religious discrimination?

    I doubt it, it’s a private institution. So long as it’s not running on tax money they’re probably OK.
    .
    And even then, that’s the whole point of the ‘faith-based initiatives” project; to allow religious organizations to receive government money for their activities without meeting non-discrimination requirements.

  37. #37 CCP
    March 7, 2006

    I find this little self-contained universe of academic YEC “scientists” fascinating…while Johnson and Behe and Dembski et al. are getting all the media attention for the big ID controversy, there is a quiet little subculture of unabashed fundamentalists still writing, reading, and self-publishing each others’ “research” papers on baraminology and young-earth geology. Besides LU (home to the Center for Creation Studies), I have found Bryan College (home to the Center for Origins Research), which employs both Kurt Wise (SJ Gould’s famous creationist grad student) and Todd Wood (the guy touted above for being on the rice genome sequencing team, and the webmaster for the Baraminology Study Group).
    Anybody know of any others?

  38. #38 CCP
    March 7, 2006

    Oh, I forgot Bob Jones U…a few “biologists” on the faculty there too. Interestingly, they all seem to have earned their BS in Biology at…Bob Jones U.

  39. #39 lt.kizhe
    March 7, 2006

    Re the LU debate team: Basically, they puff up their schedule against patsies and never face the big boys face to face, hence the meaningless number one ranking.

    Oh is that what it was all about? I had the impression they’d actually gone up against the Ivy League and won. I stand corrected.

    Be that as it may, I was always a bit cynical about varsity debating: ICBW but it seemed like a venue for future lawyers and politicians to hone their rhetorical skills, rather than being about knowledge of the issues they were debating (which of course is also perfect for training future preachers, AiG staff, and Josh McDowell wannabes).

  40. #40 Bill Snedden
    March 7, 2006

    Oh, I forgot Bob Jones U…a few “biologists” on the faculty there too. Interestingly, they all seem to have earned their BS in Biology at…Bob Jones U.

    Where the “BS” has never been so a propos

    “Matriculate at Bob Jones. Our BS’s are real BS!!”

  41. #41 george cauldron
    March 7, 2006

    I find this little self-contained universe of academic YEC “scientists” fascinating…while Johnson and Behe and Dembski et al. are getting all the media attention for the big ID controversy, there is a quiet little subculture of unabashed fundamentalists still writing, reading, and self-publishing each others’ “research” papers on baraminology and young-earth geology.

    It is fascinating… off in their own little world, completely off the grid, parasitizing others’ research, yet not trying to mask the beliefs that the usual ID advocates work so hard to hide. A whole antimodernist movement, like the radical Islamists. They’re sort of like the Amish or Mennonites, except they’re Southern Baptists with millions of dollars.

    While it’s all a little creepy, I guess I’d prefer to have these guys harmlessly ghettoizing themselves like that rather than trying to insinuate themselves into real science.

  42. #42 Peiter
    March 7, 2006

    Actually, if you follow the link, you’ll find a YEC working at a respectable and regular, if small, university in Denmark. He’s given interviews with Danish newspapers and been on the evening news. My sister’s enrolled in his program (not on creationism, though!)

  43. #43 Peiter
    March 7, 2006

    Oops. That will be the link in my name in the former post. Ole Vang is his name.

  44. #44 Gene
    March 7, 2006

    “Dr. DeWitt is a biochemist and neuroscientist whose passion is to defend creation using The Word of God. When not pointing out the flaws in Darwin’s theory, Dr. DeWitt is investigating the inner workings of the brain.”

    Any word on whether this guy’s PhD was actually in neuroscience? I’m just an artist who’s read a little Antonio Damasio and VS Ramachandran, but seriously, you’ve got to tie logic in knots to come out with an intact belief in a soul, much less be a biblical literalist.

  45. #45 CCP
    March 7, 2006

    “Any word on whether this guy’s PhD was actually in neuroscience?”
    DeWitt is a real neurobiologist. He publishes in real neuro journals. See:
    http://www.liberty.edu/academics/arts-sciences/biology-chemistry/index.cfm?PID=6627

    “you’ve got to tie logic in knots”
    For a really interesting window into the pretzel logic involved here, check out the latest publication from the Baraminology Study Group:
    http://www.bryancore.org/bsg/opbsg/007.pdf
    This guy Wood is no dummy; he’s obviously well trained in modern genomics and he does a good job of reviewing all of the molecular studies showing the genetic and genomic similarity of humans & chimps, even honestly and forthrightly criticizing previous creationist glosses on the subject, and concluding by logic that there seems clear evidence for common ancestry…and then he explicitly rejects that conclusion because the Bible sez different! (See, all felids might be members of the same baramin, i.e. descended from one pair of cats on the Ark, and bacteria too have speciated within their baramin since Creation, but Genesis mentions the special creation of humans specifically, and so we just can’t be in the same baramin as the apes. Get it?) SO…why then are Homo & Pan so similar, if not because of common ancestry?
    He doesn’t know, and admits it.

    Wood is clearly a crazy fundie, but he’s honest about it, and he’s actually struggling with the manymany problems posed by empirical observations for his precious biblical inerrancy. I find this honest insanity kind of refreshing, as opposed to the sneaky deception being attempted by the ID crowd.

  46. #46 molecularspongebob
    March 10, 2006

    “but he’s honest about it, and he’s actually struggling with the manymany problems posed by empirical observations”
    -CCP

    Good work by CCP – what nuggets a little investigative work can do!

    And Yes! that is the way it should be – to question, doubt, do more research (no wooosie double dippin your Creato-buddies already parasitized works)ie Publish or Perish Bahbee! (pardon my rant). If these Creato-cats wanna play in the same sandbox as the Bigdigs, then they need to be put into the same spotlight. Make ‘em sweat, make ‘em work for it – require the same level of scrutiny and peer review. Save the Snark for later – decimate them the old fashion way: Let them build their castles of sand and then point to the rising tide. Make Dover just the beginning before they squirm back to their Evil Lairs..

    Stop waiting and wondering what their next move will be – start scheduling (endlessly) the grueling debates, in public forums, on their home field, everwhere they frikkin go. Grrrrr!!

    -RP