4/11/2008

MAYDAY!


Actually, some evenings in April...but seriously, if you know anything about a "Don Patton, Ph.D", then I need to know about it!


Patton is a YEC (Young Earth Creationist) who is apparently an old crony of the Paluxy River hoaxster Carl Baugh, a loathsome character with phony credentials from a diploma mill who has been bilking people with accounts of humans coexisting with dinosaurs, all based on his willful misinterpretations of the fossil record.

Ordinarily, when these types visit my area, I attend, sniff around and ask pointed questions designed to undermine their credibility. In other words, I don't get too upset, but I do stand on principle.

Unfortunately, this time the YEC dog-and-pony show (sponsored by this local church) is apparently going to take place on successive evenings at my high school campus's theatre, right in the middle of our state testing period. The time, in other words, where we are supposed to uphold the mandated State Standards. Here's a sampling of the many standards that this Patton guy will effectively be undermining:

Life Science, 4d) Students know that evidence from geologic layers and radioactive dating indicates Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and that life on this planet has existed for more than 3 billion years.

Earth Science, 1b) Students know the evidence from Earth and moon rocks indicates that the solar system was formed from a nebular cloud of dust and gas approximately 4.6 billion years ago.

Earth Science, 3) Plate tectonics operating over geologic time has changed the patterns of land, sea, and mountains on Earth's surface

Earth Science, 8b) Students know how the composition of Earth's atmosphere has evolved over geologic time and know the effect of outgassing, the variations of carbon dioxide concentration, and the origin of atmospheric oxygen.

Biology, 8g) Students know how several independent molecular clocks, calibrated against each other and combined with evidence from the fossil record, can help to estimate how long ago various groups of organisms diverged evolutionarily from one another.

To put it bluntly, how in the hell am I supposed to do my job when this church-sponsored pseudoscientist parades onto my public high school campus in the evening, and (in the course of pushing his Young Earth views) basically calls our entire curriculum into question and paints teachers like me as purveyors of falsehoods?

Bottom line....I'm not going to take this lying down. Any of you with any in-depth knowledge of Patton's methods/arguments/agenda/sponsors, etc. please leave me a note in the comments, or else drop me a line privately at:

epigene13@gmail.com

Thanks in advance for supporting real science, and science education.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beelzebub speaks:
Is this how low it's gone? When I was in high school the most YEC I was exposed to was a talk that I voluntarily attended at a local JC auditorium, by someone -- can't even remember his name -- who later answered questions from a nonplused audience and then it was over in embarrassment.

I don't know Scott, my advice: just attend and fight the good fight.

Ian H Spedding FCD said...

Judging from a quick trawl through Google, he looks like a fairly typical 'Paluxy footprints' Gish-gallop, creation 'geologist'. I assume you've already found what's available.

A few suggestions off the top of my head (there's a lot of room there now the hair has gone)

This about leaving some sort of an impression on a largely unsympathetic audience when you'll probably only have a few minutes at best to make a point, so you need to fra...use the right tactics.

Be firm but don't get angry. You'll only look rattled.

Assert, don't argue. I know this goes against the grain but this is going to be about PR not pedagogy. People are impressed by positive even if they don't agree. You probably won't get much of a chance to debate anyway.

Have a few pithy one-liners prepared attacking his main points. Just like in the movies, you need the 'money shot' that will stick in people's minds. For example:

No human bones in dinosaur bellies. With all the dinosaur skeletons we have now we should have found that as humans would have been easy prey. That's obvious from Jurassic Park

No dinosaur ribs with human teeth-marks or tool-marks on them. Dinosaurs would have made good eating as we can see in The Flintstones.

Footprints most likely weathered dinosaur tracks and hoaxes.

Try to imply that this is tired old creationism that has been dealt with long ago.

Besides, shouldn't a good Christian be more interested in The Rock Of Ages that the age of rocks?

Eamon Knight said...

If he tries to claim that Glen Kuban destroyed the Paluxy "man-tracks", call him a slandering liar to his face.

Aaron said...

Just call him a liar, period.

I don't know if the old dog has any new tricks -- but get some people that are familiar with Answers In Genesis tactics / counterpoints in there. I'd do it but I doubt I live anywhere near you.

