Pharyngula

…but she wasn’t. She was allowed to continue her educational malpractice until her contract expired, and then was not rehired—something that happens to adjunct and assistant professors all the time, with no necessary implication of poor work.

Caroline Crocker, if you’ve never heard of her, is the lead topic in an article in the Washington Post today, and you may also have read an account of her situation in Nature. She’s a molecular biologist who believes in Intelligent Design, and who was released from her position at George Mason University. Now she wants to claim that her academic freedom was infringed.

Unfortunately for Dr Crocker, the article gives an account of her biology teaching. She’s peddling ignorant garbage in her classes, making this less an issue of academic freedom and more one of basic scientific competence.

She told the students there were two kinds of evolution: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution is easily seen in any microbiology lab. … While such small changes are well established, Crocker said, they are quite different from macroevolution. No one has ever seen a dog turn into a cat in a laboratory.

There is an interesting debate on the micro/macro distinction in biology, but that ain’t it. That’s the creationist version, based on nothing at all but rhetoric and misconceptions. No one expects a dog to evolve into a cat, and if it did, we’d have to completely rework our ideas about evolution.

Crocker said that subsequent research had shown that chemicals used in the experiment [Miller’s] did not exist on Earth 4 billion years ago. “The experiment is irrelevant, but you still find it in your books,” she said.

This is not true; the issue is more complex than she lets on. Our understanding of the nature of the atmosphere has changed since Urey and Miller, but the experiment still stands as valid and interesting—it shows that complex chemical precursors to life can arise without intelligent guidance. Similar experiments have been done with different atmospheres, with similar results.

She cited another experiment, involving researcher Bernard Kettlewell, who produced pictures of variously colored peppered moths on tree trunks to show that when the moths were not well camouflaged, they were more likely to be eaten by birds — a process of natural selection that influenced the color of the moths. “This comes from your book — it is not actually true,” Crocker said. “The experiment was falsified. He glued his moths to the trees.”

Uh-oh. It looks like Crocker is rattling off Wells’ list of Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher. It’s a bad sign that they stump her—they aren’t that hard to address…or shouldn’t be, for a college level instructor in evolution.

The Kettlewell experiments are still good, if incomplete. The posed pictures are
illustrations of the camouflage, and are not part of the data.

…Crocker was not done. From this ill-conceived theory, she concluded, much harm had arisen. Nazi Germany had taken Darwin’s ideas about natural selection, the credo that only the fittest survive, and followed it to its extreme conclusions — anti-Semitism, eugenics and death camps. “What happened in Germany in World War II was based on science, that some genes and some people should be killed,” Crocker said quietly. “My grandfather had a genetic problem and was put in the hospital and killed.”

This is just contemptible. Hitler was not motivated by scientific ideas. Her grandfather was killed because of criminally racist attitudes that predated Darwin and were promoted by the religious—try reading about some of Luther’s ideas about the Jews sometime. Eugenics was and is a simple-minded abuse of science.

Before the class, Crocker had told me that she was going to teach “the strengths and weaknesses of evolution.” Afterward, I asked her whether she was going to discuss the evidence for evolution in another class. She said no.

“There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution,” Crocker said. Besides, she added, she saw her role as trying to balance the “ad nauseum” pro-evolution accounts that students had long been force-fed.

“There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution.” That’s grounds for dismissal right there, I would hope. She’s been so busy reading Discovery Institute press releases and religious tracts that she has apparently never visited her university library, or even looked at an evolutionary biology textbook! I suggest she spend a little time in the stacks—books on evolution are in the QH’s—and otherwise get out of the classroom until she’s a little better qualified.

It looks like she’d rather spend her time whining.

…she described the attacks targeted at her career as a result of her views on evolution. Losing the faculty position at GMU had left Crocker worried about how she could support a son at school in England. Family members were asking why she was sticking her neck out. Crocker and her husband, Richard, who is associate rector at Truro, believe she has become the victim of scientific authoritarianism. It is one thing to believe his wife is wrong, Richard Crocker told me, and quite another to deprive her of her right to speak.

GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch denied that the school had fired Crocker. She was a part-time faculty member, he said, and was let go at the end of her contract period for reasons unrelated to her views on intelligent design. “We wholeheartedly support academic freedom,” he said. But teachers also have a responsibility to stick to subjects they were hired to teach, he added, and intelligent design belonged in a religion class, not biology. Does academic freedom “literally give you the right to talk about anything, whether it has anything to do with the subject matter or not? The answer is no.”

Exactly right. If you’re going to teach a subject, you are expected to know something about that subject—and Crocker clearly does not.

She has not been deprived of a right to speak. She can say whatever she want, she can teach that crap in her local Sunday School, she can work for the Discovery Institute and write screeds that will get sent to newspapers all over the country. However, universities have standards and are not under any compulsion to hire any unqualified bozo to jabber in front of a classroom. We have responsibilities, you know, to teach the current state of knowledge, not the opinions of muddle-brained theologians.

An unintended consequence of the scientific establishment’s exasperation with evolution’s critics is that supporters of intelligent design such as Crocker and Kamel are increasingly limiting their conversations to fellow sympathizers. Among themselves, these advocates believe the wheel has turned full circle: If Galileo and Copernicus were the scientific rebels who were once punished by the dogma and authority of the church, these advocates now believe that they are being punished by the dogma and authority of science.

“Just like they say you can’t discriminate against black people, or against gays, maybe they will say you can’t discriminate against Darwin-doubters,” Crocker told me.

I recommend the Crackpot Index. I’d score Dr Crocker well into the 50s.

Of course we should discriminate against “Darwin-doubters”. If an electrician came to your house and said he was an “electron-doubter”, didn’t hold with all that nonsense about “circuits” and “grounds”, and told you aluminum foil was the best insulator, you’d fire him on the spot, right? So why all this absurd insistence that biology is a matter of opinion, and that we need to hire to maximize the range of different opinions on largely settled issues?

Maybe this little anecdote from the article explains some of that.

Nancey Murphy, a religious scholar at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., said she faced a campaign to get her fired because she expressed the view that intelligent design was not only poor theology, but “so stupid, I don’t want to give them my time.”

Murphy, who believes in evolution, said she had to fight to keep her job after one of the founding members of the intelligent design movement, legal theorist Phillip Johnson, called a trustee at the seminary and tried to get her fired.

“His tactic has always been to fight dirty when anyone attacks his ideas,” she said. “For a long time afterward, I would tell reporters I don’t want to comment, and I don’t want you to say I don’t want to comment. I’m tired of being careful.”

This is exactly like Caroline Crocker’s case, because you see, there is all this evidence that specifically spells out the nature and details of God’s existence and there is near uniformity of opinion on all religious matters among all theists, so it is just plain wacky for anyone in theology to teach anything other than the Truth as Revealed to Phillip Johnson. And aren’t all fields of knowledge as subjective and fractured as theology?

