Pharyngula

Are there no intelligent creationists?

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

  • Archeopteryx
    • 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.
  • Horse
    • 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!

Presumed Transitional Forms

  • Archeopteryx Archaeopteryx
    • “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.
  • Horse
    • 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.

Comments

  1. #1 Christopher Taylor
    February 14, 2008

    There are 7 good specimens of Archaeopteryx.

    Actually, ten are known (not including the single feather specimen that Archaeopteryx was originally based on, but which could be nearly anything), though one of them that was in a private collection is currently missing in action. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx)

  2. #2 Randall
    February 14, 2008

    “her research is so pporly done that I can’t even imagine any of my freshman students doing such a sloppy job.”

    Speaking of pporly-done research…

  3. #3 Shigella
    February 14, 2008

    What is a “reptobird,” exactly? Cause I’m flipping through my vertebrates textbook, and I can’t find that term anywhere. I know what she meant by that name, but it sounds kinda made up (creationists making stuff up? Be still my beating heart!). Someone correct me if that’s actually a term used by ornithologists.

    “Da da da daaa! What’s that up there in sky? It’s a bird! It’s a reptile! No, it’s REPTOBIRD!”

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  4. #4 B McManus
    February 14, 2008

    Are there any intelligent, well-informed creationists in the fossil record? Because I don’t think I’ve ever met one.

  5. #5 Zeno
    February 14, 2008

    Smart creationists? No such thing. The ones who took over the student government at a college in Sacramento are so dumb their GPAs dropped below 2.0 and made them ineligible to serve on the student council. Three of them got tossed off and the creationist-Christian bloc lost their majority. Maybe they should have studied something other than the Bible. [Link]

  6. #6 Andy James
    February 14, 2008

    Creationists have to know what to cover up and or fabricate in order to make their lies complete.

    They are dirty liars, or simpletons. In my opinion, anyone claiming to have knowledge of a subject when they don’t, they’re lying.

    Liars are not smart nor totally dumb. To some extent they could be seen to have “street smarts”. Just like snake oil salesmen, they have a product to push, which is fake information to support lazy anti-intellectuals. They use their street smarts to trick Joe Christian, that evidence exists to support their odd belief in a violent rapist murderer, genocidal maniac of an invisible Muppet desert god.

    I love to hear of Christians lying to each other. If lets me know, I and we are on the right side, the side of evidence and science.

  7. #7 defaithed
    February 14, 2008

    She uses PowerPoint; that alone raises a red flag on the intelligence front.

    That aside, it’s amazing to watch the nonsense the creationists come up with as they flail about. As long as the rationalists keep holding up and mocking the idiocy in creationism, the “believers” are doing most of the work for us!

  8. #8 Owlmirror
    February 14, 2008

    A reptobird or reptibird is something like a fishibian.

    Only completely different.

  9. #9 Form&Function
    February 14, 2008

    I love the fact that she quotes Werner von Braun as an authority on evolution.

    But he’s a ROCKET SCIENTIST! He must be smart.

  10. #10 Form&Function
    February 14, 2008

    I love the fact that she quotes Werner von Braun as an authority on evolution.

    But he’s a ROCKET SCIENTIST! He must be smart.

  11. #11 Lago
    February 14, 2008

    PZ…Stop using TalkOrigin!!!

    It is dated as all hell and in many cases, simply wrong!!!

    Have a nice day…

  12. #12 Shane
    February 14, 2008

    Fred Hoyle, surely? (a clever maroon; knew zero about evolution)

  13. #13 reinis
    February 14, 2008

    @Lago: [citation needed]

  14. #14 Derek Huby
    February 14, 2008

    Zeno @9,

    “Three of them got tossed off and the creationist-Christian bloc lost their majority.”

    Just as an interesting cross-cultural point, the first part of that sentence would mean something quite different in the UK…

  15. #15 AL
    February 14, 2008

    @ Randall #6

    Spelling is not research.

