Should YECs do a Phd?

It has been a while since I have posted something on this blog and I have decided that it was time to write another blog post about a big question that has bothered myself for a long time.

As regular readers of this blog know, I am fairly convinced that the earth is only 6000-12000 years old, which is obviously not in line with the modern scientific world-view. Creation and especially advocating the young-earth creationistic position is not done in mainstream science.

For me and other christian biology students it is often a big question whether we should pursue a academic carreer. And it is not difficult to see why. When almost all people are convinced of the evolutionary framework it is difficult to reconcile one’s faith-based position with that view on science. There is a league of scientists around that would say that evolution-deniers are not suitable to walk on an academic carreer path.

But on the contrary of those often heard statements about pseudo-science, I actually know several christian students which are actively involved in research related to biology and genetics.

…But my brain is still going around and around in circles whether I should pursue an academic carreer and start with a Phd. 

As of know I know all arguments for and against it, but I am curious about your opinion about this. Please enter a reply with your opinion about this case below!

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3 thoughts on “Should YECs do a Phd?

  1. There are two traits you have to have to succeed in academia. The first is a passion for the subject, especially the mysteries surrounding it. Science is all about pushing back boundaries, you have to want to do that too. The second is being able to make connections, to place discoveries in context and apply them to other areas. That is the difference between being an average researcher and a great one.

    If you think you can do those things then I’d recommend anyone who wants to (even a YEC) do a Phd, provided they take two steps.

    1. Don’t lie or misrepresent your position. So if you wind up with views that aren’t properly supported by the evidence (or wind up rejecting views without good reason) you will be appropriately penalised. Thus if you make it through the process it means you have a good understanding of the nature of evidence and how to critically evaluate it, which is the linchpin of all good science.

    2. Don’t isolate yourself. Many YEC organisations advocate engaging with the subject, but avoiding it at all costs “out of hours.” You surround yourself with friends who agree with you. However, a good chunk of a Phd student’s learning and development of critical thinking skills (at least the ones I’ve met) comes from such out of hours engagements. They set up journal clubs, meet for lunch, email researchers from other universities with enquires, attend conferences and all other stuff that goes above and beyond the call of duty, something the aforementioned organisations would suggest you don’t do. So if you don’t you miss out on an awful lot.

    A Phd (like almost every stage of further education) is all about learning about evidence, learning how to critically analyse it and learning the skills with which to gather fresh evidence. Lying to protect unevidenced beliefs and isolating yourself are two sure fire ways to compromise your ability to learn those things.

    So don;t.

  2. A PhD is too much of an investment of time and money for most and does not always present a worthwhile endeavour (career, finance, personal gratification). Since a PhD is specialization in one minute area of a science subset (broadly defined), there is little need for such knowledge which can be partially attained by some personal research beyond a MSc. It is possible also for an intelligent BSc to educate themselves to the level of a PhD with substantial effort.

    If your desire is YEC research, it might be better to align yourself with present organizations [ e.g. http://logosresearchassociates.org ] rather than try to obtain a PhD and then fight for tenure. I personally don’t think a PhD represents an intellectual climax. Also, what subject area do you wish to study?

    1. Sorry, on second read you are a biology major. The US life science PhD job market is somewhat poor so I guess you might consider a PhD if you live in a country where the prospects are better.

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