Print out the Talk Origins "Counters to creationist claims", index it with tabs, and every point he brings up either immediately refute it or just find it in the book, mark it on a notepad, and bring it up at the end during the Q&A.

Last time I squared off with an AiG speaker we had a laptop and wifi, so I could research what he was saying on the Internet DURING the speech, and i kept notes about the things he said along with the counter arguments.

Be specific though and never answer with a pause or "i don't know" -- they will capitalize on it that they have somehow stumped you, and by proxy, proven they are correct. (even though this is a totally fallacious line of reasoning, their patrons often will not notice or care).

Have refutations AND counter-points ready. You need to be aggressive when firing back to put him on the defensive -- if people see that he's not as knowledgeable as he says he is, then their confidence in everything else he says will be shaken. Kids are smart people and they can often detect a fraud when the see one -- sometimes they just need help seeing it.

Get more people involved with you too -- I like PZ's suggestions, but really the more the merrier -- if you're the only person he can just ignore you and ask other people. But if you get a bunch of different people and plant them randomly around the audience, he'll be less likely to know who's a "safe" question before they ask it.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Find out a few specific claims Patton makes, and be prepared with unbeatable rebuttals. For example, if he should happen to still be pushing the Paluxy "man-tracks" (and I don't know if he does"), Have a copy of Arguments we think creationists should NOT use - from Answers in Genesis. That a creationist position is too stupid even for AiG should impress the audience.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Quote mining by Don Patton

R. Schauer said...

As a Hatfield relation I have this suggestion: first, remind them of the story of the Hatfields and McCoys. Then, simply say you are a Hatfield and that, genetically, you are predisposed to shooting liars. Next, mention that you have a sixth sense for sensing liars and your sixth sense has brought you there this evening. The crowd will love it...but leave the hog-leg at home. Good-luck!

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Artifacts of Live Dinosaurs, some interacting with Humans
courtesy of Dr. Javier Cabrera (Professor of Medicine) and Dr. Don Patton (Geologist)

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

ASA (American Scientific Affiliate) is a group of Christians who find the YEC claims to extreme. This is another source that might be used to impress an audience about the dubiousness of Patton's claims.

Patten or Patton
"There are two creationists with similar names. Don Patten and Don Patton
are, I believe, two different people. The Don Patton who is accusing
Glen Kuban of destroying one of the Paluxy tracks does not have a
legitimate PhD, so far as I know, but he continues to claim one. I am
awaiting his response to a message I sent him on his absolutely
slanderous charges against Glen Kuban, but he will be out of town until
the 11th (or so he told me in an initial response). I don't know much
about Don Patten, but Don Patton nauseates me. He appears to me as
little more than a snake oil salesman."

Don Patton's lies

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

"Darwin was wrong!
Scientists Defend Creation

by Geologist, Don R. Patton, Ph.D.

Seminar Documentation of Quotes
..."

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Evolutionist-Converting Video Lectures featuring Don Patton

with RealAudio clips

Ian H Spedding FCD said...

Might be worth contacting North Texas Skeptics and Dr William D Stansfield, too. Both seem to have had dealings with this character.

Damian said...

The Fossil Record, mainly stuff from AIG, but all in one place.

The Fossil Record: Does Not Support Evolution But Is Positive Evidence For Creation!, by Don Patton:

"An important message from Dr. Patton regarding these quotes: I use most of these quotes as handouts to provide documentation for my lecture series."

Damian said...

This is what you are looking for, Scott:

"The Fossil Record" Creation/Evolution Seminar by Don Patton, PhD

"The Fossil Man" Creation/Evolution Seminar by Don Patton, PhD.

These are 5 min previews. You can watch the full lectures if you download the free VeohTV.

I hope that these things will be useful for you. Good luck! And thanks for doing what you do.

Josh in California said...

Ugh. He's coming to Fresno State, too. I'm going to talk to some folks I know in the biology and physics departments. Hopefully I'll be able to find some folks in geology who are interested in debunking this clown.

Richard said...

In the business world, we refer to this as 'an opportunity'!

And an excellent one at that!!

Anonymous said...

Scott,

The problem often found is that people wish to hammer on the YEC in the form of belittlement, versus positing that science is slowly peeling back what He created without necessarily answering exactly how.