Comments

  1. #1 Caledonian
    February 5, 2006

    Hey, you can’t expect people of faith to just exist quietly in an environment actively hostile to their beliefs. IDists are people too, and if biologists keep making inflammatory statements about the origin of biological diversity and the age of the Earth, they’re going to strike back – it’s only natural.

  2. #2 Sean Foley
    February 5, 2006

    …Crocker was not done. From this ill-conceived theory, she concluded, much harm had arisen. Nazi Germany had taken Darwin’s ideas about natural selection, the credo that only the fittest survive, and followed it to its extreme conclusions — anti-Semitism, eugenics and death camps.

    Creationist attitudes about Nazism are frankly baffling. The ICR museum in Santee, CA devotes a not inconsiderable amount of its exhibition space to the evil fruits of evolution, including Nazi ideology. However, they also have a gallery of famous scientists who are exalted for speaking out against evolution. Predictably, these sort of peter out after the nineteenth century (George Washington Carver makes the list, so far as I can tell, solely because he was a Christian). One notable twentieth century scientist does make the cut: Werner von Braun. There is no mention of his Nazi past in the exhibtion (including his ties to the SS or his use of slave labor in the construction of his rockets); apparantly, his comments that the universe represents the product of an intelligent designer are enough to whitewash his actual (as opposed to evolution’s supposed) Nazi ties.

  3. #3 Corkscrew
    February 5, 2006

    I’d tend to phrase the argument for inapplicability of academic freedom slightly differently. The way the college did it sounds a tad like “academic freedom applies, except when it doesn’t”. Something like “she can talk about whatever she likes, but we’re not happy to have her representing us while she does so” might get the point across a little better. The key issue is that academia has the duty to allow people to say what they want, but not the duty to endorse it.

  4. #4 Ron Zeno
    February 5, 2006

    Academic freedom applies when the instructors can hold themselves to professional ethics and competence. Crocker gave up both her ethics and competence long ago. Why is it that all these intelligent design creationists encourage and promote such behavior, yet get upset when called out on it?

  5. #5 Rachel
    February 5, 2006

    She has an appropriate last name for the type of bullcrap she was spouting.

    Also, Corkscrew, I think the college expressed the problem just fine, in that they hired her to teach a specific subject, and that academic freedom doesn’t allow you to use that teaching time to talk about something completely unrelated or directly opposing that which you were hired to teach in the first place. Both of which waste the students’ and colleges’ time and money. Effectively they failed to re-hire her due to incompetence in teaching the required subject rather than the specifics of believing ID.

    And happily pinning Hitler’s actions and Nazism on evolutionary theory, with the not so discreet implication that if we’d never come up with it, the Holocaust would never have happened? Is such a beyond reprehensible idea, the only reaction anyone with half a brain and some actual scruples could have is disgust.

  6. #6 Skeptyk
    February 5, 2006

    It freaks me out enough when adults spew that “cats into dogs” idiocy, but from a molecular biologist, who teaches! Yikes! I should have taken the red pill; this can’t be real.

  7. #7 Harry Eagar
    February 5, 2006

    How did she get her doctorate? Don’t you still have to defend your dissertation?

  8. #8 Orac
    February 5, 2006

    A bit of a contrarian viewpoint here.

    While Hitler himself may not have been motivated by science or have based his ideas on evolution, a lot of racial hygienists whose work and ideas the Nazis enthusiastically coopted did. True, their ideas were perversions of Darwin’s theory based on a “might makes right” idea of evolution that justified the strong eliminating the weak and the perpetuation of those in power. True, the concept of racial hygiene predates the Nazis, having been introduced in 1895, when Alfred Ploetz first coined it. Ten years later he formed the German Society for Racial Hygiene (Deutsche Gesellschaft fόr Rassenhygiene). However, the Nazis enthusiastically coopted these ideas as a means of and justification for “cleansing” the race of its “weak” or “undesirable” elements in the name of not wasting resources on them and “strengthening” the Volk.

    Indeed, Nazis took great pride in supposedly basing the racial ideas of National Socialism on science, with Rudolf Hess even going so far to say in 1934 that National Socialism is nothing more than “applied biology.” Obviously, making this claim did not make it so.

    In any case, whenever anyone tries to draw a link between Darwin’s ideas and Nazi eugenics programs, it is critical to point out that racial hygiene was a perversion of Darwin’s ideas used to justify a militaristic drive for domination and a racist desire to eliminate so-called “inferior” races from the Volk. It fused an old “blood and soil” concept of the German “race” with social Darwinism and produced a truly toxic brew that resulted in the extermination of millions. Nazi ideas about eugenics only relate to evolutionary theory in that they show how much science can be twisted to justify profoundly evil ends. For Crocker to happily blame Darwin for Hitler’s ideas reveals her profound ignorance of both biology and history.

  9. #9 BC
    February 5, 2006

    One thing that I don’t quite understand is how creationists can cite the Miller-Urey experiment and say that the conditions don’t mirror the ancient atmosphere. Then they want to turn around and talk about how evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The baffling part is the fact that the Miller-Urey experiment show complexity (though a shallow sort of complexity) arising from simpler components, but the creationists try to cite the 2nd law of thermodynamics as saying everything is always degrading. Obviously, these ideas conflict with each other. If the 2nd law of thermodynamics worked the way they said it does, the Urey-Miller experiment would never result in anything at all – certainly not the amino acids that are found. While creationists have an amazing ability for mental gymnastics and avoiding thinking through their own ideas, it’s always interesting when their ideas aren’t even internally consistent.

  10. #10 Alex R
    February 5, 2006

    …she can teach that crap in her local Sunday School…

    Whether or not she can teach nonsense in her local Sunday school would depend a lot on the quality and nature of the local Sunday school. I have some responsibility for my local Sunday school program, and I wouldn’t let her anywhere near it…

  11. #11 Rob Ellis
    February 5, 2006

    Slightly off topic, but…

    The link correctly attributes the crackpot index to John Baez, which is great, but you can also find it on John Baez’s excellent site, http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.

    He’s a mathematical physicist at UC Riverside. Be sure to check out his pages on economics and the environment under Serious Stuff.

  12. #12 george cauldron
    February 5, 2006

    How did she get her doctorate? Don’t you still have to defend your dissertation?

    That’s an extremely good question, and yes, everyone still has to defend their doctorate. It’d be very interesting to know where she got her PhD and what her dissertation was on. If her degree and dissertation were legit, then I’d bet that sometime after she got her PhD she had some sort of crackup and ‘accepted Jesus as her Personal Savior’ or something like that, and assumed that teaching creationism in colleges was what Jesus wanted her to do. There’s always a ‘back story’ to incidents like this.