  16. #16 tacitus
    February 14, 2008

    Oh, and she’s writing a book too:

    Science Censored is much like To Sir With Love becoming To Madam With Hate. It is the true story of a university biology professor who encouraged intellectual honesty in her students and was punished by being deprived of her job, her legal counsel, and her lifelong dream of being a tenured professor. Listen in as she discovers the joys and challenges of teaching, finds humility and adjusts her methods as her ideas come into contact with the reality of the classroom. Witness her shock at being summarily removed from the classroom, her valiant attempt to fight for her constitutional and academic rights, and her disillusionment with the inequitable treatment doled out under the guise of “due process.” Watch the Darwinian machine try to crush her and her message that the right to be intellectually honest and search for truth must be protected. Be anxious with her as she receives email threats, her story draws media attention, and she makes a career-killing decision to be featured in a blockbuster documentary. Readers will find themselves moving from disbelief to shocked outrage with Dr. Crocker as she tells her compelling story illustrating the university as a place where critical thinking is forbidden.

    http://www.intellectualhonesty.info/index_files/Mybook.htm

    Coming to a bargain bin at Half-Price Books in 2008(ish).

    Just breaks your heart….

  17. #17 tacitus
    February 14, 2008

    Apparently she learned most of her science at a trio of British Universities — Birmingham, Warwick, and Southampton. As an ex-pat Brit, I apologize on behalf of the British Higher Education system for its failure to drive all that creationist claptrap from her mind.

  18. #18 Patrick Quigley
    February 14, 2008

    Crocker… claims it was because she is a creationist, when the real explanation is that she’s an incompetent kook.

    You are both correct. Creationists are a subset of the set of all incompetent kooks.

  19. #19 Dutch Delight
    February 14, 2008

    I’m just glad you had the sense not to attack the slides about PYGMIES & DWARFS and the big enigma of them all, why are there still monkies!

    At least, judging from this slide that seems the level of intellectual honesty she’s comfortable with.

  20. #20 Lago
    February 14, 2008

    reinis asks:
    “@Lago: [citation needed]”

    Are you asking for citations to show TalkOrigin is dated? I didn’t know they had a reference data base designed that way.

    If you mean evidence for new data that shows origins as being dated, how about the fact that it claims 7 specimens for Archaeopteryx when there are in fact 10?

    and this:
    2) Opposable hallux (big toe).
    “This also is a character of birds and not of dinosaurs. Although opposable big toes are found in other groups, they are not, as far as I am aware, found in dinosaurs. A reversed big toe is found in some dinosaurs however, and the condition is approached in some theropod dinosaurs.”

    The above has been shown not to be true by way of the Thermopolis specimen not shown on the site. Thermopolis is number “10″

    And how is this for dating? Under “STOP PRESS” is written:

    “Feathered Dinosaurs Found

    Two species of dinosaur have recently been found in northeast China which possess feathers (Qiang et al. 1998). Protoarchaeopteryx robusta and Caudipteryx zoui show regiges, rectrices and plumulaceous feather inpressions. Further, they are not birds, lacking a reverted (backwards facing) big toe (see number 2 below) and a quadrratojugal squamosal contact, having a quadrojugal joined to the quatrate by a ligament and a reduced or absent process of the ishium. These and other characters group Protoarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx with maniraptoran coelurosaurs rather than birds.”

    The above “Stop the press” type response is, as shown in the quote, From “1998″

    This was added at that time because it was “new” relative to what had been printed there. That was ten freakin’ years ago! But why and where is this problematic? Well, here is one area:

    “Conclusions

    Archaeopteryx is a bird because it had feathers. However, it retained many dinosaurian characters which are not found in modern birds, whilst having certain characters found in birds but not in dinosaurs. By virtue of this fact Archaeopteryx represents an example of a group in transition – a representative which, although on the sidelines in the dinosaur to bird transition, an echo of the actual event, still allows a brief glimpse into the possible mechanism which brought about the evolution of the birds and by its very existence shows that such a transition is possible.”