Like PZ posted on the other day, a snake with legs. Heaven forbid!

But look at what scripture says; parse the words - I'll use the NKJV

Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You [are] cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

Monika said...

I think it is time for a ROAD TRIP!!! Anyone interested in carpooling from San Jose? I've alway wanted to visit Fresno!

jimmiraybob said...

This is a link to North Texas Skeptics that seems to have some particulars that could help.

Techskeptic said...

Play Bingo!

I know I keep pushing this idea around, but I can't get over the idea in my head that these stupid lectures would be put down easier if the they encountered 2-5 people yelling out bingo every once in a while.

Make pamphlets, hand em out!

Techskeptic said...

Play Bingo!

I know I keep pushing this idea around, but I can't get over the idea in my head that these stupid lectures would be put down easier if the they encountered 2-5 people yelling out bingo every once in a while.

Make the bingo pamphlets with explainations, hand em out!

jimmiraybob said...

His credentials are a tad suspect. In other words, he appears to have no actual credentials that would qualify him as a geologist. I would query him thusly.

From his bio @ the Sun Garden COC site:

Education:

• Four years, Florida College, Temple Terrace, FL (Bible)

• Two years, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN (Geology)[my comment: No dates & no degree listed]

• Two years, Indiana Univ./Purdue Univ., Indianapolis, IN (Geology)[my comment: No dates & no degree listed]

• Two years, Pacific School of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Australia (Education)

• Ph.D. in Education granted 12/10/1993
[my comment: Institution?]


Both Austin Peay State University and Indiana Univ./Purdue University have geo-science programs. Both currently offer a B.S in geology but no graduate degrees. If he only spent two years at each school, neither of which offer advanced degrees, the most likely outcome might be one undergrad degree having attended both schools to get there. If he'd actually attained a degree I'd think that he'd make sure that it was listed on a resume at the Sun Garden COC site. Could be worth checking.

I found a Ed Brayton posted comment at American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) Ca. 1998, but some of what he says appears to be for a Dr. Patten – wrong guy. But click to the next comment (by Glenn R. Morton, Ca. 1998) and there’s a link to a page written by Glen J. Kuban (1989 Updated: 6/05, 6/06, 09/06) which contains mostly updated info on Carl Baugh (see Talk Origins link) by also has this comment:

Perhaps not surprisingly, around 1990 Don Patton also began to claim a Ph.D. in Education from Wilson's school. [my comment: apparently an unaccredited institution - see Kuban comments below]

Morton also states:

Don Patton lives here in Dallas. I have had lunch with him a couple of times and have attended the local creationist conferences. For a Ph.D. in geology (which he didn't have in 1986 when I first met him) he knows darn little geology. Doesn't know what a right-lateral fault is. [My comment: To not know what a right lateral fault is would strongly suggest that he has no degree in geology....and hasn't read an intro geology textbook.]

There are more comments in the thread that may also provide info.

Here’s the Kuban paper posted at Talk Origins Ca. 1989 (with bonus Carl Baugh credentials discussion):

Don Patton's Alleged Credentials
Since early 1989, Don Patton, a close associate of Carl Baugh and leader of Metroplex Institute of Origins Science (MIOS) near Dallas, has claimed a Ph.D. (or "Ph.D. candidacy") in geology from Queensland Christian University in Australia.[33] However, QCU is another unaccredited school linked to Clifford Wilson. [34] When questioned about this at a recent MIOS meeting, Patton indicated that he was aware of some problems relating to QCU, and was withdrawing his Ph.D. candidacy.[35]
However, the printed abstracts of the 1989 Bible-Science conference in Dayton, Tennessee (where Patton gave two talks) stated that he was a Ph.D. candidacy in geology, and implied that he has at least four degrees from three separate schools.[36] When I asked Patton for clarification on this during the conference, he stated that he had no degrees, but was about to receive a Ph.D. degree in geology, pending accreditation of QCU, which he assured me was "three days away."[37] Many days have since passed, and Patton still has no valid degree in geology. Nor is the accreditation of QCU imminent. Australian researcher Ian Plimer reported, "PCI, QPU, PCT, and PCGS have no formal curriculum, no classes, no research facilities, no calendar, no campus, and no academic staff....Any Ph.D. or Ph.D. candidacy at QPU by Patton is fraudulent."[38]
With surprising boldness, Carl Baugh recently appeared on a radio talk show in Texas claiming the same degrees discussed above, plus a new "Ph.D. candidacy in paleoanthropology from Pacific College." Baugh complained that critics were now attacking his credentials and those of other fine creationists, including "Dr. Don Patton."[39]

