Bending science to keep religion rigid


Texas A&M University will be home to an institute to train students for careers in nuclear power. This is a logical and welcome extension for one of Texas’s, and one of the nation’s premiere engineering schools. Nuclear power offers opportunities for the nation made more urgent by continuing, inherent problems with carbon-based fossil fuels.

Radioactivity symbol

Texas is the nation’s second largest state. The institute will provide another source for Texas kids to get career training.

The Nuclear Power Institute will help train staff needed to operate new reactors and generating plants. It will also revamp curriculum for junior high, high school and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field, according to officials with Texas A&M Engineering.

The institute was established in a joint effort by the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). The Look College is one of the largest engineering colleges in the nation, with nearly 9,000 students and 12 departments.

“The Texas A&M University System is uniquely configured with the ideal combination of education, research and service agencies and universities to lead this effort,” Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering Kem Bennett said in a statement released last week. “The institute will make a significant impact upon the work force and economy of the state and nation.”

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents signed off on the formal creation of the Nuclear Power Institute earlier this month.

There is a high degree of irony in this announcement at this time. While Texas A&M looks to the future with nuclear power, the state weighs whether to allow a Dallas religious school to train teachers that management of nuclear power is based on flawed theory. A&M will train people to manage nuclear power; the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) wants to train high school teachers to teach Texas’s high school kids that nuclear power is mysterious and cannot work.

Does Texas contradict itself? Walt Whitman might have asked. Texas is large. It contains multitudes.

But should it contain a school that teaches much of basic science is just wrong?

It might be nice if a higher percentage of the multitudes had the reasoning power to see what’s wrong with this picture, and why the question is important.

This may be too subtle for people unfamiliar with atomic theory to realize the full impact. Zeno at Halfway There explains the wacky part of ICR’s misunderstanding, or wishful thinking about atomic theory. Simply put, ICR claims to have discovered that God interferes with nuclear reactions, making it difficult to predict that a nuclear reactor won’t suddenly increase its output by ten times, cooking the nuclear power plant and a couple of nearby towns in the doing.

Texas A&M is working to prepare people to live in the late 21st and 22nd centuries. ICR is fighting to take us back to the 16th or 17th century.

If ICR is successful, from what pool will A&M draw its candidates for nuclear engineering and nuclear power management? Against its will, Texas A&M could become one of the largest graduate institutions for all of India and China.

Please see the update, December 18, here:  Texas’s face should be creationism red.

8 Responses to Bending science to keep religion rigid

  1. […] Also see the story in the Austin American-Statesman. (Update 12/19/2007 — see these posts, too: Lack of resources; Bending science to keep religion rigid.) […]

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  2. imabbb says:

    Efogoto – But humans DO eat their relatives. Our DNA is very similar to many of the species that appear on our dinner tables. Pigs, for instance are so genetically simiar to humans that surgeons have successfully implanted bovine organs in humans.

    Isn’t the horror of that picture worth proving the age of the Earth to be 6,000 years?

    No. I believe we should attempt to find the truth about existence, even if it offends the sensibilities of religion. It is absolutely ludicrous to believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old. There is ample evidence to refute that idea even if you throw out carbon dating. Before you ask me to tell you what that evidence is, why not just open your mind and do some research for yourself.

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  3. Irving says:

    Religion really does itself a disservice with this kind of nonsense. God in His infinity created an infinitely complex universe, evolving over billions of years to support not only life, but life that is self-aware, humanity. That some humans prefer to believe that God is so limited is appalling. And we did not evolve from monkeys, we shared the same common ancestor, monkeys went one way, humans another. We all came from the sea for that matter, and before that from the stars. What wonder there is in such a reality, and how small the mind that attempts to limit it to convenient old myths and superstitions.

    Peace and Blessings!

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  4. Efogoto says:

    But imabbb, if God created the universe through the Big Bang and then created men from monkeys instead of dirt, then humans wouldn’t be special and different from the other animals. In fact, if all life on the planet is related, we’d constantly be eating our relatives. Isn’t the horror of that picture worth proving the age of the Earth to be 6,000 years?.

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  5. imabbb says:

    It amazes me that fundamentalists and groups like the ICR waste so much energy on attempting to prove basic science wrong when they should be focusing on something more fundamental to their faith. If they believe that God created the universe, who cares when it occured or the mechanics of how it happened?

    I’m sure it has somethng to do with the Bible and the number of generations it represents, as well as their desire to prove that a literal Adam and Eve existed. However, if that is the case, what they are attempting to prove is that the Bible is literal and accurate AND that God created the universe.

    If the ICR admitted that the Bible is not literal and is not inerrant, and that the Big Bang theory is fundamentally correct, then they would have an easier argument on their hands. All they would have to prove is that God created the universe by causing the Big Bang. If they were able to construct a compelling argument to this effect, they might win what should be their central objective.

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    So, Mr. Aach, do you support training students in the idea that atomic theory is bunk?

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  7. James Aach says:

    There’s a bit of a misunderstand in the public’s eyes regarding what types of engineers are needed to run nuclear plants. The majority of the work is for electrical, mechanical and civil engineers. After all, we’re mostly talking about pipes and wires. For an insider’s view of the nuclear industry in an entertaining format, see http://RadDecision.blogspot.com .

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  8. […] Education Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub notes that while the State of Texas is setting up a world class program to train nuclear engineers, it is also considering whether or not to give accreditation to schools which teach creationism, […]

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