    This quote above is from the same page, where they define bird as simply anything with feathers, this despite the fact the “stop press” comment was supposed to show that this trait was now not strictly held to birds, but is part of a larger group of animals in which birds are included. In other words, the site was not even properly edited to be in agreement with its own set of facts.

    Overall the site is still “mostly” accurate, but it is at least ten years behind the times.

  21. #21 Peter Mc
    February 14, 2008

    ‘Are there no intelligent creationists?’

    Is that a rhetorical question?

  22. #22 October Mermaid
    February 14, 2008

    It’s just not fair. Teachers should be allowed to teach whatever they want, regardless of truth or factual basis. It’s well within her rights to ignore inconvenient evidence and avoid researching troubling topics and going with her heart. She’s so nice and friendly that we don’t want to lose a teacher like her.

    The most important thing a teacher can do is be charismatic. Actually teaching things backed by evidence and reality is just another unfair pressure placed on teachers by the Darwin Club that is strangling academia.

    Also, I am this angry: >=-\

  23. #23 Valhar2000
    February 14, 2008

    [...]claims it was because she is a creationist, when the real explanation is that she’s an incompetent kook.

    But, PZ, isn’t one of those a subset of the other?

    Any creationists should be fired from any teaching position for that reason.

  24. #24 Lago
    February 14, 2008

    negentropyeater, try this site:

    http://www.palaeos.com/

    It is extremely data dense and discusses old verses new as well as contradictory ideas. It tries to keep up the science, even though it is not really run by scientists. It is, however, assisted by scientists to a great degree. It is certainly one of the best sites on the whole of the web.

  25. #25 DrFrank
    February 14, 2008

    My thought about the `fraud’ in relation to archaeopteryx was that she may have been confusing it with the archaeoraptor.

    Why do creationists exhibit such a pathetic knowledge of the subjects they claim to be criticizing?
    Because, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to criticise it ;)

  26. #26 Lago
    February 14, 2008

    Just in case you find it is not easy to navigate at first, here is a sample page dealing with basal tetrapod evolution. Compare this to “TalkOrigin” :

    http://www.palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Units/150Tetrapoda/150.000.html

    I think you’ll find it far more in depth, as well as up to date…

  27. #27 W. Kevin Vicklund
    February 14, 2008

    What is a “reptobird,” exactly?

    What, haven’t you heard of the elusive CROCODUCK?

  28. #28 Cthulhu's_minion
    February 14, 2008

    The main problem with creationists has to do with the fact they use a different set of rules for defining evidence and will ignore anything that doesn’t agree with their preconcieved notions. I recently had one tell me that MRSA and the bt resistant bollworm (which is a big issue here in Mississippi) were not examples of evolution because there is no such thing as a benevolent mutation. I eventually realised there was no way to convince him and gave up.

  29. #29 Ed
    February 14, 2008

    P.Z., fix this typo: “her research is so pporly done.” I found it hilarious (didn’t quite spew coffee, but close) — but some creationist will make a point of it.

    The really sad thing is that this woman probably believes she was being careful. Too many people don’t know creationist crapola even after it bites them near the tail feathers.

  30. #30 kwandongbrian
    February 14, 2008

    LAGO & negentropyeater,

    I find it strange that you are so interested in Jason Gastrich. Also that no one has managed to drive that jerk off that site.

    talkorigins might well be out of date.

  31. #31 Andrew
    February 14, 2008

    Love the spellink misstakes in your poast! :)

  32. #32 Lago
    February 14, 2008

    Kwandong…

    I have no idea why you assume I am interested in a certain “Jason Gastrich.” I do not remember ever mentioning him, or referring to him…

  33. #33 Ashley Moore
    February 14, 2008

    Am I the only one who saw the first slide describing Darwin:

    * Failed at medical school
    * Had some training as clergyman
    * Rich kid who enjoyed partying, drinking & gambling
    * Went to Galapagos islands
    * Father was not pleased

    ..and thought, ‘He could be President of the USA!’?

  34. #34 Zeno
    February 14, 2008

    Derek @ 21:

    If they got “tossed off” more often, they wouldn’t be so grumpy.