References
[33] Patton made this claim at some MIOS meetings attended by Ron Hastings. A video tape distributed by MIOS in 1989 stated that Patton had a doctorate degree in geology, although MIOS leaders later told Hastings that this was an error, and that they meant to state that Patton was a "Ph.D candidate" (Ron Hastings, communication).
[34] Plimer, Ian, FAX transmission from Australia, August 14, 1989.
[35] Hastings, Ron, personal communication, August 1989.
[36] Bryan '89 , National Conference on Biblical Origins, August 10-12, 1989, at Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee, sponsored by the Bible-Science Association and Bryan College, printed program and abstracts, p. 20. The program stated (misspelling Patton's name): "Mr. Patton received degrees from Florida College, Tampa, Florida, and he also received a degree in Geology from Austin Peay in Tennessee and from Indiana State University.
[my comment: his currently listed Sun Garden bio lists two years at each school but lists no degrees. Very suspicious.] He is in the final step of obtaining his doctoral degree from Queensland University in Australia." The person introducing Patton before his talk corrected the misspelling of Patton's name but not the errors regarding his degrees.
[37] Personal communication, Don Patton, August 12, 1989. Patton made what I consider his most revealing comment when I asked him whether he thought misrepresenting credentials in general was a serious matter. Patton replied that to him it was not, since it is a matter of "buyer beware."
[my emphasis] (Evidently he considers the public to be "buyers"). Buyer beware indeed!
[38] See reference 34.
[39] Baugh, Carl E., during "Talk Etc." radio program, KCBI, F.M. 90.9, August 16, 1989, with hosts Carl Singer and Johanna Fischer, Criswell Radio Network, Arlington, Texas. On the same program Baugh promoted the "man tracks" and questionable artifacts from what the host inadvertently, but appropriately, called Baugh's "Creative Evidences Museum."


Professional Credentials
He is not listed at the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists web site (searched “Patton” & “Dallas”). It should be noted that “Unless an exemption applies, it is unlawful to engage in the public practice of geoscience in Texas without having been issued a license by the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists.”

Corporate Credentials
His Sun Garden bio lists Patton as Consulting Geologist & Partner in Mazada Corporation, Dallas, TX. A Google search turned up nothing for that name. I also checked the Texas Secretary of State Corporations web site – I couldn’t find a listing of corporations and tried a site search which turned up nothing.

Richard said...

Any side bets that someone gets wind of Scott's preparation and decides to cancel?

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

I thank the many commenters here for helping me and other science educators out.

Mike said...

Take props!!! Take a rock, fossil, or something that anyone with a geology or even basic science degree should be able to explain. Just ask simple questions and have fun with the whacky answers you get. It works for Gallagher and Carrot Top.

Anonymous said...

Try looking them up at http://ecpa.cpa.state.tx.us/coa/Index.html

Joshua C said...

How long will it take for you guys to figure out science?Big bang,Darwin,Monkeys?I credit all my school science teachers with all the above.The only thing they are really sure of is at what temp water freezes.You continue to look and search for something when it is written out for you in the bible.Cant wait to see all at school.

John cog said...

Hi I am a student at Bullard high also I am a member at the local church that will be meeting at Bullard. first let me just say that I am probably getting in over my head and I am sure there will be a lot of rebuttal to this post but I am just putting this out there. We(Sun Garden Church of Christ) are not out to offend or try to make change someones beliefs or to force our belief on any one. we are just trying to offer a free lecture on why we think there is a God and back it up with some proofs. to any one that wants to hear. we are not trying to force people to go. and further more I beg, no I challenge all of you who read this to attend even if your soul purpose or trying to prove him wrong, who know you might even convert people to your cause. don will talk for 30min and then have a Q and A: for another 30min where he is open to any questions you might have. and finally I respectfully ask that if you do attend this meeting for what ever reason that you do so with some respect to us as fellow humans trying to find a meaning on this earth. so save your comments for the
Q and A

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

To other commenters: the last post (john cog) is from a former student of mine. He is a responsible and serious-minded young man, and I hold him and his family in high regard. I'm going to reply to him privately, and I would appreciate it if any criticism directed his way take the high road.