  13. #13 Caledonian
    February 5, 2006

    Or she can think coherently enough to produce and defend a thesis, then discard reason as the abhorrent obstacle to faith she clearly believes it to be.

    If you’re willing to lie through your teeth, you can support any ideology while gaining a scientific degree. It’s just a matter of going through the hoops, after all.

  14. #14 george cauldron
    February 5, 2006

    If you’re willing to lie through your teeth, you can support any ideology while gaining a scientific degree. It’s just a matter of going through the hoops, after all.

    Hmmm. I wonder how many of the PhD’s here would characterize getting a doctorate as just a matter of ‘going through the hoops’? πŸ™‚

  15. #15 shaker
    February 5, 2006

    Eugenics have more in common with ID than with evolution. It is ID that says you have to have someone intelligent controlling any complex process. People who support eugenics support “intelligently” selecting the “undesirables” in the society and eliminating them so the rest of the society can have it better. So here we have the idea of “intelligently designing” society. Hence I think an argument can be made that the ID crowd based their “theory” on Hitler’s eugenics programs.

    I know the last statement is not true, but if the ID crowd can use sophistry to link Nazism and evolution then we can also point out similarities between their ideology and Hitler’s ideology.

  16. #16 Steve LaBonne
    February 5, 2006

    As traditionally taught, biochemistry / molecular biology are not disciplines in which even advanced training is likely to give the student much understanding of evolution at all (never mind Crocker,just look at Behe!) Having been out of academia for years now I don’t know whether this situation is improving, but I sure hope so.

  17. #17 John
    February 5, 2006

    I think anyone who takes her course deserves a refund. Colleges need to maintain basic standards or they do their students a disservice. It would be like someone teaching in a history class that slavery never existed in the U.S. or something similarly crazy.

  18. #18 decrepitoldfool
    February 5, 2006

    I saw that article and thought it was pretty good; in the first half she got to spin out a lot of rope, and in the second half it got tied into a noose for her…

  19. #19 Todd Crane
    February 5, 2006

    Check out the comments from former Crocker students at RateMyProfessor.com. While it’s impossible to say who actually writes the comments, it’s nice to think they come from actual students.

  20. #20 Timothy Chase
    February 5, 2006

    PZ wrote:

    Crocker said that subsequent research had shown that chemicals used in the experiment [Miller’s] did not exist on Earth 4 billion years ago. “The experiment is irrelevant, but you still find it in your books,” she said.

    This is not true; the issue is more complex than she lets on. Our understanding of the nature of the atmosphere has changed since Urey and Miller, but the experiment still stands as valid and interesting?it shows that complex chemical precursors to life can arise without intelligent guidance. Similar experiments have been done with different atmospheres, with similar results.

    TalkOrigins is in need of updating. Check out the news of September 2005:

    New Trouble for Wells’s “Icon of Anti-Evolution #1″…
    By Dave Thomas
    September 13, 2005
    (subject: Miller and Urey had the right atmosphere afterall)

    You may also wish to see:
    Calculations favor reducing atmosphere for early Earth
    Was Miller-Urey experiment correct?
    from EurekaAlert.

    I am also surprised she didn’t bring up our inability to show how nucleic acids might have arisen naturally. The missing ingredient was ribose — which tends to get cooked soon after it is formed under the conditions under which it is formed — unless one has borax:

    UF STUDY SUGGESTS LIFE ON EARTH SPRANG FROM BORAX MINERALS
    Jan. 8, 2004

  21. #21 Timothy Chase
    February 5, 2006

    A Reductive Atmosphere: Urey and Miller — had it right afterall

    Calculations favor reducing atmosphere for early Earth
    Was Miller-Urey experiment correct?
    from EurekaAlert, September 7th, 2005.

  22. #22 Rachel
    February 5, 2006

    Ah, those student ratings are a fun read, especially when you note the consistent thread of ‘playing favourites’. So, if you ask too many niggling questions, you get marked down? That’s very Christianly of her. Even more evidence of her incompetence.

    As for her PhD (does she actually have one?), it would depend on where she did it and the topic. I imagine there would be plenty of projects that have no direct relation to broader evolutionary theory that she could do while holding her views. My own topic in geology could have been done even if I thought the earth was 10,000 years old, because the age of the rocks I dealt with had no influence on my geochemical studies.

  23. #23 Timothy Chase
    February 5, 2006

    In the article, it stated:

    Crocker said that subsequent research had shown that chemicals used in the experiment [Miller’s] did not exist on Earth 4 billion years ago. “The experiment is irrelevant, but you still find it in your books,” she said.

    However, as I noted above, it looks like the atmosphere was reductive, just as Urey and Miller had presupposed in their original experiments. Here is a non-technical article which deals with the subject in somewhat more depth:

    Early Atmosphere Looked Very Different From Today, Sep 14, 2005
    Full Story – Using primitive meteorites called chondrites as their models, earth and planetary scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have performed outgassing calculations and shown that the early Earth’s atmosphere was a reducing one, chock full of methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapor….

  24. #24 Caledonian
    February 5, 2006

    “Hmmm. I wonder how many of the PhD’s here would characterize getting a doctorate as just a matter of ‘going through the hoops’? :-)”

    Okay, so it’s a very complicated set of hoops. And they’re on fire.

  25. #25 Harry Eagar
    February 5, 2006

    Well, I’m an outsider but for years I’ve accepted the notion that ‘nothing in biology makes sense’ without evolution. (Senior moment; cannot recall who said that but he was a big cheese.)

    So you’d think that even an biological topic that was fairly far removed from research on evo-devo, like biochem, would still require evolution.

    My remark, though, was meant somewhat ironically. Berkeley has been known to award a Ph.D. in extrasensory perception. I always wondered how that one was defended.

  26. #26 miko
    February 5, 2006

    Okay, so it’s a very complicated set of hoops. And they’re on fire.

    As someone in the late-middle-constant-lowgrade-nervous-breakdown-can’t-sleep-data-jumping-around-in-skull-getsdrunkon3beers-gonnagetscooped-falling-asleep-at-the-confocal-daily-microscope-headaches-burps-taste-like-coffee-ohmyfreakinggod-I’ll-be-so-old-by-the-time-I-finish-a-postdoc-how-will-I-ever-get-a-job-in-the-same-city-as-spouse-and-who-the-f***-touched-my-bench-quit-reading-pharyngula-and-get-to-work phase of a PhD, I think that:

    It’s a lot of jumping through stupid, stupid hoops and a lot of real struggle and work (flaming hoops). But a lot of people seem to squeak by just jumping through the stupid hoops. It’s really surprising how many people getting PhDs seem to have no curiosity, do an assigned project that may not really require any thought or creativity, don’t care about anything that isn’t directly related to their thesis, never ask questions in seminars (or adequately answer them in their own) and might do just enough to defend a dissertation their advisor essentially writes for them because it’s an embarassing hassle otherwise.