    Of course, getting tossed off the student council probably made them grumpier. But it serves them right, the wankers.

  35. #35 kwandongbrian
    February 14, 2008

    Lago,

    Yeah, I know. I don’t have a lot of valuable input to give so I try to be funny.

    talkorigin.org is Gastrich’s ‘trapsite’- I just invented the word. If you miss the ‘s’ in talkorigins.org, you are redirected to Gastrich’s site.

    Again, I don’t have anything to add to the conversation -TalkOrigins may well need to be updated – I just wanted to be involved.

  36. #36 tai haku
    February 14, 2008

    Holy crap – I spotted most of those errors and I’m a city desk-jockey with nothing more than a passing interest in the paleo stuff. Unforgivably sloppy even by ID standards.

  37. #37 Kevin Beck
    February 14, 2008

    What is a “reptobird,” exactly?

    You’ve heard of a “creofessor,” right? That’s a creationist who functions capably and honestly in an academic setting, rigorously testing all of her hypotheses about life and its origins before reaching any conclusions, fearlessly challenging her own Biblical beliefs when they show obvious signs of breakdown, and avoiding dogmatism at all costs, especially with regard to her dealings with students.

    Do these organisms actually exist? Fuck no — but you can still say the word, and, you know, it sounds kind of technical.

    Same idea.

  38. #38 Science Goddess
    February 14, 2008

    I think the “Repti-birds” came from Penny Higgins’ work on transitional forms. The references can be found here: http://csicop.org/intelligentdesignwatch/ I’ve used her concepts (with her permission, of course) in my intro to biology, where we touch on evolution (the next course is heavily into evolution) to discuss transitional forms, and what we look for in order to identify them.

    Take a look.

    SG

  39. #39 Flex
    February 14, 2008

    Tacitus brings to our attention a key item, from the description of her upcoming book, “Listen in as she discovers the joys and challenges of teaching, finds humility and adjusts her methods as her ideas come into contact with the reality of the classroom.” (My emphasis).

    It’s not the first time that I’ve encountered the euphemism “finds humility” meaning “I’ve become a born-again fundamentalist christian”. Often with the adjunct meaning of “my perception of reality is synomynous with a literal interpetation of a 1700-year-old book of myths, and any evidence which suggests otherwise is intolerable.”

    It would be so nice if ‘finding humility’ really meant ‘becoming humble’.

    So, tacitus, no need to apologize for the failure of the English school system in this instance. This instance of reality avoidance probably shouldn’t be laid at the feet of the English school system.

  40. #40 Mark
    February 14, 2008

    Compared to what ID/Creationists are using for their source I’d say TalkOrigins is still current…

  41. #41 negentropyeater
    February 14, 2008

    Flex,
    all these people with their false pretentions of humility, make me sometimes believe that Nietzche was right, that in the end this is almost always a false virtue, which is just there in order to conceal one’s ignorance and hide one’s attempt at convincing others of untrue information…

  42. #42 Moses
    February 14, 2008

    She uses PowerPoint; that alone raises a red flag on the intelligence front.

    Posted by: defaithed | February 14, 2008 2:02 AM

    So does my wife. She’s an associate research professor at Vanderbilt Univsertiy. And you know what else, pretty much everyone else in biology, regardless of the lab, uses it too. It’s the standard.

  43. #43 extatyzoma
    February 14, 2008

    the dumb creationist is a lucky creature.

    they are individuals who have failed miserably to understand science but unbelievably they can present nonsense and lies to a wide audience who lap it up and would indeed pay to hear it, this fulfils a basic human requirement for attention, if you can get attention for hard work then great if you can get attention for knowing nothing whats to lose right?

    in what other set up can you present pure nonsense (and heres the deal, its easier to talk nonsense than anything meaningful)? think sylvia browne, peter popoff, uri geller.

    the difference between creationists and fraudsters like browne, popoff and geller is that they at least know they are full of shit, creationists are like children lost in a new neighbourhood, holding on tightly to their lucky pebble in their pocket. the only difference is that they dont even know they are lost, poor things.

