Creationist Gives Huge Grant to Science University; What Does This Mean For the Future?

Lately we seem to be constantly confronted with examples of religion creeping in and trying to infringe on our science education. The latest I have come across is a young earth creationist donating a huge grant to a technical and scientific university. What’s more worrisome is that this university is a leading educator of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers. Will this donation influence the curriculum of this university is the big question. And, what does accepting this money say about the university and their commitment to real science? I guess for organizations that accept grants, money is always taken no matter what the source or any potential consequences may be.

I personally find this very disturbing.

Greg Gianforte is an alumnus of the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is also a presumed young earth creationist who helped fund a creationist museum in Glendive Montana. And, now he’s funding Stevens Institute of Technology, among other things, a leading educator of our STEM educators.

So, what does it mean when the largest donation by a living donor in the history of Stevens Institute of Technology, $10 million, is being given to the institution by a presumed young earth creationist who also funded a museum that teaches that humans and non-avian dinosaurs coexisted in a world that is less than 10,000 years old?

This is also no small chunk of change to the Gianforte Family Foundation. Prior to this, the foundation had given a total of $30 million to various causes, most of them Christian, most in Montana. This will be a quarter of their new total of $40 million in grants awarded. Will the family expect something relating to curriculum decisions for their $10 million dollars? Will they influence the next generation of science teachers? Do they hope to exert force to generate credence for intelligent design, which not only fails the test as a valid scientific theory but, by not being falsifiable, even fails the test of a valid scientific hypothesis? We may never really know the answers to these questions.

The idea that a creationist is giving the largest ever grant by a living person to this college that teaches our science teachers quite frankly scares me shitless.

Perhaps you think I must be making this up. How on earth could someone with training in the fields of science and technology possibly be a young earth creationist? Good question. I haven’t a clue. But, I have the documentation to back it up. So, while the fact defies explanation in a rational world, we do not live in a rational world.

While I have not found a record of Greg Giaforte stating outright that he is a young earth creationist, he has funded the Glendive creationist museum and FACT (Foundation Advancing Creation Truth), the organization that runs the museum. Some of these links are not about that as the key point, but they all confirm the connection.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/05/steve-daines-creationism

Greg Gianforte, a longtime Daines ally and donor who founded RightNow and sold it in 2012 for more than $1.8 billion, also has a history of supporting creationism. In 2009, his charity, the Gianforte Family Foundation, helped fund the $1.5 million creationist dinosaur museum in Glendive, Montana. According to the Billings Gazette, Gianforte’s foundation made “the largest donation for a specific exhibit,” funding a display featuring Tyranosaurus rex and Acrocanthosaurus.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/features/magazine/dinosaur-museum-presents-biblical-view-of-origins/article_1c9ac218-bab0-11de-84f1-001cc4c002e0.html

The Gianforte Family Foundation donated the T. rex and acrocanthosaurus exhibit in the museum’s main display hall, the largest donation for a specific exhibit.

The foundation, set up by Greg Gianforte, CEO and founder of RightNow Technologies in Bozeman, supports Christian causes in education, poverty and evangelism.

http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2009/10/21/museums-fossils-presented-in-creationist-context

Here is the page on which Stevens Institute of Technology is advertising their receipt of this largest single gift from a living donor in university history.

http://www.stevens.edu/news/content/stevens-institute-technology-receives-10-million-gift-gianforte-family-foundation-build-new

This is the web page Stevens has created to publicize their teaching of tomorrows teachers in collaboration with other schools, called The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.

http://ciese.org/

The CIESE initiative is also in collaboration with a number of government agencies including the National Science Foundation. So, if the Gianfortes influence the curriculum in any way, there may also be church and state issues.

http://ciese.org/sponsorpartn.html

The Gianforte Family Foundation says this in their mission statement.

The primary mission of the Gianforte Family Foundation is to support the work of Christian organizations engaged in education, poverty, and outreach work. There is a predisposition toward organizations serving people in Montana, and those organizations with which the Gianforte family has personal relationships. Smaller gifts are made to non-Christian organizations that enhance the local community of Bozeman, Montana and other causes of particular interest to the family.