    How they get tenured positions is a deeper mystery.

  27. #27 RavenT
    February 5, 2006

    OMFG, miko, le mot juste!

  28. #28 Benjamin Harrison
    February 5, 2006

    In the still-trying-to-pass-quals-why-the-hell-am-i-reading-pharyngula phase, I have to say that the PhD experience does seem bizarrely variable depending upon school, field, advisor, circumstance in a manner that is not necessarily descriptive of an individual’s level of ability.

  29. #29 Ron Zeno
    February 5, 2006

    (From gmu.edu and Nature.com) Irene Caroline Crocker: BS 1979, University of Warwick; MS 1993, University of Birmingham; PhD immunopharmacology 1999 , University of Southampton.

  30. #30 george cauldron
    February 5, 2006

    It’s really surprising how many people getting PhDs seem to have no curiosity, do an assigned project that may not really require any thought or creativity, don’t care about anything that isn’t directly related to their thesis, never ask questions in seminars (or adequately answer them in their own) and might do just enough to defend a dissertation their advisor essentially writes for them because it’s an embarassing hassle otherwise.

    Maybe I was very sheltered, but in my department I never heard of ANY fellow student whose advisor wrote their thesis. Considering how badly my advisor writes, it’s a good thing he didn’t write mine

    Other than that, a splendid evocation of the 1-3 year-long I’m-broke-my-nerves-are-shredded-why-the-f*ck-am-I-doing this phase of grad student brain meltdown. πŸ™‚

  31. #31 Bob O'H
    February 6, 2006

    Losing the faculty position at GMU had left Crocker worried about how she could support a son at school in England.

    The last time I looked, we had a perfectly adequate state school system in Britain. Sending your kid to a public school is seen as being rather elitist.

    Crocker and her husband, Richard, who is associate rector at Truro, …

    OK, this explains it, but couldn’t they get a discount? πŸ™‚

    I think we should have symapthy for her son if he does have to move schools. But if that’s her main worry, then I’m not unduly worried about her welfare: she’ll pull through.

    Class warfare!! Man the barricades!!

    Bob

  32. #32 ferfuracious
    February 6, 2006

    On reading this post a document I’d read for some assignment I had to do on Nazi Germany a few years ago sprung to mind:

    A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler
    His Life and Legend
    Walter C. Langer
    Office of Strategic Services
    Washington, D.C.

    I probably spent more time reading this than doing the actual assignment, it was extremely interesting and made many successful predictions about Hitler’s behaviour. What stands out is Hitler’s messiah complex and various incidents where he compares himself to Jesus:

    “When I came to Berlin a few weeks ago and looked at the traffic in the Kurfuerstendamm, the luxury, the perversion, the iniquity, the wanton display, and the Jewish materialism disgusted me so thoroughly, that I was almost beside myself. I nearly imagined myself to be Jesus Christ when He came to His Father’s temple and found it taken by the money-changers. I can well imagine how He felt when He seized a whip and scourged them out.” (905)

    I don’t know where he got the whip from but this Messiah complex would seem to have a lot more to do with the final solution than any perverted form of the theory of evolution.

    Have a read and see what was going through the minds of the OSS as they tried to predict Hitler’s likely course of action:

    http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/h/hitler-adolf/oss-papers/text/profile-index.html

    At the very least you will have this on your side the next time someone wants to compare you to Hitler in an argument.

  33. #33 miko
    February 6, 2006

    Maybe I was very sheltered, but in my department I never heard of ANY fellow student whose advisor wrote their thesis

    Me neither, per se…I (under)qualified that with “essentially” because I’ve seen cases where none of the ideas or conclusions seem to have originated with the student, just based on how poorly they can defend and/or articulate them. I don’t think actually writing a student’s thesis happens anywhere…I mean, who would be such a masochist?

    I guess my general feeling is that thesis topics are usually so specific that no one on earth, including (or sometimes especially) your advisor, will know more about it than you. When you see people stumped by basic questions about their assumptions or methodology or interpretations of the data, it makes you feel like someone’s done their thinking for them.

  34. #34 Ginger Yellow
    February 6, 2006

    “Just like they say you can’t discriminate against black people, or against gays, maybe they will say you can’t discriminate against Darwin-doubters,” Crocker told me.”

    I love the way “they say” you can’t discriminate against black people. What a piece of work.

  35. #35 M
    February 6, 2006

    I wonder why she sends her son to school in England? If he’s going to pass his science GCSEs he’s going to have to write about evolution, and the Big Bang and all sorts of other things she disagrees with. If she’s that religious, why didn’t she send him to school in one of those religious schools they have in the USA?

  36. #36 386sx
    February 6, 2006

    Nancey Murphy, a religious scholar at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. …

    Who wrote the article, Phillip Johnson on Trial waaay back in 1993, by the way.

    A couple of quotes:

    The main reason is that he does not adequately understand scientific reasoning.

    …anyone who attributes the characteristics of living things to creative intelligence has by definition stepped into the arena of either metaphysics or theology.

    … many Christians in science, philosophy, and theology are still haunted by the idea of a “God of the gaps.” Newton postulated divine intervention to adjust the orbits of the planets. When Laplace provided better calculations, God was no longer needed.

    The more things don’t change, the more they stay the same, I guess.

  37. #37 Barry
    February 6, 2006

    I noticed that Nature was using the term ‘Darwinist’ in that article. Could Nature be heading for ID-ism? Or just “we’re reporters we’re not supposed to know stuff” idiocy?

  38. #38 PaulC
    February 6, 2006

    It takes some chutzpah to complain about not getting your contract renewed. She probably put her signature under some boilerplate about “no obligation to renew or extend.” What’d she think that meant?

    Are IDers supposed to get de facto tenure because universities are afraid to exercise their contractual discretion?

  39. #39 Keith Douglas
    February 6, 2006

    Another way to see that the pseudobiological aspect of Nazism is in some sense secondary, note how easily it was reinterpreted in semi-theological terms by Heidegger. (Who was antisemitic, but compared to the Nazi elite, very mildly.)

  40. #40 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Paul wrote:

    “Of course we should discriminate against “Darwin-doubters”. If an electrician came to your house and said he was an “electron-doubter”, didn’t hold with all that nonsense about “circuits” and “grounds”, and told you aluminum foil was the best insulator, you’d fire him on the spot, right? So why all this absurd insistence that biology is a matter of opinion, and that we need to hire to maximize the range of different opinions on largely settled issues?”

