The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

A Matter of Degree:
Carl Baugh's Alleged Credentials

Copyright © 1989 by Glen J. Kuban

[This article is being mirrored from]

Originally published in NCSE 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 his 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 somewhat overstated. The theology degree most frequently claimed by Baugh is a "Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from the California Graduate School of Theology."[4] Baugh described this as an "earned degree" (implying normal course work and graduation); however, attempts to verify the degree from CGST have been unsuccessful,[5] and a former close associate of Baugh's stated that the degree was "not real, but honorary."[6] In any case, the school is not accredited by any national or regional accrediting agency,[7] and evidently has little standing in the academic community (it is not even listed in standard college and graduate school directories).[8]

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. Luther Rice is an unaccredited seminary in Jacksonville, Florida. 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 dubious 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, "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]

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[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] 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.

[6] 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."

[7] 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.

[8] 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.

[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 " 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 coauthored a 1987 book with Baugh (ref. 12). Evidently Wilson has done archaeological work, but he does not have a degree in the subject, and 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."

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