A Matter of Degree

An Examination of Carl Baugh's Alleged Credentials

(C) 1989-2012, Glen J. Kuban (Updated: 6/05, 6/06, 09/06, 03/12)

Originally published inNCSE Reports Vol 9, No. 6, Nov-Dec. 1989.


Texas "man track" enthusiast Carl E. Baugh claims to have "degrees in theology" as well as advanced degrees in science. Baugh's "man track" claims have been evaluated and refuted on the basis of the physical evidence alone[1,2], but an examination of Baugh's claimed credentials is warranted as well, since by claiming them, Baugh has linked their validity to his scientific credibility and integrity. The issue not is whether Baugh should have a particular degree, but whether the claimed degrees are legitimate and have been represented accurately.

Although questions have been raised before about Baugh's science degrees[3] (and will be expanded upon here), even Baugh's claimed theology degrees appear overstated. The theology degree most frequently claimed by Baugh is a " Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from the California Graduate School of Theology (CGST),"[4,5,6]. Baugh described this as an "earned degree" (implying normal course work and graduation). However, a former close associate of Baugh's stated that the degree was "not real, but honorary"[7]. More significantly, a dean of the school reports that according to school records, Baugh never attended the school nor received any credential from it--honorary or otherwise[8]. In recent years Baugh has stopped claiming a degree from CGST, but provided no explanation for past claims and inconsistencies.

A December 1986 "vita" by Baugh did not mention the degree from CGST, but did list "1959, Bachelor of Arts, Burton College" and "1983, Master of Arts, Luther Rice in Conjunction with Pacific College of Graduate Studies."[9] I have not been able to verify the existence of Burton College. At the time of Baugh's claimed degree, Luther Rice was an unaccredited seminary in Jacksonville, Florida (it later received accreditation from TRACS* in 1989). A representative from Luther Rice indicated that Baugh graduated in 1984 with an M.A. in "Biblical archaeology...through our Australian extension ...since we don't a degree in that."[10] However, the "Australian extension" appears questionable at best, and is related to Baugh's science degrees as well (explained below).

The specific science degrees claimed by Baugh (or attributed to him) have varied somewhat from account to account[11,12,13,14]. In recent years Baugh has claimed a "Masters Degree in Archaeology from Pacific College" and a "Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Anthropology from College of Advanced Education."[15]

Baugh gave the location of the College of Advanced Education (CAE) as Irving, Texas; however, the Chamber of Commerce, and Department of Taxation, and phone directory in Irving have no record of the school.[16] When pressed by an assistant for the address of CAE, Baugh gave it as "2355 West Pioneer, Irving, TX, 75061" and indicated that its dean was Dr. Don Davis.[17]. The address appears on a small house in Irving, located next to Sherwood Baptist Church, whose pastor is Rev. Don Davis. Davis indicated that CAE is a "missions" school, with no science classes or facilities.[18] The school is not accredited by any national or regional agency, nor certified by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (which must be obtained to legally grant degrees in Texas). In fact, none of the educational organizations that I contacted had ever heard of the school.[19]

Rev. Davis explained that Baugh's anthropology degree was granted "through" CAE, "under the auspices of Clifford Wilson in Australia."[20] However, the reason for this curious arrangement was not explained, and the connection to Wilson (discussed below) only further undermines the validity of the degree.

A copy of Baugh's CAE "diploma" (furnished by Baugh) indicates that CAE is the "Graduate Division" of International Baptist College (IBC).[21] IBC is incorporated in Missouri (where Baugh lived before coming to Texas); however, the school is not accredited, nor certified to grant degrees in any subject.[22] In fact, IBC appears to be as lacking in science facilities and courses as CAE. When I called IBC in 1986, the man answering the phone stated that IBC is a correspondence school for Bible studies based on cassette tapes by Jerry Falwell.[23] Further, the letterhead of IBC listed Baugh himself as "President."[24] Thus, it appears that Baugh essentially granted himself a science degree from a branch of his own unaccredited Bible school.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Baugh's doctoral "dissertation" is largely a compilation of anti-evolutionary arguments on the origin of man, and includes an extensive section on missions that consists of literature by others which was photocopied and inserted.[25]

