Friday, July 6, 2012

#340: Marcus Ross

Marcus R. Ross is a vertebrate paleontologist and young Earth creationist, and has received some media coverage for the apparent conflict between his young earth creationism and his dissertation on tracking the diversity, biostratigraphy, and extinction of mosasaurs (short answer: he doesn’t believe his own work, which raises some questions concerning intellectual honesty to begin with). Larry Moran weighs in here. This one raises some important questions. How does Ross manage to compartmentalize to this extent? The answer explains why fire and brimstone fundie literalists are so fond of flakier-than-flaky postmodernism (see also here). Ross is currently an Assistant Professor of Geology in the Biology/Chemistry Department at Liberty University, and Assistant Director of the Center for Creation Studies. What kind of education is his students getting, one may wonder? Well, this is illuminating.

As a grad student, Ross was a fellow of the Discovery Institute and participated (with old earth creationist Fred Heeren) the infamous Kunming conference in China (which was notable for being secretly funded by the Discovery Institute to paint an aura of scientific legitimacy on intelligent design).

The best statement on the Ross situation, and what it shows, can be found here.

Ross, by the way, was the guy who presented the paper “ONTOGENETIC DEPTH AS A COMPLEXITY METRIC FOR THE CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION” with Paul Nelson back in the olden days (not yesterday).

Diagnosis: Probably one of the world’s most skilled mental compartmentalizers, Ross used his unique skill to attain a whiff of authority that he currently deploys ardently to make the world a worse place. Sad.

Update May 22, 2013: Note that Fred Heeren, mentioned in this entry, appears to have later renounced creationism altogether.

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