    Your analogy is flawed. There is a large body of observational and experimental evidence supporting basic electrical principles. These principles have been verified over and over again thousands of times by scientists. That’s why we have “Ohm’s LAW, Kirchoff’s LAW,Lenz’ LAW, Faraday’s LAW, Ampere’s LAW, Coulomb’s LAW and a host of others. These are truly “setrtled issues”
    On the other hand, there is not one shred of empirical evidence, either observational or experimental, supporting a nexus between mutation, natural selection and the emergence of highly organized structures, processes, systems and organisms.
    This is perhaps the stupidest thing you’ve said in a long time and reflects poorly on your credibility. This kind of irrational misrepresentation puts you squarely among the worst of the creationist philistines.

  41. #41 Kristine
    February 6, 2006

    William Dembski himself advocated a form of “social Darwinism” on his blog when he approvingly posted a proclamation by the mayor of San Francisco ordering all looters to be shot after the 1906 earthquake.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/300

    As we all saw, black victims of Katrina were “looters,” while white people “found” staples. So much for the moral guidance of ID and the Discrimination Institute.

  42. #42 george cauldron
    February 6, 2006

    The really headache-inducing thing in all this is that the folks at places like the DI & UD would like ALL biology professors to be exactly like Crocker. As much of an airhead as she is, she must be quite the hero to them.

  43. #43 BronzeDog
    February 6, 2006

    I think Charlie needs to spend a little time at Talk Origins.

  44. #44 Ron Zeno
    February 6, 2006

    Oh look everyone! Charlie Wagner has joined us to demonstrate his complete lack knowledge in everything he writes about. (No Charlie, scientific theories do not become scientific laws) Looks like he’s going to demonstrate his lack of ethics as well. (Charlie lies to support his argument, and ends with ad hominems.) You’re off to a good start, Charlie. Keep up the good work demonstrating how ignorant, unethical, and contemptible the pro-intelligent design creationists can be!

  45. #45 dyspeptic grad student
    February 6, 2006

    BronzeDog –

    When people like Charlie say there is “no evidence supporting evolution,” what they really mean is that there is “no evidence that will ever convince me evolution is true.”

    Big difference, that. And unfortunately, Talk Origins won’t help.

  46. #46 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    BronzeDog wrote:

    “I think Charlie needs to spend a little time at Talk Origins.”

    ROFLMAO!

    Ask Paul Myers, Larry Moran, Howard Hershey, Deanne Taylor, Andy Groves or John Harshman about me. Or just Google my name in Google groups.

  47. #47 PZ Myers
    February 6, 2006

    Yes. Charlie has been lectured by the best, and has repeatedly demonstrated his phenomenal obtuseness.

  48. #48 BronzeDog
    February 6, 2006

    Ah. In other words, he’s completely closeminded. Kind of like hammegk on the JREF forums: He concedes that there’ll probably be no evidence that’ll falsify evolution, like there’ll be no up-falling objects to falsify gravity, therefore evolution is unfalsifiable and therefore untrue.

    I’m guessing Charlie’s one of those people who asks for time machines or something when it comes to our hypotheses/theories, but doesn’t apply that standard for, say, figuring out who drank the last of the milk.

    I also recall a Holocaust Denier who requested that we at the JREF forums conduct a ground survey to find so many thousand individual graves (and dimensions for them) for all the people killed at this one camp.

  49. #49 SharonC
    February 6, 2006

    I think it’s a shame, really, because you can get such good learning/teaching from when you leave the realm of “obvious to a lay person” and “whoa, that’s amazing, can that really be true? how does THAT hang together?”.

    Speaking as an educated person but relatively ignorant in biology (I work in another field of science), evolution isn’t something that is immediately obvious. When you begin to grasp some of the complexities of the theory (perhaps with the aid of Dawkins’ books) and you begin to see the answers that evolutionary theory provides to the obvious “but surely not because….” objections, it is truly an awe-inspiring realisation, that evolution really can produce the intricate complex beings that inhabit the Earth today.

    It seems to me that the misunderstandings and mischaracterisations of the ID movement provide a wonderful rich seam of topics for biology teachers to choose from, to illustrate how powerful the theory of evolution really is.

  50. #50 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Ron Zeno wrote:

    “(No Charlie, scientific theories do not become scientific laws)”

    I don’t believe I ever said that.
    Laws are descriptions of how things behave in the natural world, based on large numbers of observations. Laws, like Ohm’s Law and the Law of Gravity are such desriptions, and they are tested continually. Theories do not *become* laws, they *explain* laws. So, atomic theory and electron theory are inferred explanations for why electrons and atoms behave as they do. Not all scientific laws have theories that explain them.
    When scientists refer to the “Theory of Evolution”, they are therefore referring to an explanation for what we observe in the natural world, an explanation for the profound relatedness between all living groups and the changes that have occurred in these groups over time.
    In that context, Paul’s analogy between the Laws of electricty and the Theory of Evolution seems even more misguided.
    I would even go so far as to say that there is a Law of Evolution. If you define evolution as “change over time”, “common origins” and “molecular and morphological relatedness” then I am comfortable that this is well supported by large numbers of observations and is an accurate description of what occurs in the natural world.
    On the other hand, the Theory of Evolution, which refers only to the explanation and not to the description of what we see in nature, is poorly supported and science has failed to establish any empirical support for the claim that there exists a nexus between mutation, selection, drift and chromosome duplication and the appearance of highly organized structures, processes, systems and adaptations.
    But oh how neo-darwinians do so love to obfuscate the meanings of these terms and confuse unwitting laypersons into conflating them. The message is: “Evolution is a fact” (it is) and therefore neo-darwinism is also a fact (it isn’t).

  51. #51 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Paul wrote:

    “Yes. Charlie has been lectured by the best, and has repeatedly demonstrated his phenomenal obtuseness.”

    http://www.charliewagner.net/stonedeaf.jpg

    Stone Deaf is one of the few truly invincible Warriors because nothing can shatter his impenetrable armor of non recognition. His primitive battle strategy is maddening effective; he simply refuses to acknowledge any arguments he doesn’t like. Kung-Fu Master can hammer away with devastating blows, Cyber Sisters can screech in full throat and Profundus Maximus can expound until he drops, but Stone Deaf remains utterly oblivious as he advances his dogged and often repetitious attacks. In the early stages of battle a wide array of Warriors will fling themselves at Stone Deaf, but inevitably they fall back exahusted or lose interest when they see that their best weapons have no effect. His only real enemy is Admin, who has the power to eject him from the discussion forum.