Pacific College Incorporated (a.k.a Pacific College of Graduate Studies and Pacific International University)[26], from which Baugh claims a master's degree in archaeology, traces to a small, private, religious school in Australia, whose president is Clifford Wilson.[27] Ian Plimer, a member of the Australian Research Council and professor of geology at Newcastle University, reported that PCI is not accredited or authorized to grant degrees. Plimer stated, "Any degrees from this 'College' are illegal in Australia and are clearly being used fraudulently in the U.S.A.[28]

Clifford Wilson, is--or was--a close associate of Baugh,[29] and evidently was a partner of Baugh in IBC. Wilson's name was listed, along with Baugh's, on the incorporation papers for IBC. Wilson also was originally listed as "Vice President, International Studies" on the letterhead of IBC,[30] and the location of IBC was given as Melbourne, Australia on a metal plaque displayed at Baugh's first "man track" site.[31] Moreover, a recent booklet by Baugh states that Baugh received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the College of Advanced Education in conjunction with Pacific International University (emphasis added).[32] Thus, all of Baugh's alleged science degrees seem to trace circuitously back to Baugh himself and his partner Wilson--through their own unaccredited religious schools and/or branches of them.

Last, there is no evidence that Baugh has even a undergraduate degree in any field of science.

Not having science degrees is no crime; however, misrepresenting one's credentials is another matter. Baugh's alleged science degrees appear to be as groundless as his "man track" claims, and ought to be of serious concern to his fellow creationists.

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 that PCI, QPU, PCT, and PCGS had no formal science curriculum, classes, research facilities, academic staff, nor even a campus. Plimer conconcluded, "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]

June 2005- Aug. 2006 Update

The Pacific International University Website says that Baugh has "numerous degrees." Baugh's own 2005 - 2006 website lists the following degrees for himself:

Doctor of Theology (2005, Louisiana Baptist University)
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (1989, Pacific College of Graduate Studies)
Masters in Archaeology (1984, Pacific College of Graduate Studies)
Bachelor of Arts (1961, Burton College)
Graduate of Theology (1959, Baptist Bible College, Valedictorian)

In comparing this to previous claims by Baugh we notice first the alleged 2005 doctorate from LBU, and omission of the previously claimed masters in Arts from Luther Rice Seminary, and no mention of a Ph.D. from the "College of Advanced Education."

In regards to the source of Baugh's latest claimed degree: Lousiana Baptist University , Bill Butler, who has researched LBU in connection with alleged degrees by strict creationist Jason Gastrich, reports that LBU is "widely regarded as a diploma mill." It not listed by either the U. S. Dept. of Education or by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation), as are virtually all other valid insitutions of higher learning in America.

Although Baugh now claims a "graduate" credential from Baptist Bible College; this is evidently not a degree. Baugh does not give the location of the school. There are at least two schools named Baptist Bible College (one in PA, another in MO). Neither were accredited in 1959, nor have verified that Baugh attended let alone was valedictorian.

The doctorate of Education degree Baugh began claiming around 1990, soon after his questionable science degrees were exposed. Ironically, the source of this degree is the same as some of his previous dubious credentials, (and the only science degree he still claims--a masters in archaeology): Wilson's small religious school, Pacific International University (PIU), formerly often referredto as "Pacific College" or "Pacific College of Graduate Studies" (PCGS).

The problem for Baugh is, there is no evidence that Wilson's school has any authority to grant degrees in either science or education. The PIU website itself indicates the degrees it offers are in religion and psycholinguistics. Incidentally, of the short list of faculty members at the website, four have the name "Wilson", two others live in Texas, and one in Colorado. Curiously, as of 2006 the mailing address for PIU is given as a P.O. Box in Missouri (Baugh's original home state) rather than Australia, and even more interesting, Baugh is now listed as the president of PIU. Wilson is now listed as the "chancelor" in one section of the website, and in another section is still listed as president. Wilson's biography there states that he founded PCGS in 1980, "which was later subsumed in the United States by Pacific International University."

Evidently in an attempt to justify his questionable degrees in education and archaeology from PCGS/PIU, one of Baugh's web pages displays a letter from Clifford Wilson, dated December 1, 2005. The letterhead reads: from Wilson's "Pacific International University, in association with Pacific College of Graduate Studies (Missouri Chapter)." Addressed "Dear Dr. Baugh," the letter continues,

  
   "This certifies that your degree of Master of Archaeology was   
   awarded by Pacific College of Graduate Studies as representing  
   the Luther Rice Seminary. Luther Rice is fully accredited in  
   the United States."    
   
