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Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters by Caroline Crocker

Dr. Caroline Crocker Free to Think

Question: should the following statement get a science professor ousted from teaching?

the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.

Richard Dawkins

And for exploring aspects of this most momentous hypothesis in all of science, Dr. Crocker was removed from teaching at George Mason.

As reported by Casey Luskin at www.EvolutionNews.org

there are cases documenting genuine discrimination against scientists who support intelligent design (ID). One of those incidents took place at George Mason University (GMU), where Caroline Crocker was ousted from teaching biology because she challenged to neo-Darwinian evolution and favorably mentioned ID in the classroom. Dr. Crocker later appeared in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, but now many more details about Caroline Crocker’s story are revealed in her new autobiographical book, Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters.


Crocker challenged evolution in the classroom, she was recognized as an outstanding teacher. At the very time Crocker was told by her Department Head that she would be disciplined for challenging Darwin, she received a performance review from her Provost that called her teaching “outstanding” as “evidenced by unusually high student rankings”! The Provost even praised her, saying, “This kind of teaching quality is essential for this vital educational program, and we’re very grateful for your successful efforts.”

Such statements hardly describe a teacher who would otherwise be expected to soon lose her job. Yet Crocker did subsequently lose her job, and we know exactly why. As Crocker documents in her book, her administrators didn’t want her challenging Darwin.

Notes:
1. Ben Stein’s endorsement:

“A chilling true life story of how free speech and free inquiry rights have simply vanished in a large swath of the academic community. This story would be depressing in a 1950′s Iron Curtain country. Unfortunately, it’s a contemporary American story and far more upsetting for that reason. This shutdown of the search for truth is not something that could happen. It DID happen.”

2. visit: www.FreeToThinkNow.com

3. Here is an 8-minute video documentary on Coral Ridge Hour describing Dr. Crocker. It also highlights attorney Edward Sisson of Arnold and Porter recounting how he was forced by George Mason to drop Caroline Crocker as his client when he was representing her against George Mason:
Intelligent Design Controversy.

4. formally speaking ID is less ambitous than searching for a creative deity, it searches for a creative intelligence. But even if Dr. Crocker were guilty of hypothesizing a creative Deity versus a mere intelligence, would that justify her ouster?

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13 Responses to Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters by Caroline Crocker

  1. Why is it that all scientific theories and hypotheses are open to interpretation and revision except Darwin’s?

    I’m genuinely curious about this matter. Any scientific hypothesis or theory should be open to debate at any time. But question Darwin and the first thing you hear is generally an ad hominem attack (“You’re just stupid creationists/IDiots!”).

  2. Richard Conn Henry pointed out in the Prestigous Scientific Journal Nature the possibility of God’s existence. This happened a few weeks after Crocker’s ouster in 2005.

    See:
    The Quantum Enigma of Consciousness and the Identity of the Designer

    If on scientific grounds, God’s existence is hypothesized, why should ID, which makes a more modest claim, be rejected as a scientific hypothesis?

  3. So Dawkins said this:

    “the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins

    It sometimes amazes me that Darwinists can have such vivid imaginations so as to dream up all sorts of unsubstantiated conjectures for evolution, and yet they lack the minimal level of imagination needed to envision the unchecked levels of chaos that would be visited upon the universe if reality had not in fact been ordered by the mind of God.
    To me this order that we find imposed on the universe is no small wonder,, for example exactly why should the space-time that I experience always give me the correct value of pi and not some other value that is at variance with other people’s measurement for pi? There is absolutely no reason to a-priori expect such consistency for measurements if the universe were actually the result of mindless chaos as the atheists insist:

    notes:

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4240304/

    Proverbs 8:26-27
    While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    The Underlying Mathematical Foundation Of The Universe -Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491491

  4. The book is available at Amazon also.

    It is currently ranked:

    #2 in Books > Nonfiction > Law > Perspectives on Law > Science & Technology

    #6 in Books > Nonfiction > Law > Constitutional Law > Discrimination

  5. ID is not the same as creationism, but I’m arguing, even on the assumption Dr. Crocker explored the hypothesis of a creative deity, is this not a scientific hypothesis according to Dawkins?

    Anyway, here is a summary of the book by one reviewer from Amazon:

    This long-awaited response to Dr. Crocker’s critics puts to rest some of the unscrupulous claims surrounding her firing from George Mason University. Her critics have often claimed that there was nothing unusual about Dr. Crocker’s departure. Her contract ended, and she left. But Dr. Crocker documents that the matter was anything but typical or usual. Dr. Crocker, who appeared briefly in the movie Expelled, was an adjunct professor and signed a 3-year contract, a fact that others have verified. Crocker recounts how she became the victim of a bait-and-switch scheme in which her original contract was changed to a one-year term shortly after being accused of teaching creationism (creationism was never defined) in her science classes – a charge she steadfastly denies and no evidence exists to support. Recent evidence has come to light from one of her former students that a student who Dr. Crocker caught cheating retaliated against her and made false accusations that culminated in the loss of her position as a professor. The appeals process, as documented by Dr. Crocker, railroaded her and denied her academic freedom, as per George Mason’s own policy. Readers are provided with the first complete retelling of what happened as well as her response to the bogus findings of her grievance committee (all fully documented in Appendix IV). It is clear that Dr. Crocker challenged her students to think outside the box and come to their own conclusions based on the evidence, not just to parrot the usual consensus science views. Dr. Crocker relates exactly how and what she taught so readers can decide if they believe her approach was reasonable. Most readers will agree that she did nothing to warrant the treatment she received. The broader issue posed by Dr. Crocker is how far should society go in controlling the freedom given to educators who desire to stimulate the thinking of their students. And likewise, how much leeway should be given to students to question science consensus. Dr. Crocker’s story reveals a very disturbing lack of latitude among university officials. Unfortunately, the policy against raising doubts about Darwinism at George Mason is all too common in academic institutions across America today. Even more alarming is what occurred afterward when she sought legal redress. According to both Crocker and her attorney Ed Sisson, who wrote a compelling preface for this book, the law firm representing her was being considered by George Mason on another unrelated matter with one stipulation – they must first agree to drop Crocker as a client. The law firm agreed to do so, and soon after dismissed Sisson from the firm after a 14-year career with them.