Since Stevens Institute of Technology is in Hoboken, New Jersey and is not a Christian organization, my opinion is that the largest ever donation to this institution coming from the same creationist who funded a young earth creation museum is intended to strategically influence the education of the next generation of STEM teachers.

What a scary thought.

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7 Responses to Creationist Gives Huge Grant to Science University; What Does This Mean For the Future?

  1. Rodnikov Magilovich says:

    When a young person starts to research and select the Universities that they will make an application to attend, I hope they used a scale of dis-credibility to rank them in the order of which they would not want to attend!

  2. Interesting idea Rod. I didn’t, personally, on any of my 4 schools in 7 years.

  3. ECA says:

    Whats also a good idea is to CHECK on transferable credits..
    CALL up the other schools and ask What portion can be transferred..

  4. ECA,

    That’s generally a good idea when researching any school.

    But, in this case, I’m not sure I’m that concerned about whether the grad students in Stevens can transfer their “Evolution: Just a Theory 101″ credits to other schools as much as I am about the possibility of such a course being offered, or more insidiously, bits and pieces and hints being strategically placed within a more traditional sounding science class.

    We can hope that 10 megabucks will not in any way influence the school’s curriculum. But, that is a lot of money from someone who donated 2 complete dinosaur fossils to a museum that teaches/preaches young earth creationism.

    And, Stevens doesn’t just teach science, they teach science to the next generation of our high school science teachers.

  5. ECA says:

    pART OF THE ideal in Sci, tends to be that Every thing is a theory..
    IF there was a final Comment of ENDING to an IDEA, it wouldnt be a theory..
    WE could ask DIRECT questions and wait for them to admit 1..like Gravity, WHICH is a theory..and catch them on that, (wont get me on it, i think it part Tidal forces)(MORE BEER)..

    but catching a NON-thinking person into a SCI discussion would disprove most of their OWN beliefs..

  6. ECA,

    That’s actually a very common misunderstanding of science. Facts exist in science. They are the observations. Theories are the explanations of the facts.

    Here are some examples:

    Fact: Light is observed to move at the same speed regardless of the motion and direction of the observer.

    Theory: General relativity explains that time slows down with motion.

    Fact: We observe that masses and energies come in discrete packets.

    Theory: Quantum theory explains that there are discrete quantum particles that are the smallest units.

    Fact: The fossil record shows that animals and plants change over time, that the species we see today evolved from other species.

    Theory: Natural selection explains the mechanism for the forces that shape the individual species. That there is variation within a species and that survival traits can be selected for by varying reproductive success.

    Theories are no longer called laws because we are more humble than we were in Newton’s time. But, we always had to make the theories (or laws) match the observed facts. That’s what grounds science within the observable universe and forces it to seek increasing validity and scope to explain ever more.

    P.S. Note that the facts do not need a theory to explain them. They simply are. They are true whether or not we can explain them. It is not the facts that scream out for explanation. It is us. We love to have the theory and the ability to explain what’s going on. But, not having that does not invalidate the facts.

  7. ECA says:

    cAN I GIVE ANOTHER EXPLANATION TO theory?

    Its What we see/understand on the subject at this point in time with the abilities we have in our hands.

    And this is a Interesting thought..As 1 scientist may have a great thought/idea/concept, and SHOWS what he see’s/understands, from HIS observations…then another Scientist, Reads this and See’s more/better/changes…Even a way to Disprove it..

    as long as its not Disproven, it can be Evaluated and examined, and added to.

    The problem tends to be those that WANT to disprove it, but dont use Science to do it.. they dont take it to the Science forums to discuss and evaluate..

    Im a conceptualist.. And I like seeing doing things with ALL the ideas..buty its based on my education and life experience. If I dont have a way to Do, create it…Im stuck, unless i can get someone to evaluate it and tell me That it wont work..

    As NOW, Im looking for a way to get/create a Air pressure turbine.. Going to make my own power gen, with Steam, recycling and solar…

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