Aside from growing questions about where PIU (or its several synonyms) is officially located, this this statement leaves it ambiguous as to what its relationship is with Luther Rice and which school actually granted the degree. Any way you slice it, the degree appears questionable. The statement that LRS is accredited (it received accreditation from TRACS in 1988), obscures the fact that it was not accredited at the time Baugh's masters degree was ostensibly awarded (1983 or 1984, as discussed previously). Neither LRS nor the alleged Australian branch supposedly associated with Wilson's school was specifically accredited to grant masters degrees in archaeology, or by any evidence, had any real graduate program in that subject. The letter continues:
   
   "Your Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education was duly awarded by   
   Pacific College of Graduate Studies. Your original dissertation was   
   presented in the Fall of 1989, and your research in this field was   
   continued and reported to our faculty through the spring of 1994, as   
   our records reflect.  At the time of your continued and approved   
   research PCGS was accredited by the State of Victoria (Australia)   
   as the attached document shows."    

By now one may be sensing that Wilson's letter is sounding a bit contrived. First, it is a strange letter in view of the fact that Baugh is listed as president of the same univeristy. Second, if the letter was meant for Baugh rather than other readers, why the focus on accreditation? Third, Wilson seems unclear about when the degree was actually granted--1989, or 1994? Prior to 2005, Baugh's "Vita" on his website "Dissertation" website indicated that his dissertation was submitted in the Fall of 1989, and a copy of his so-called diploma showed the date "December 3, 1989." So by all evidence the school was not accredited when Baugh received the degree (even if it had science courses, which evidently it did not). One might wonder then why Wilson's letter attempts to push the date well beyond that. The reason for this will be apparent in a moment.

Note that almost no time lapsed between the 1989 exposure of Baugh's questionable science degrees and the time he began claiming the Ph.D. in Education (or "Christian Education," as is sometimes reported) --certainly not the amount of time normally required for a legitimate Ph.D. program, which is typically at least 3-4 years. As mentioned, the diploma associated with Baugh's Ph.D. in Education is dated 1989. However, evidently an irregularity of Australian law temporarily gave accreditation to virtually all of Australia's schools between 7/1/93 and 6/30/94. This seems to explain Wilson's apparent attempt to push the degree date well beyond 1989 --even though Baugh's "diploma" clearly indicates it was granted in 1989.

Even if Baugh and Wilson were successful in obscurring the previously stated date of the degree, it would not help Baugh much, since the accreditation was questionably achieved, lasted only a year, and evidently was not associated with any legitimate doctoral program in education. An interesting section of the PIU website reads:"The Academic Affairs Committee retains the right to add (or to reduce) the requirements for individual candidates."

If all this seems a bit confusing, do not feel bad. Judging from Baugh's own vitas and bios over the years, evidently Baugh himself has trouble keeping track of what credentials he has, what fields they are in, what schools granted them, and where they are located.

Perhaps not surprisingly, around 1990 Don Patton also began to claim a Ph.D. in Education from Wilson's school.

Although most creationist groups have not addressed the issue of Baugh's questionable degrees, the Australian based Answers in Genesis (an outlet of CSF (Creation Science Foundation), has acknowledged the problems, and more recently issued further words of caution, stating, "CSF does not defend Carl Baugh or his claims in regard to his qualifications. We do not regard Baugh as representative in any way of the mainstream creation movement."[40]

More details on the problems and inconsistencies in Baugh's recent degree claims are provided by Stephen Morgan on a website entitled "The Shady Credentials of Carl E. Baugh". Morgan concurs that none of Baugh's claimed degrees were from schools accredited at the time. He urges Baugh to admit that his alleged degrees come from what are essentially degree mills, and to not represent himself as a real scientist--falsely implying equivalence with those who put in years of hard work, sweat, and toil to earn their degrees.

Indeed, that is the crux of the matter. The issue is not that Baugh should have advanced degrees. The question is whether he has been truthful and forthright about his credentials, and what it says about his basic integrity and honesty. While one can do good work without advanced degrees, if a person has not been honest about something as basic and important as his or her own education and credentials, that person can hardly be trusted on other matters, including scientific claims.

