Randy Cohen who writes the Ethicist column in New York Times got the following question
I’m a history professor — my period is 1500-1800 — with an M.A. student who wants to pursue a doctorate. While she is smart and capable, she is very religious, subscribing to the “young earth” theory that the world is only 6,000 years old. I am to work with her for a year and then recommend her to Ph.D. programs. Must I do so if I find her views incongruent with those of historians? [Randy Cohen – The Ethicist – New York Times]
It is shocking to see that in the year 2008, there are Ph.D students who believe in fairy tales, then if you have graduated from one of those schools where creationism is taught as science this is not surprising. Mr. Cohen advices the professor to teach her Sumerian history and is confident that the student will have a eureka moment when she discovers that the Sumerians could not have accomplished so much immediately after the earth was formed.
Randy, two words: Max Müller. He had a Ph.D on Spinoza‘s Ethics, was the founder of Indian studies in the western world and the creator of the discipline of comparative religion, but believed that all languages can be traced to the Tower of Babel, Indians were populated by the descendents of Japhet and Christianity was a true historical event. His biblical beliefs resulted in dating the hymns of Rig-Veda being to 1000 B.C.E., and this 19th century paradigm is still widely held.
If the professor, following Randy’s advice, tried to teach a student who believes that earth was created on the night preceding October 23, 4004 B.C.E, Sumerian history, the most likely outcome is that the student will rewrite history to fit in with the Biblical narrative.