Thanks...SH

Anonymous said...

Regarding Patton's degree, see http://www.bible.ca/tracks/degree.htm

Regardless of the degree issue, it appears that the guy has taken his courses and has experience in the field. I think the best tactic here is to go to this meeting and ask questions on the science he presents. It won't do us any good if we go and heckle because we'll just look like we're the closed-minded ones, not them. If he can't answer the questions we will have done our job.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you could get a debate with Patton? I think that would be your best opportunity to show him up. You know they're going to control the Q & A and you won't have enough time to really chip away at the stone.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Regardless of the degree issue, it appears that the guy has taken his courses and has experience in the field.

Appearances can be deceiving. You will note that his 'CV' does not actually list any degrees in science. It simply says that he studied geology at those institutions. Previously, he claimed he was a graduate student in a Ph.D program in geology, which would mean that he had a bachelor's and a master's in some science. But those particular degrees aren't listed. Also, the Ph.D he does claim now is in education, rather than in science, and it appears to have been given by an unaccredited school whose president is Carl Baugh, who is also a creationist, also pushing the Paluxy River fossil argument.

That's kind of curious, isn't it?

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Any chance you could get a debate with Patton? I think that would be your best opportunity to show him up. You know they're going to control the Q & A and you won't have enough time to really chip away at the stone.

I kind of doubt that. Mr. Patton isn't here to debate anyone. His main purpose is to promote his views on a controversial topic on which he claims to offer insight. The church that is sponsoring him no doubt agrees with his views, since it reinforces their YEC, and they probably hope that the publicity associated with this effort will draw people to their church.

Besides, Patton portrays himself as highly qualified and a professional geologist. Given his views, why would he take a chance on debating anyone who wasn't also a Ph.D? I'm just a high school science teacher, after all.

Anonymous said...

According to the link I provided earlier, it appears that the school was accredited when Patton received his degree. Is that not the way you read it? Explain.

So, how does he become staff geologist at Qumran, area supervisor at City of David, national lecturer for 25 years, etc all the stuff in his cv with questionable credentials?

To tell you the truth, I've known people without degrees who had more knowledge and ability than others who had degrees. So the bottom line is, degrees at accredited schools or not, can you outmatch his knowledge and experience? How would you do in a debate with him? Can/will you take him on.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Guess I didn't refresh and read before my last post.

Well, if you know anyone qualified locally (like a Ph.D.)I think they should challenge him to a debate. I think it would be pretty sad for the opportunity to slip away. Other Skeptics might think CVAAS members aren't up to the task!

So, are we going to organize an opposition or just play it cool?

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

So, how does he become staff geologist at Qumran, area supervisor at City of David, national lecturer for 25 years, etc all the stuff in his cv with questionable credentials?

I don't know, but I'm not sure we're thinking critically about this. First of all, who is the organization that declares that Patton is a 'staff geologist'? Is it a scientific organization, or is it one whose primary affiliation and interest is with defending the Bible? Does Patton have a track record of publication with any recognized scholarly journal in geology or archaeology? Nothing like that is provided in his CV.

As for being a 'national lecturer', that's easy. All you have to do is appear on college campuses at the behest of some private group, probably religious. It isn't CSU Fresno that's invited Patton to speak on their campus. It's a local church that's ponying up the dough for the facilities, no doubt in the hopes of making an evangelical inroad into the campus population, not to mention garnering some publicity for a controversial topic.

In other words, Patton's appearance is primarily a catspaw for a sectarian religious agenda. That's not illegal, but it's hardly the stuff of which an academic career is made and (this is my point) it's unethical to imply otherwise.

You wrote:

To tell you the truth, I've known people without degrees who had more knowledge and ability than others who had degrees.