As it turns out, Baugh's scientific assertions about human footprints and out of order artifacts and fossils have been studied as separate issues, and many have been found to be similarly lacking in support and credibility.

2009-2011 Update

A Wikipedia article on Pacific International University, states that the school was founded in 1980 as the "Pacific College of Graduate Studies" by Clifford Wilson, and incorporated in 1987 as Pacific International University, sometimes known as Pacific College Incorporated. It noted that the school and no physical campus and offerred only correspondence courses in biblical theology, ministry, cults, and related subjects, with professors of unknown credentials. The school only offer religious degrees, and since it is unaccredited, even these have no official academic standing. The article further related that the school, considered a diploma mill, offerred doctorates for a lump sum payment, with fees ranging from 2,500 to 3,000 USD for a Doctor of Theological Studies degree, and that there were no minimum educational requirements to apply other than two references, one academic and one church related. The only listed alumni of the school were Carl Baugh (1989, also listed as current school president), Jack Van Impe (Televangelist), and Don Patton.


* TRACS is a fundamentalist Christian accrediting organization which Henry Morris of ICR helped found on whose board of directors he served. Soon after TRACKS was formed (with Morris's help) it accredited ICR's graduate school. For more details on TRACS and its connection to ICR, see http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000068.html.

** Near the top of Baugh's dissertation website is the phrase: "By Texas Extension (Burleson, Texas): Pacific International University and Pacific College of Graduate Studies (Missouri Charter). Burleson is not far from Glen Rose, Texas, where Baugh now resides, and there is no evidence that any actual extension of Wilson's school ever existed in Burleson, TX.

References

[1] Kuban, Glen J., 1989, "Elongate Dinosaur Tracks," in Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, edited by David D. Gillette and martin G. Lockley, Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 61- 64. Originally presented in 1986 at the First International Symposium on Dinosaur Tracks and Traces, Albuquerque, NM.

[2] Hastings, Ronnie J. 1988, "Rise and Fall of the Paluxy Mantracks," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, J. of the Amer. Scientific Affiliation., Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 144-155. See the bibliography of this article for numerous other articles regarding Baugh's claims and the Paluxy controversy in general.

[3] Hastings, Ronnie J., Rick Neeley, and John Thomas, "A critical Look at Creationist Credentials," Skeptic, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 1, 5.

[4] California Post Secondary Education Commission, Telephone conversation, 8-2-89.

[5] California Graduate School of Theology evidently is not accredited or listed in standard college and graduate school directories. The Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada reported that California School of Theology is licensed in California, but not accredited by ATSUC. Likewise, the Western Association of Colleges and Schools and the Accrediting Association for Bible Colleges reported that CGST is not accredited by their respective agencies, and that they had no record of the school (telephone conversations, August, 1989). Evidently no other agencies are authorized by the U.S. department of Education and Council on Post Secondary Education to grant accreditation to theology schools in California.

[6] The California Graduate School of Theology is not listed in Peterson's Graduate Programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Guide to American Graduate Schools, The Gorman Report, Barons Profiles of American Colleges, nor in several other college directories which I consulted.

[7] Golden, Gayle, 1985, personal communication. Golden was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and wrote a number of stories on Baugh's alleged finds. She related that an officer of a church in Missouri where Baugh formerly was Pastor stated that Baugh's degree in theology "is not real, but honorary." Attorney John Thomas of the North Texas Skeptics twice telephoned the school to request information regarding Baugh's degree from the school, but did not receive any.

[8] Email communication, June 20, 2006, from Dr. Scott D. de Hart, Academic Dean of the California School of Theology.

[9] Baugh, Carl E., 1986, Anthropology and Religious Motivation, "submitted in partial satisfaction...for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology," College of Advanced Education.

[10] Gooding, Tammy, Luther Rice Seminary, telephone conversation, August 23, 1989.

[11] Bartz, Paul A., 1982, "Paluxy: New Site, New Prints, New Interest," Contrast insert in Bible-Science Newsletter, September, 1982, Vol. 20, No. 9, The article stated that Baugh was "completing his second doctorate in archaeology." Compare references 12 through 14 below.