  6. One thing I’ve never understood about the Crocker case – why wasn’t she cell biology in a cell biology class anyway?

  7. Scordova,

    ID is not the same as creationism

    It seems to me that a lot of people are having a problem differentiating between the two.

    Maybe you could write an essay outlining the fundamental difference between that pair? They look like Siamese twins to me, but that may of course be entirely my own fault.

  8. Cabal:

    You know or should know that the UD Weak Argument Correctives — and many other sources — demolish precisely this common, rhetorically loaded, agenda driven false allegation that has been assiduously spread by those with obvious axes to grind, starting with Ms Barbara Forrest of the New Orleans [Secular] Humanist Association.

    GEM of TKI

  9. Cabal:

    It seems to me that a lot of people are having a problem differentiating between the two.

    Maybe you could write an essay outlining the fundamental difference between that pair? They look like Siamese twins to me, but that may of course be entirely my own fault.

    That is a good objection, and I’m in the middle of writing a post to clarify. But briefly:

    There is surely a relationship between creationism and ID. I will state it thusly:

    ID is a necessary but not sufficient condition for creation

    alternatively

    creation is a sufficient but not necessary condition for ID to be true

    Which leads to the contrapositive statement

    If ID is false, creation is false.

    Thus creationists do have a stake in ID being true, but the converse is not necessarily true.

    It is INNACURATE to say:

    If ID is true, then creation is true

    or the equally INACCURATE statement

    ID is a sufficient condition for creation to be true

    From these considerations we can see ID is not equivalent to creationism, but the two have a relationship to one another as I described above.

    One other forumulation that distinguishes the two is likened to the issue of the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Faces on Mount Rushmore.

    Intelligent Design asserts an answer to the question: “Was the object (say the Pyramids, or Mount Rushmore faces) designed”. Recall the definition of ID is :

    Intelligent Design is the study of Patterns that signify intelligence

    Once the question of Design is tentatively answered in the affirmative, this leads to other questions:

    WHO did the designing (say of the Pyramids or Mount Rushmore)?

    WHAT specifically in the object is designed?

    WHEN was the designing done?

    HOW was the designing done?

    Those question are the forensic reconstruction of the history of the artifact. With respect to biology, creationism hypothesizes answers to WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW.

    ID is used to answer the question of WHETHER something is designed, and it can be used to help answer the WHAT question too.

    Not everyone will agree with the way I compartmentalized ID and creationism, but when I posed the question to Stephen Meyer last year he said creationism asserts a particular chronology. That agrees with my conception as well, and I elaborated above some of the other ways to see the distinction.

    Darwin attempted to falsify the hypothesis of special creation, but even had he done so, it would not have falsified intelligent design.

    One can see he did not necessarily think falsification of special creation necessarily falsified ID (which is exactly what I claim):

    Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.

    Darwin

    It should be noted, ID is not limited to biological arguments of special creation. Darwin seemed cognizant of that. Special creation could be false, but ID could still be true. That is how Darwin saw it and that is a correct distinction between ID and special creation.

    With respect to Dr. Crocker and creationism, she is undecided as far as I know. In fact she asked me once to explain creationism to her. Some churches have barred her from speaking because she does not consider herself a creationist. I sincerely think she is undecided on the matter.

  10. How many christians are also creationists I wonder? The theory of evolution is often portrayed as anti-christian, or athiest, but I guess that’s only by christians who believe in creationism.

    My view is there is nothing pro or anti religion in TE. It simply doesn’t concern itself with that question (similarly with the question of morality).

    There must be vast numbers of christians in the world (including I assume most catholics) who fully support TE. I think perhaps other than the the US (and maybe some African countries) the majority of christians in the world don’t accept creationism? (But could be wrong).

  11. Not to belittle any of the hardships that ID advocates, such as Dr. Crocker and company, have unjustly faced in academic America, but this video reminded me that there are people in the world who pay, and have paid, a far more heavy price for standing up for the truth:

    Experiencing Jesus Christ – Francis Chan – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4928919

  12. 12
    CannuckianYankee

    zeroseven,

    Creationism is a large tent. If we want to talk about Biblical Creationism, we are referring to the Genesis account of creation.

    Scientific Creationism attempts to find a scientific basis for the Genesis account of creation. There are a number of “sub camps” in Scientific Creationism, including Young Earth and Old Earth Creationism.

    ID does not attempt to find a scientific basis for the Genesis accounts of creation, and therefore, cannot be considered Scientific Creationism. However, within Scientific Creationism, there are proponents who refer to the same arguments against Darwinian Evolution, and I think this is where the confusion stems.

    There are Christians in the ID camp, as well as in the TE camp, who would be considered Biblical Creationists from a theological and not a scientific perspective.

    I don’t know Crocker’s stance on Biblical Creationism, but I think it’s clear by her own admission that she is not a Scientific Creationist.

  13. 13
    CannuckianYankee

    zeroseven,

    So I think you would be correct that a great many (I don’t think I could back up saying a “vast majority”) of Christians do not fall under Scientific Creationism.

    However, I think it’s safe to say that a vast majority of Christians do accept Biblical Creationism, including many who accept TE.

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