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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.