Sure. But the issue with the credentials is not whether or not he is qualified, but whether or not he is honest in how he presents himself. Christians should value telling the truth and should disassociate themselves from those who habitually dissemble about their qualifications.

So the bottom line is, degrees at accredited schools or not, can you outmatch his knowledge and experience? How would you do in a debate with him? Can/will you take him on.

If given the opportunity to formally debate the guy, I would accept because I feel it is my obligation as a Christian and a scientist. I don't lack for confidence in such a setting. I just doubt that such an exchange will happen, for the reasons I noted previously. But I do intend to attend his events, ask tough questions and make sure people understand that his agenda is not compatible with the state science standards. I think anyone else who feels strongly about this should also make it their business to do the same thing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hatfield

From: Dad Cog

Thank you for your kind words about my son and family. It has always been the desire of this family and my belief to look at all things with an objective eye and not with subjective feelings.

I was so proud of my son when I read his comment on your blog, why you ask? because he did not come to me and ask me if he should do this. It make me aware that he is in the process of making his faith his own and owning it. I am sure your parents felt the same way or you would not have placed items in your blog about your dad.

I am asking that should you attend or encourage others to, that you and they will be kind and respectful of others thoughts and feelings, we are. We have set time aside to address Pros and Cons in an Q & A fourm. It appears to me in the public fourm that allows the exchange of ideas, concept and believes that it can be powerful and moving.

I am confident that Mr. Patton will take the time to address all concerns Pro and Con in a positive dialogue that can and will benifit all in attendance.

Should you wish to have an open debate with him I will do every thing in my power to arrange for you.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration.

Eric R. Cogdill Dad Cog
Lodgingto@aol.com

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Eric:

While I don't really have anything to do with it, I not only understand the pride you feel in your son, but I feel an inkling of pride myself, in that he is a former student of mine and would take the time to interact with me in the way that he did. You should definitely feel proud!

Regarding a formal debate with your Mr. Patton: I will address that privately, via e-mail.

SH

Anonymous said...

Why do all of you care anyways? No one is asking you to believe what this man is talking about. Why don't you get your own lectures together to talk about what you believe to be true. As far as using Bullard High's Cafeteria... that should not be a big deal because 7 o'clock is after school hours.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Um....I'm a high school science teacher. It would be entirely inappropriate for me to hold an evening seminar, especially at my own high school, to promote my private religious views. I'd almost certainly get in trouble if I did, and deservedly so.

Anonymous said...

Why do scientists and concerned citizens care if charlatans like Don Patton pretend to have science degrees and make false claims in support of creationism? Because scientifically illiterate people sometimes believe such tripe, and teachers like Scott have to waste precious time debunking creationist B.S. instead of teaching actual science. And scientists have to waste time countering bogus creationist claims made in front of school boards and textbook committees. Too, many of the scientifically illiterate vote based on the creationist scat they've been fed, and their actions trash our science textbooks and our potential to remain a scientific power in the world.

For several years now, Patton has held monthly meetings in the Dallas area under the name of "Metroplex Institute of Origin Science". Using the term "Institute" might imply to some that there is an actual building in which the group is based, but for many years the creationists simply reserved a room at a recreation center for a monthly meeting. I believe they now meet after work hours at a medical building to which a sympathizer has access.

I recall getting a misleading business card from Patton that would lead the unwary into believing he had a PhD in geology - but I learned otherwise when I checked into the bogus degree claims for both Patton and self-proclaimed "Dr." Carl Baugh, his close colleague and fellow charlatan from Glen Rose, Texas.

Patton tries to convey the impression that he has valid credentials in geology. If I recall correctly, he also touts membership in the Geological Society of America. That probably sounds pretty impressive to the average Joe, until you realize that for $30 or so, you too (or your cat or your dog) can be a member. No training in geology needed.

I suspect that any supposed geology work by Patton in the Middle East was probably in association with another creationist colleague, Clifford Wilson, whom you've already read about in this thread in association with Baugh's bogus science degrees and unaccredited "Alma Maters". When I was trying to track down the schools of Baugh and Wilson, I found that Sunday was the best time to call, when the churches were preparing for services. One such "university" was a Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas (Baugh's website had - and may still have - a photo of the "university" with his so-called dissertation, with the church sign conveniently cropped from view). There was no sign on the outside indicating that it was a "university". When a university is touted as a Missouri-based Texas extension of an Australian university, or words to that effect, chances are it is not an accredited school from which to get a science degree. A degree in Christian Education to wow members of Fundamentalist churches, maybe, but not science.