    Drawing and caption credit to Mike Reed
    http://redwing.hutman.net/%7Emreed/

  52. #52 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Paul wrote:

    “Yes. Charlie has been lectured by the best, and has repeatedly demonstrated his phenomenal obtuseness.”

    http://www.charliewagner.net/stonedeaf.jpg

    Stone Deaf is one of the few truly invincible Warriors because nothing can shatter his impenetrable armor of non recognition. His primitive battle strategy is maddening effective; he simply refuses to acknowledge any arguments he doesn’t like. Kung-Fu Master can hammer away with devastating blows, Cyber Sisters can screech in full throat and Profundus Maximus can expound until he drops, but Stone Deaf remains utterly oblivious as he advances his dogged and often repetitious attacks. In the early stages of battle a wide array of Warriors will fling themselves at Stone Deaf, but inevitably they fall back exahusted or lose interest when they see that their best weapons have no effect. His only real enemy is Admin, who has the power to eject him from the discussion forum.

    Drawing and caption credit to Mike Reed
    redwing dot hutman dot net slash %7Emreed

  53. #53 Graculus
    February 6, 2006

    Hey, Charlie.

    What law does the Germ Theory explain?

  54. #54 Ron Zeno
    February 6, 2006

    “Nobody cares what you think, Charlie. (shrug)”

  55. #55 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Graculus wrote:

    “What law does the Germ Theory explain?”

    Laws are descriptions of what happens in the natural world.
    In the natural world, people suffer from diseases.
    Germ Theory explains the causes of these diseases.
    Some Laws of nature are self-evident like “people get sick” and “the planets revolve around the sun” or “the sun rises in the east” that are not codified into laws but nevertheless are accurate descriptions of how things behave in the natural world and science develops theories to explain them.

  56. #56 RavenT
    February 6, 2006

    This is perhaps the stupidest thing you’ve said in a long time and reflects poorly on your credibility. This kind of irrational misrepresentation puts you squarely among the worst of the creationist philistines.

    You are so right, Charlie–I wouldn’t blame you if you stalked out of here in disgust, never to darken PZ’s doorstep again.

    That’d show us.

  57. #57 george cauldron
    February 6, 2006

    Charlie, you dropped out of this site and PT several months ago. Now, after several months of nothing but occasional nonsequiturs, you’re back to your old style. What the hell’s up? The meds not working? Jeesh.

    I remember a conversation at (I think) PT last summer where you declared you were making it the goal of the rest of your life to singlehandedly ‘defeat Darwinism’ or something like that. Several of us got up and basically pointed out that if you’re elderly, this is an amazingly wasteful way to spend the rest of your years. You dropped out not long after that, and so I figured you took the hint and decided to develop a life and maybe hang out with your grandchildren more. Perhaps I was mistaken, but… why are you back doing this again?

  58. #58 Les Lane
    February 6, 2006

    “Charlie has been lectured by the best, and has repeatedly demonstrated his phenomenal obtuseness.”

    This puts him in a class with Phillip Johnson.

  59. #59 Les Lane
    February 6, 2006

    A check of Crocker on Citation Index shows publications of the sort that normally lead to a research assistantship in a med school, not a mainline science faculty position. Her field is sufficiently narrow so that she can easily overlook modern evolution (as well as modern biochemistry). Her Soton pubs also carry a Creighton address. Does anyone know if she’s spent time in Omaha.

  60. #60 Timothy Chase
    February 6, 2006

    “There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution.” That’s grounds for dismissal right there, I would hope. She’s been so busy reading Discovery Institute press releases and religious tracts that she has apparently never visited her university library, or even looked at an evolutionary biology textbook! I suggest she spend a little time in the stacks-books on evolution are in the QH’s-and otherwise get out of the classroom until she’s a little better qualified.

    Heck, she doesn’t even have to visit the library — there is plenty of information on the internet for anyone with the curiousity of a dragonfly. Here is a link to a post from DebunkCreation which I sent out a while ago which includes links to a great deal of evidence on the web. (Incidentally, the post also includes links to criticism of Intelligent Design.)

    Evolution Links / Debunking ID Links
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DebunkCreation/message/80776

    PS First sentence should read, “I hope no one minds, …” — I was a little quick to hit the “send” key.

  61. #61 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    George Cauldron wrote:

    “Several of us got up and basically pointed out that if you’re elderly, this is an amazingly wasteful way to spend the rest of your years.”

    Oh, the Jon Davison gambit, heh!
    First of all, I’m not “elderly”, I’m not yet 62. I was born on St. Paddy’s Day, so you can remember to send me a card πŸ˜‰
    I find it insulting that you think that this is the only thing I do with my life. In fact, it’s nothing more than a distraction when I’m not busy with other things.
    It so happens that I’ve had a few bouts of illness in 2005, but I’m basically back in shape. In addition, I travel a lot. If you look at my website, you will find photo albums of me and the xyl (ex-young lady) in various spots around the country.
    I do admit that I have a definite hard-on for darwinism but it’s not an all consuming passion. In fact, it takes a lot less of my time than Paul allots to keeping this blog going. I often wonder how he has *any* time for anything else, including his teaching.
    What drives me on to pursue this matter relentlessly is the fact that I almost never hear substantive, scientific criticism of anything I ever say. Just look at the responses in this thread. Not one scrap of information or one claim of any kind to support neo-darwinism. I keep hearing about that “mountain of evidence”, but no one ever brings any of it to my attention.
    The only thing that still bothers me is that my personality has become more important than the scientific issues. There’s no denying that I can be a little arrogant and this effects how people view what I say. I could come here and say something perfectly unobjectionable and people would roll their eyes and say “oh, there goes old Charlie Wagner again!”
    But Paul can be as offensive, irritating and disagreeable as he wants and thousands still flock to this site because they agree with him. I’m saying stuff that no one wants to hear so I naturally evoke a hostile response.

  62. #62 Gh
    February 6, 2006

    Not one scrap of information or one claim of any kind to support neo-darwinism. I keep hearing about that “mountain of evidence”, but no one ever brings any of it to my attention.

    and then

    But Paul can be as offensive, irritating and disagreeable as he wants and thousands still flock to this site because they agree with him.

    The difference Charlie is that the evidence has been presented ad nauseum but you either A. ignore it or B. don’t see the obvious. Either way people say what they say about you because they do see it ad understand.

  63. #63 george cauldron
    February 6, 2006

    What drives me on to pursue this matter relentlessly is the fact that I almost never hear substantive, scientific criticism of anything I ever say. Just look at the responses in this thread.

    No. I remember plenty of people arguing with you on PT. I think you get the responses you do here because ‘your personality precedes you’, as the saying goes.

    I find it insulting that you think that this is the only thing I do with my life. In fact, it’s nothing more than a distraction when I’m not busy with other things.

    Fine, but maybe ask yourself why people might make that assumption.

    Not one scrap of information or one claim of any kind to support neo-darwinism. I keep hearing about that “mountain of evidence”, but no one ever brings any of it to my attention.

    Uh huh.

