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Caroline Crocker responds to Darwin lobby accusations, Part II

Further to “Caroline Crocker responds to Darwin lobby accusations,” such as

Following the evidence wherever it leads, eh? Caroline Crocker’s record does not suggest that she is any good at doing this. Instead she just brazenly repeats the crudest creationist arguments. Documentation: (Here.)

Due to a misunderstanding, Crocker posted her response here ( in the comments to this post). Reposted here for reader convenience.

Sorry to be so late in my responses to this thread, which appears to have “evolved” to be about evolution, rather than the point of my original post.

Nick, you recite a litany of comments that were lifted from the notoriously inaccurate and now out-dated Expelled Exposed. I have previously responded to some of these allegations, but the link does not appear to work. Therefore, for the convenience of readers, I have re-posted that article on the AITSE website. With regard to the details about my former teaching on the subject of evolution, in the interest of integrity, I do need to acknowledge that there are a few things I included in my lecture that, with the benefit of hindsight and further reading on the subject, I would now handle differently. A fuller response, and indeed, Lastyearon, a complete explanation of my views on evolution (which are continuously “evolving”) can be found in my book, Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters.

Lastyearon, you also asked other questions, which of course deserve an answer, however brief I must be. First, “Do you believe that the claims of the bible should have any role in the scientific process?” The short answer is, “Of course!” To explain, because I am a Christian, I believe that our conduct must reflect Biblical values. This and my experiences as a research scientist and professor who saw and continues to see the results of dishonesty and lack of ethics is why I am so committed to integrity in science. In fact, I founded a nonprofit organization to promote just that.

The second question, “Do the claims of the bible have any relevance with respect to the age of the earth or the origin of species?” requires an answer where I must move outside my area of expertise and into theology. In my opinion, the writings in the Bible should be read in the context of their literary intent. That is, the poetry should be read as poetry. The history should be understood as history. The letters full of instructions to developing churches should be taken as instructions. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific text. Therefore, I find no Biblical grounds for believing in a literal seven-day creation nor for insisting that all species were created de novo, although I realize that many whom I respect do not agree.

In addition, because my faith is grounded in the historical evidence of Jesus, the witness of the Church and my experience, I do not find that evolution, per se, threatens my faith in the least. It appears to me that the Genesis creation accounts focus on who did it and why He did it, not how. My issues with aspects of evolutionary theory were initiated as a result of my doctoral studies on phosphodiesterases about twenty years after I made my faith commitment—again, a fuller explanation can be found in my book (p. 26). In short, they arose from science, not faith.

I see myself as an evolutionary agnostic because there is intriguing scientific evidence that could be interpreted as indicating common descent, but there are gaps in our knowledge of how this might have happened, if indeed we are interpreting the data accurately in the first place. For example, there are many theories about how random mutations might lead to increasing information, but few are anywhere near convincing. In the future the neo-Darwinian mechanism may be shown sufficient to explain the specified complexity of life—or not. I do not have the faith that Mr. Matzke exhibits in “science of the gaps.” Rather, I am quite comfortable to say, “I don’t know,” simply because my worldview is neither based on science nor on the need to prove the accuracy of a theory based on materialistic presuppositions, but on the Bible. Whether evolution, in all its glory, is true or not does not rock my world. However, when speakers at Christian groups who say that they are open to honest discussion demean those with whom they disagree, that does—and thus I object.

Finally, Ted, I am certainly not posturing myself as a threat to ASA nor am I threatened by ASA. Rather, I am a concerned ASA member trying to raise legitimate concerns about the organization’s adherence to its stated goals and values. AITSE, the organization that Denyse mentioned, has the mission of providing education to enhance scientific understanding and integrity. It seems to me that we have a different, but complementary, role in the world of science. Hopefully, that will continue.

Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to Caroline Crocker responds to Darwin lobby accusations, Part II

  1. semi OT:

    Origins – Slaughter of the Dissidents with Dr. Jerry Bergman – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rzaM_BxBk

  2. So…bright young students pay good money to get a scientific education, Dr. Crocker instead teaches them a bunch of the most-bogus, longest-refuted creationist junk of the Kent Hovind variety — some of it so bad that even other young-earth creationist organizations tell creationists not to make those arguments.

    Then, when called on it, she doesn’t even apologize or admit error except in the most oblique way…and *then* has the audacity to continue to maintain that she should be thought of as a *martyr*? This isn’t art class folks. There are right and wrong answers in science class. You don’t get to play the martyr card* if you teach junk creation-science claims like the idea that Archy was “just a bird” and possibly a fraud, that Eohippus was just a rock-hyrax, etc.

    (* This assumes that one’s non-rehiring was actually due to what was taught in class, of which there appears to be no evidence in Crocker’s case.)

  3. Well bright young students are paying good money to get a scientific education only be indoctrinated with untestable dogma.

  4. Nick,
    I wish you would lay off the name-calling when you make your points–it would strengthen them, it really would. Your claim is that only established science should be taught. The disadvantage of that, is progress becomes impossible. I had a elderly German gentleman who came with the Von Braun team to Huntsville back in 1950′s, and taught geology at the night school that became UAH. He told me that he was unable to teach about plate tectonics, a well-accepted theory in Germany, because the US did not consider it viable. In a thick German accent he raised his white eyebrows and said “Can you believe that?!”

    Unfortunately, having experience with Darwinism, Global Warming, Panspermia, Cusp-accelerated electrons, Cold Fusion, and now Superluminal Neutrinos, I said “Yes”.

    Perhaps what we should be teaching our students is not facts but how-to-collect-facts, not theories but how-to-make-theories, and not dogma but how-to-evaluate-dogma. Then we might actually get someplace useful. Or as my global hydrology colleagues say to me “we don’t argue about whether NGISS datasets show global warming–we make our own datasets”

    This would be good practice for anybody, certainly better than name-calling.

    Caroline,
    I think it is a bad argument to say “the Bible isn’t a science textbook”. If the Bible is “true”, then one of the ways it is true is in its description of material things. Now it doesn’t use a “scientific” vocabulary, so one has a really hard time figuring out which of the many natural language meanings a word might possess. But this expected. It would be like trying to reconstruct Darwinism from Matzke’s posts at NCSE. It can be done, but not easily.

    So saying “it isn’t a science textbook” only means that it isn’t as boring and monotone as a science text. But it doesn’t mean that the science in the Bible is not as true as the philosophy and morality.

    For me, the really exciting thing is finding how the Biblical account is still directing science today. Gen 1:1-2, for example is breathtaking in its description of the Big Bang and the problems with Big Bang Nucleosynthesis models. Really cool stuff–if we have the guts to let the Bible be the Bible.

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