Both Baugh and Patton continue to tout alleged "man-tracks" alongside dinosaur tracks exposed by the Paluxy River near Glen Rose. The Institute for Creation Research (at least they have a building for their Institute!) used to promote the "man-tracks" as well, until scientists and a high school teacher from the area publicized the actual data enough (they were mostly dino tracks in which the toe marks were back-filled with mud when the dino made the track) that the ICR finally backed down. Even the Young-Earth creationist group Answers In Genesis even disavows citing the "man-tracks" as evidence for creationism.

Look at all the time we've wasted here because a church full of creationists couldn't spend 5 minutes checking the veracity of Patton's claims online. And even when Scott Hatfield has posted enough info to warrant skepticism of Patton's claims, creationists persist in thinking Patton has valid academic credentials in science.

You can lead a creationist to data, but you can't make him think.

Anonymous said...

Scott,
It's amazing what you can discover when you go to the source. The following is what I recall from a recent conversation with him. I hope I have all the details correct. If not, then I stand to be corrected.

The reason Don Patton doesn't have Geology degrees at the universities he attended is very simple. He was working on his degree while also laboring as in itinerant preacher and wasn't able to finish the degree before moving on to preach for a church in another city. At one of the universities he was just 3 units short of his degree when he moved. Because the coursework requirements were different at the different schools he essentially had to start over and re-take courses just to fulfill the new requirements.

The reason he has given for not getting his Ph.D. at a college in the U.S. is that it is very difficult to have a Ph.D. conferred when you are a known believer and proponent of YEC. It's all about the politics of the science establishment in the U.S. (See "Expelled" if you doubt this is true.)

He had enough college coursework hours to qualify for acceptance in a Ph.D. program, so he enrolled with the Pacific School of Graduate Studies in Australia. He chose PSG for several reasons. 1)At the time, he was living in an area where it would be difficult to receive the Ph.D. from a local university (as mentioned above). 2)He was traveling abroad and working in the field as a geologist. 3)Because unlike other schools in the U.S., PSG would not deny his degree based on his YEC beliefs.

He was attempting to complete his Ph.D. in Geology at PSG when problems arose in the school's Geology program. Since he had already done so much work on the degree and did not want to completly start over he decided to change/convert his degree to a Ph.D. in Education. This required him to make changes in his coursework and in his doctoral dissertation, but it was far less work than completely starting the process over. He would have preferred to have recieved the degree in Geology, but the dynamics of his life at the time were such that he needed to complete the degree on schedule.

In all, he has more hours in Geology than any other discipline and is well qualified to be considered a professional geologist. His CV is not replete with the details that academics expect to find because he does not see the need to impress anyone for political purposes and is not seeking a position in academia. He is confident and content with the work that he does as a lecturer, geologist, and preacher and does not fear those who speak against him.

If you have questions about Dr. Patton you should contact him directly, as I have.

Anonymous said...

From other searches, I found a claim that Patton did the Qumran stuff with Randall Price, another creationist. Here's a bit from Randall Price on his search for Noah's Ark:

http://www.worldofthebible.com/update.htm

Don't take anything these creationists say at face value. If they designate themselve as having won "Outstanding Educator" or somesuch, chances are they paid to have their name listed in a vanity publication. When they're not manufacturing bogus academic degrees, they're making up other things that sound impressive to the gullible.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

An anonymous commenter has left a detailed justification for the curiosities in Patton's 'CV'. All of the justification apparently proceeds from the source, which is to say Mr. Patton himself.

This is circular reasoning. You can't prove the legitimacy of Mr. Patton's credentials by asking him. You have to provide independent corroboration. Presuming that you are a member of Sun Garden Church of Christ, consider: if you are bringing in a speaker with a controversial message and tying the credibility of your church or school to that speaker's credibility, you should make every effort to confirm their claims in an independently verifiable manner. You guys aren't doing that. You're relying on the guy selling the horse without looking in the horse's mouth.