  64. #64 Timothy Chase
    February 6, 2006

    Charlie wrote:

    Your analogy is flawed. There is a large body of observational and experimental evidence supporting basic electrical principles. These principles have been verified over and over again thousands of times by scientists. That’s why we have “Ohm’s LAW, Kirchoff’s LAW,Lenz’ LAW, Faraday’s LAW, Ampere’s LAW, Coulomb’s LAW and a host of others. These are truly “setrtled issues”
    On the other hand, there is not one shred of empirical evidence, either observational or experimental, supporting a nexus between mutation, natural selection and the emergence of highly organized structures, processes, systems and organisms.
    This is perhaps the stupidest thing you’ve said in a long time and reflects poorly on your credibility. This kind of irrational misrepresentation puts you squarely among the worst of the creationist philistines.

    (see above)

    Charlie, the bit that PZM quoted which he saw as evidence for the claim that Crocker shouldn’t be teaching biology was the following:

    “There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution,” Crocker said. Besides, she added, she saw her role as trying to balance the “ad nauseum” pro-evolution accounts that students had long been force-fed.

    She was not talking about “…supporting a nexus between mutation, natural selection and the emergence of highly organized structures, processes, systems and organisms.” In trying to shift the argument from the existence of evolution to the question of how evolution took place, you are engaged in the red herring fallacy — you are switching subjects, then arguing against something PZM wasn’t even discussing — and castigating him in fairly vitriolic terms for something he never said. Real scientists disagree about how evolution took place, whether we are talking about gradualism vs. punctuated equilibria, or selectionism vs. neutralism vs. near neutralism. But no one who is honest and who has examined the evidence can claim that evolution itself has not taken place or can even consider this point seriously open to doubt.

    You want evidence for the fact that evolution took place?

    Check here:

    Evolution Links / Debunking ID Links

    Incidentally, I know you have already seen most of this when I ran into you elsewhere, but some people need to be reminded due to failing of memory, whereas others need to be publicly reminded due to other failings.

  65. #65 Timothy Chase
    February 6, 2006

    Charlie,

    I understand that you have been hard at work coming up with a revised theory of Intelligent Design which overcomes all major problems encountered by the theory as it has been presented so far. When your new theory receives a hearing, no doubt it will be regarded as the greatest scientific achievement since the first publication of the book “Of Pandas and People.” However, I also realize that you have had difficulty getting that hearing which your theory so richly deserves. May I suggest that you consider the list DebunkCreation? I have little doubt that Lenny Flank would love to host the public debute of so momentous a theory and have the list give it all the consideration which it so richly deserves.

    If you would like an opportunity to present your theory, please go to DebunkCreation and click the button “Join this Group.” We will be looking forward….

  66. #66 WatchfulBabbler
    February 6, 2006

    Ah, I see Truro is part of the far-right schismatic movement in the Episcopal Church — the same folks who are up in arms about gay bishops, women priests, and what they apparently think of as a secular humanist Book of Common Prayer. The fact that they also run around denouncing evolution doesn’t surprise me — but shows just how far out of the mainstream they truly are.

  67. #67 Charlie Wagner
    February 6, 2006

    Timothy Chase wrote:

    “I understand that you have been hard at work coming up with a revised theory of Intelligent Design which overcomes all major problems encountered by the theory as it has been presented so far.”

    You are misinformed. There is no “Theory of Intelligent Design”, nor do I expect one in the near future.

    “I have little doubt that Lenny Flank would love to host the public debute of so momentous a theory and have the list give it all the consideration which it so richly deserves.”

    Again, you are misinformed. Lenny Flank is not the least bit interested in anything I have to say.

  68. #68 george cauldron
    February 6, 2006

    Again, you are misinformed. Lenny Flank is not the least bit interested in anything I have to say.

    I’d have to agree with that. πŸ™‚

  69. #69 Timothy Chase
    February 6, 2006

    Charlie wrote:

    You are misinformed. There is no “Theory of Intelligent Design”, nor do I expect one in the near future.

    Hey, Charlie — give it a try. If you get together with Marshall Nelson and work at it, I have little doubt that it will be a major scientific revolution in the making! For people like you two, there really are no limits…

  70. #70 gwangung
    February 6, 2006

    I lost interested in Charlie when he compared himself to Feynmann, and, like him, didn’t need equations to deal with thermodynamics.

  71. #71 jw
    February 6, 2006

    Coulomb’s Law? You mean the one that was superseded by the Theory of Quantum Electrodynamics? Laws are a historical term, not a better form of theory, which is why most of them have been superseded by modern theories, like Newton’s Law of Gravitation, which was superseded by the Theory of General Relativity.

  72. #72 miko
    February 6, 2006

    Charlie’s tenacity and aplomb in clinging to poorly considered and sloppily reasoned (not to mention wilfully ignorant and narrow) opinions and arguments reminds me of something I’ve often wondered: Why do people so often consider unanimous disapproval a badge of righteousness? Is this a Christian thing because everyone got mad at Jebus, but he was magical after all? This smug “ooh, i really got under your skin” tone. It’s like a baby that thinks its funny to throw food on the floor, just because it gets a reaction.

    I mean sure, it happens…the lone voice in the wilderness is right and everyone else was wrong, but mostly it’s just in made for TV movies about small towns in the shadow of huge, poorly constructed dams. 99.9% of the time, if everyone says you’re wrong they probably AT LEAST have a point, particularly if you are talking about their area of expertise and you happen to be crank with a little misinformation and a lot of puffy god-confidence. I mean, it should at least inspire you to intellectually arm yourself a little better. Like maybe read a book, take a correspondence course in critical thinking…anything.

    In the 0.1% of cases where it goes the other way, I have a feeling rationalists have a better track record than religious zombies, whether they’re shrieking and burning witches or wearing a cheap discovery institute suits.

    Here’s the deal Charlie: ID made a bunch of claims which have been thoroughly shown to be groundless. Again: all of the claims of ID have been refuted, and these refutations are easily available to anyone, like you, with a computer.

    Because it’s a debate, now you have to respond to the refutations, preferably using data (look it up) or rational arguments, or come up with new claims. You do neither, you just repeat the original, debunked claims louder. It goes nowhere…I mean, get it together! You guys think you’re right, shut up for a while and do some MFing research and get back to us!

  73. #73 Graculus
    February 6, 2006

    Some Laws of nature are self-evident like “people get sick” and “the planets revolve around the sun” or “the sun rises in the east” that are not codified into laws but nevertheless are accurate descriptions of how things behave in the natural world and science develops theories to explain them.

    You mean like how the Theory of Evolution explains the self-evident “law” that populations change and new species arise from previous species?

    I’d love for you to explain how “the sun rises in the east” is a “natural law”. Or how “the planets revolve around the sun” is “self-evident”.

    I’ve seen pretzels with less bends than the “reasoning” contained in a single one of your statements.