[12] At the 1983 National Creation Conference in Minneapolis, MN. (recorded on a tape distributed by Baugh entitled Latest Human and Dinosaur Tracks) a man introducing Baugh stated that Baugh "is working on his Master of Science degree in archaeology at Pacific College..." and "...is studying also under Dr. Clifford Wilson to get his doctorate in paleoanthropology. He teaches anthropology at International Baptist College."

[13] Curtis, Tom, "Paluxy Tracks Fuel Man's Origin Debate," Cleburne Times-Review, October 10, 1984, Vol. 74, No. 240, p. 1. The article stated that Baugh had a "master's degree in archaeology" and "is currently pursuing a master's in ancient paleontology."

[14] [Anonymous], "Are They Genuine Or Fabrications??", Somervell Sun, January 14, 1987. The article stated that Baugh had a "Masters in Archaeology, Pacific College in Melbourne, Australia, Ph.D. in anthropology, College of Advanced Education in Irving, Texas, where he studied with mentor, Dr. Clifford Wilson, and, earned doctorate in Theology at the California Graduate School of Theology...."

[15] Baugh, Carl E. and Clifford A. Wilson, 1987, Dinosaur: Scientific Evidence That Dinosaurs and Men Walked Together, Promise Publishing, Orange, CA. Baugh's claimed degrees are listed on the back cover.

[16] Telephone conversations, early 1989.

[17] Person, Kirk, personal correspondence, 1987.

[18] Davis, Don, personal communication, December 31, 1989.

[19] The following agencies indicated that College of Advanced Education was not accredited, and that they had no record of the school: Association of Theological Schools in America, Accrediting Association for Bible Colleges, and North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (covering Missouri). (Telephone conversations, August 1989). The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools also reported that CAE is not accredited (correspondence to John Thomas, June 27, 1989). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board indicated that CAE does not a certificate of authority to grant degrees in Texas, and that the same applies to International Baptist College and Pacific College, Inc. (correspondence to John Thomas, May 4, 1989).

[20] Davis, Don, personal communication, December 31, 1989.

[21] Upon request Baugh recently sent a copy of the diploma to John Thomas, president of the North Texas Skeptics. Curiously, the date on the diploma (Dec. 1987) is considerably more recent than the time Baugh began claiming the degree (see ref. 11).

[22] The agencies listed in ref. 16 indicated that International Baptist College is not accredited or certified to grant degrees in Texas (correspondence to John Thomas, June 1989). These agencies related to me that they have no record of IBC at all (Telephone conversations, August 1989)

[23] Telephone conversation, July 5, 1986.

[24] A letter to me from Carl Baugh, dated March 10, 1983, was written on the letterhead of International Baptist College.

[25] Ref. 3, p. 5

[26] Australian paleontologist Ralph E. Molnar reported that Pacific College of Theology was amalgamated with Pacific College of Graduate Studies to form Pacific College Incorporated (personal correspondence, October, 1986). Evidently "Pacific International College" was sometimes used by Baugh as a synonym for Pacific College Inc.

[27] Australian researcher Barry Williams indicated that PCI appears to be a small, private Bible college whose principal officer is Clifford Wilson (correspondence from Barry WIlliams to Ron Hastings, March 30, 1989).

[28] Plimer, Ian, correspondence from Ian Plimer to Ronnie Hastings, March 1989. When Baugh was asked about the questionable status of CAE in Texas (ref. 3), Baugh indicated that he is transferring his credits from CAE to Pacific College. This struck me as a classic case of 'going from the frying pan to the fire.'

[29] Wilson is a well known creationist author, worked alongside Baugh on some Paluxy "man track" excavations, and co-authored a 1987 book with Baugh (ref. 12) promoting the human track claims. Evidenrly Wilson has an undergraduate degree in archaeology, but his primary field is psycholinguistics.

[30] Immediately under Baugh's name on the letterhead (reference 21) was Wilson's name and title, obscured with "white-out," but clearly visible when held to light.

[31] In 1982 the plaque was mounted on a large rock at the "man track" site, but later was removed (reportedly by Wilson).

[32] Baugh, Carl E., 1989, Panorama of Creation, The Southwest Radio Church, Oklahoma City, OK. The booklet is a compilation of radio broadcasts in which Baugh participated.

[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. 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." (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."

[40] Anonymous AIG article "AIG's Point by Point Rebuttal of Plimer's Book," at: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/184.asp.

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