Notice that he is appealing to the idea that there is a conspiracy to keep Christians out of the conversation, particularly YEC. With all due respect, I think this is a terrible argument. I know of no instance in which a graduate student in any science has been denied a Ph.D because of their YEC views, and I know of at least two Ph.D's in paleontontology who earned the same while openly identifying themselves as YEC's. I have no problem admitting that there are, in fact, legitimate, intelligent, highly-educated YEC scientists who hold legitimate degrees and who do legitimate science. So far I have seen no independent evidence that would corroborate the claim that Mr. Patton fits in that category.

Now, you appear pre-disposed by your worldview to give Mr. Patton the benefit of the doubt and accept what amounts to special pleading on a number of particulars. That's all well and good, but ask yourself this: which is the more extraordinary claim, that one individual might not have legitimate credentials or that there is a worldwide conspiracy to deny this individual a legitimately-earned credential? The fact is, the latter claim is the more extraordinary claim, and much harder to demonstrate than the former claim is to test. It's much easier to attempt to independently verify one man's claims about his education. Don't you think you should check that claim out first, rather than accept the more extraordinary counter-claim upfront?

Since you appear to have direct access to Mr. Patton, perhaps you might consider asking him for some independent verification. Sooner or later, someone outside your church is going to ask, and if his answers don't jive with reality, your church is going to look foolish. Instead of winning souls to Christ, you will have brought shame on His church on Earth. Jesus said the truth will make you free, and I urge you to test the spirits, to see whether they are of God, or not. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the photo of the church presently known as "The Church at Burleson" (on Wilshire in Burleson, Texas) is still up at Baugh's website: http://www.texoma.com/~linesden/cem/diss/disv1fr.htm

Baugh refers to it as "Texas Extension (Burleson, Texas): Pacific International University and Pacific College of Graduate Studies (Missouri Charter)"

Anon (the one defending Patton), you're being hoodwinked by creationist charlatans. I realize Patton and colleagues are smooth talkers, and they've learned to snow those who are sympathetic to their claims on religious grounds, but "ye shall know them by their fruits" - they're peddling bovine manure. If you're growing mushrooms at your church, it may be just what you need, but you still shouldn't swallow what they're selling. And your trying to pick up their bull patties "on the clean side" just isn't going to work out too well in the end.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to quote the part of Baugh's site that explicitly tied the Missouri/Texas mishmash "university" to Australia:

"Submitted to Pacific College of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A."

Wear your boots to any lectures by Baugh, Patton or Clifford Wilson. And scrape 'em off good afterward.

R. Moore said...

Well I guess "Anon" stands corrected. Now will they be willing to admit it?

yoyo said...

I attended the talk Donald Patten had. I chose not to include the Dr. part because i honestly do not believe that he deserves to be called DR. I did some research on him and found that he doesn't have the credentials to make the statements that he is making let alone give himself the title of Dr. One thing that he said that shocked me was, " Darwin's work was all plagiarized, it was copied from his father." He also had some sources that were from wikipedia which everyone knows, is not a reliable source. I met with him after the talk and spoke to him about what he had discussed. It appears that just by wearing a suit, slicking your hair back, and having a briefcase, you can call yourself a doctor because this guy could not give me any reasonable answers. By reasonable, i don't mean answers that i want to hear, i mean answers that could back his beliefs. All he told me was that he would talk about the subject in the next talk. So i went and asked him in the next talk and he said, " No more questions." So, this so-called Dr. Patten guy is just a title created by a creationist. He created his title, Dr. Don Patten, and created a lot of B.S, with the help of some rhetoric skills, in which people are manipulated to believe. This guy is a fake and nothing he says should be considered to be true, unless he says that he made up the whole idea of him being a Dr., because that we already know is true!

James Younan

Ediacaran said...

Here's what was on a business card I received from Patton several years ago:

MAZADA CORPORATION
DON R. PATTON, PH.D
Consulting Geologist
813 Trails Parkway
Garland, TX 75043 (214)279-5325

I'm not sure he has a valid Bachelor Degree or Master's Degree in anything, either. Here are a few more sources on the net of interest in the matter:

http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/e286a7c9e4aec8d1

http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/mioscreationscienceed.htm

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