  74. #74 Graculus
    February 6, 2006

    Harry
    (Senior moment; cannot recall who said that but he was a big cheese.)

    IIRC, Dobzhansky (sp?)

  75. #75 Timothy Chase
    February 6, 2006

    Graculus:

    Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” The American Biology Teacher, March 1973

    Got this from pbs.org. Dobzhansky is perhaps best known for the concept of allopatric speciation — the idea that physical or geographic isolation leads to the accumulation of Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities, resulting in reproductive isolation even once the two populations are brought back together again. This mechanism of speciation was further developed with the help of Ernst Mayr and other biologists. The “other two” forms of speciation (i.e., within this schema) are “sympatric” (sharing the same territory) or “parapatric” (in neighboring but non-overlapping territories).

  76. #76 Torbjorn Larsson
    February 7, 2006

    It seems old “charlie wagner” is back as “Charlie Wagner”. (Didn’t we already have a sane “Charlie Wagner” somewhere here?) If so, he is a crackpot. You can argue by facts, but he will not recognise them as such, at least on his pet theories. (“no evolution”, “no big bang”, probably some more.) “Arguing is futile.” πŸ™‚ But it is probably good to point out his errors each time so that they wont harm innocent bystanders.

  77. #77 Holly P.
    February 7, 2006

    Timothy Chase:

    While Dobzhansky certainly was a proponent and refiner of the concept of allopatric speciation, the concept itself can be traced back to Darwin (“Finally, then, I suppose that a large number of closely allied or representative species… were originally formed in parts formerly isolated” – Darwin, quoted on p. 81 of Coyne and Orr’s exhaustive 2004 treatise on speciation). The term was coined, I believe, by Mayr.

  78. #78 Timothy Chase
    February 7, 2006

    Holly P. wrote:

    While Dobzhansky certainly was a proponent and refiner of the concept of allopatric speciation, the concept itself can be traced back to Darwin (“Finally, then, I suppose that a large number of closely allied or representative species… were originally formed in parts formerly isolated” – Darwin, quoted on p. 81 of Coyne and Orr’s exhaustive 2004 treatise on speciation). The term was coined, I believe, by Mayr.

    I would certainly agree that Darwin anticipated the idea, although Leopold von Buch anticipated it and its importance well before Darwin, back in 1825 as the result of his studies of the fauna and flora of the Canary Islands. Similarly, Moritz Wagner more fully articulated a the view of allopatric speciation in 1868. And while Darwin certainly dealt with the idea and illustrated the role of allopatric speciation with his study of the Galapagos mockingbirds, but the time he published “Origin of the Species” in 1859, he had already adopted a sympatric view of speciation.

    As I understand it, the idea was introduced to and became part of the modern synthesis as the result of Dobzhansky’s “Genetics and the Origin of Species” first published in 1937. As far as I know, Mayr didn’t really deal with it until “Systemics and the Origin of Species” first published in 1942 — who consequently greatly defended its importance. Prior to Mayr’s treatment, even population geneticists regarded sympatry as the principle form of speciation. Sympatry fell in importance, but more recently has been making something of a comeback.

    In any case, please always feel free to correct me: it helps me learn a great deal more than I would otherwise.

  79. #79 Timothy Chase
    February 7, 2006

    Incidentally, I think part of the reason why Darwin rejected the role of allopatry in the branching of species (cladogenesis) when it was suggested by Wagner was that it wouldn’t actually require natural selection, only variation. As for who actually coined the term, on this point, I simply do not know, but I would certainly be interested in finding out.

  80. #80 Timothy Balch
    February 7, 2006

    Her PhD dissertation was Studies on the modulation of phosphodiesterase activity in human T lymphocytes by Irene Caroline Crocker. Awarded by the University of Southampton (United Kingdom) in 1999. Abstract: “The potency of glucocorticoids (GC) and phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors in T lymphocytes varies depending on whether the cells are derived from symptomatic or asymptomatic atopic or nonatopic donors. …. In conclusion, I have confirmed that both PDE inhibitors and GCs suppress proliferation and cytokine secretion. Since GCs are much more potent than PDE inhibitors in suppressing T cell function and only moderately reduce PDE activity, it is evident that their effects are mediated at most partially through inhibition of PDE activity. The complex pattern of effect of GCs on PDE activity indicates that a number of pathways, both direct and indirect, may be involved. Clearly, more work is necessary to fully elucidate the mechanisms that play a role in GC inhibition of PDE activity.”

  81. #81 Glen Davidson
    February 7, 2006

    Maybe we should compare Caroline Crocker with Denzel Crocker on The Fairly Oddparents. She’s a loon who thinks that gods reach down inside of living organisms to design or re-design them, and Denzel Crocker believes that fairies exist and grant wishes (though paradoxically they do exist on the program, which makes this crackpot correct according to the premises of the show).

    Denzel at least doesn’t turn fairies into engineers or mechanics, quite unlike lunatics like Behe and Caroline Crocker. What is more, he does have personal observational evidence for fairies, while clearly Caroline Crocker and Dembski do not have evidence for their “designer”. That is to say, if one were to actually observe causation by some unknown entity, then one really would have some good tentative evidence to go on, while C. Crocker and the other IDiots don’t even bother to come up with a plausible causal explanation for their own pseudoscience.

    Yes, on the whole I think that the crazies who at least see hallucinated entities “acting” are far less irrational and deficient in the use of their cognitive faculties than are the people who would claim “the designer did it” without any evidence for said designer (perhaps Behe and Dembski are more sane in other areas, but not in the area they are famous for). I think the IDiots must come off poorly in comparison with genuinely insane people (at least in the area of origins), since they have come to deny even the proper use of the cognitive processes needed to understand the world from observed evidences. They are perhaps the least plausible group of humans that have ever come substantially into public consciousness.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

  82. #82 emma
    March 21, 2006

    Oh my God!!

    If teacher is like this then what would happen of our little kids. How would they learn?

    Only God knows what would happen to them?

  83. #83 Chuck
    February 24, 2008

    While I greatly respect your expertise as a biologist, I have a serious disagreement with you about this article:

    “Prof” Crocker’s CRACKPOT Index score is at least 95 points (though probably much more):

    -5 (beginning credit) + 30 (for comparison to Galileo) + 30 (for claiming that the scientific “man” is keeping her down) + 40 (for claiming to have a revolutionary theory with absolutely no testable predictions – ID) + … >= 95

  84. #84 Cyrus Deeken
    January 1, 2010

    It pprs tht y hv plcd lt f ffrt nt yr rtcl nd I rqr mr f ths n th nt ths dys. I sncrly gt kck t f yr pst. I dn’t rlly hv mch t sy n rspns, I nly wntd t cmmnt t rply wndrfl wrk.

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