I’ve been overestimating creationists. Every time I look at what they’re saying about evolution, my estimation drops yet further … you’d think that after years of tracking this stuff, they’d bottom out, but no. The latest examples are some snippets from a presentation by Caroline Crocker. Crocker is one of the martyrs of ID — she was released from a temporary teaching position at George Mason University, and claims it was because she is a creationist, when the real explanation is that she’s an incompetent kook.
Her powerpoint slides have to be seen to be believed. Here’s one example. Can you spot the egregious errors?
Presumed Transitional Forms
- Birds there in same layer.
- Is a bird (like an ostrich), not a reptobird.
- Only one complete fossil and has been questioned as a fraud.
- Eohippus is found in the same layers as the modern horse.
- Eohippus is the same as modern-day hyrax.
Wow. This woman is actually taken seriously by the Discovery Institute? She has everything wrong!
- “Birds” are a diverse group. The kinds of birds found in the Jurassic are distinct from the ones alive now; it’s disingenuous to use a broad term like “birds” to minimize the variety of forms known in the evolution of this clade.
- Archaeopteryx is nothing like an ostrich, and it has features that we simply don’t see in modern birds, like a toothed beak.
“Reptobird”. Heh. What a maroon.
- There are 7 good specimens of Archaeopteryx. Why do creationists exhibit such a pathetic knowledge of the subjects they claim to be criticizing? And sure, an astronomer claimed Archaeopteryx was a fraud. He was wrong.
- Eohippus has been renamed to Hyracotherium. It’s 55 million years old. There are no fossils of modern horses (genus Equus) that are that old — Equus arose about 4 million years ago. We actually have a good idea of the pattern of horse evolution, and Crocker is just making crap up.
- Horses, including Hyracotherium, belong to the order Perissodactyla; Hyraxes are in the order Hyracoidea. They are very different critters. This confusion is a well-documented in the creationist literature, and it’s clear where she got these lies…and it wasn’t from any impartial study of the science.
This was one slide in her set, and it contains nothing but ignorant falsehoods that anyone who can fire up a web browser and use google can check…wich gives you an idea of the level of scholarship these people exercise. And then she claims, “I was so careful when I wrote that lecture not to be partial in any way.” There was no care taken at all; her research is so poorly done that I can’t even imagine any of my freshman students doing such a sloppy job.
Crocker makes the interesting argument that she shouldn’t have been fired for presenting this material to her students, because the administrators knew what she’d been teaching — she had all these slides posted on the web. She seems oblivious to the possibility that she lost her job precisely because of the poor content of her work. It wouldn’t matter whether someone was a creationist or not, if a colleague of mine who accepted evolution were lying to her students with such ignorant fabrications, I would be lobbying to not renew her contract, too.
Watch the video where she claims to have been teaching only science, and that her dismissal was an issue of academic freedom. That one slide above, though, is sufficient to demonstrate that there’s another very good reason she was let go: she was incompetent and unqualified. Be warned, though, that the video also includes clips of Slimy Sal Cordova. You’ll need to shower afterwards.