Young Earth Creationists: Not The Only Source of Bad Decisions in Curricula

Based on what secularists are saying these days, you’d think that “creationists” are the source of all evil in our school curricula.

For better or worse, that’s not always the case.  Case in point comes from Dr. J. David Rodgers, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla.  In his 2002 monograph “Disappearing Practice Opportunities: Why are Owners and Engineering Taking Increased Risks?  What Can Be Done to Counter This Threat?” he says the following about the disappearance of engineering geology from the civil engineering curriculum:

Between 1975-2000 the requirement for engineering geology was inauspiciously removed from the required civil engineering curriculum.  In 1980 the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) superseded ECPD as the accreditation body for engineering curricula.  ABET soon embarked upon a program in cooperation with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) which polled practicing engineers to rank the relative importance of various coursework they had received to their everyday practice.  Practicing civil engineers ranked engineering geology lower than other civil engineering courses, especially structural engineering courses.  This should not have surprised anyone because only about 9% of civil engineering graduates find employment in geotechnical engineering, while slightly less than 40% use structures-related coursework in their everyday practice.  Geotechnical aspects of civil engineering are usually performed by external consultants.  ABET used these results of these polls to recommend “modernizing” the civil engineering curricula to phase out what it perceived to be outmoded courses and replace them with more relevant subject matter, especially offerings which emphasized computer methods.  Today only 4% of the accredited civil engineering programs require their undergraduates to take a course in engineering geology.  During the same interim (1975-2000) we have seen geology curriculums begin to phase out summer field geology courses and related field work because these courses are expensive to offer, remove professors from duties that generate external research support and are no considered career-enhancing.

He goes on at length on other forces that have influenced this process.

As one who has been involved with geotechnical engineering most of his working career and certainly as an “old earth creationist,” having a course in engineering geology would have been welcome.

The cause of science in our schools would be greatly advanced if its advocates would stick with its objective advancement rather than constantly emphasise a subjective ideology.  Getting better positioned luddites (like the environmentalists) to come to terms would help as well.  (An example of what happens when you don’t is here.)

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