  44. #44 Joshua Zelinsky
    February 14, 2008

    Neither Sarfati or Behe is dumb. They might be brainwashed, or ignorant, or evil but neither is dumb. Sarfati for example is chess master and has a variety of other accomplishments.

  45. #45 JJR
    February 14, 2008

    “I love the fact that she quotes Werner [sic] von Braun as an authority on evolution.”

    sorry, couldn’t resist:

    Ze rockets go up,
    Who cares where they come down?
    ‘That’s not my department’
    says Wernher von Braun.

    -Tom Lehrer

  46. #46 Tom Zych
    February 14, 2008

    Well, Crocker certainly isn’t an intelligent creationist, but I think there are (regrettably) some – if you draw a distinction between intelligence (one’s ability to think well) and wisdom (one’s inclination to use that ability rationally). Jonathan Sarfati comes to mind – doctorate in chemistry and a chess champion.

    Religion isn’t the only meme that catches smart people – I’m thinking of a computer science doctoral candidate named Matthew Skala who’s clearly quite bright, but seems to believe in astrology, feng shui, and tarot. Most distressing.

  47. #47 Phoenix Woman
    February 14, 2008

    They got lazy, PZ. They figured that with their hold on several key pols, they didn’t have to bother with trying to properly argue a case that minds far smarter than theirs couldn’t properly argue because it’s friggin’ impossible to argue.

    But now, now that the worm is turning, with the wackos no longer in ascendancy and a string of court cases that make the teaching of creationism/ID as science a very unwise and potentially-expensive move for any school board, and with legitimate colleges making it crystal-clear that nobody who seriously teaches “creation science” under any of its guises will be able to gain or keep any sort of professional standing, the creationists are stuck.

  48. #48 Kseniya
    February 14, 2008

    It is my understanding that Mr. Cordoba is no longer at George Mason but has moved on to a school in Delaware.

    He is now at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland.

  49. #49 Mold
    February 14, 2008

    What skools gave this twit degrees?

    She loves teaching because of the power difference between her and the students. Lording it over subordiantes is what a lot of fundies dream of. However, most lack the social skills, intelligence, or certifications needed to accomplish this task. I think researchers might have given her a lot of grief over her beliefs in a benevolent Intelligent Designer.

  50. #50 CortxVortx
    February 14, 2008

    Actually, Ms Crocker hasn’t been the same since her fairy-godparents-hunting son was seen on the internets in a tutu.

    Quite a shock.

  51. #51 Tom Zych
    February 14, 2008

    I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the level of discourse I’m seeing here…

  52. #52 October Mermaid
    February 14, 2008

    Who isn’t impressing you? Were you impressed by me? I bring my A Game, baby.

  53. #53 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 14, 2008

    Can you spot the egregious errors?

    Hah! That’s for losers. Now, can you spot anything that’s correct?

    <crickets chirping>

    (Hmmm. The grammar maybe. And the spelling of Eohippus, except that the italics are missing.)

    like a toothed beak.

    No, no, no! (Pet peeve.) There’s no evidence it had any beak at all. Just an ordinary toothed maw.

    And sure, an astronomer claimed Archaeopteryx was a fraud.

    He made the same mistake as the cre_ti_nists — he only considered the first two specimens!

    Eohippus has been renamed to Hyracotherium.

    As mentioned in comment 62, this was recently reversed to avoid having Hyracotherium be paraphyletic to the whole rest of Equidae and Palaeotheriidae (separately). Instead of just H., there’s a whole tree!

    It’s 55 million years old.

    Only Sifrhippus is that old. The rest of what used to be H., including the real H., is younger.

    Horses, including Hyracotherium, belong to the order Perissodactyla; Hyraxes are in the order Hyracoidea. They are very different critters.

    Well, yes, but they share many superficial similarities. When first described in 1841, H. was in fact thought to be a hyrax — hence the name “hyrax animal” –, and until recently Perissodactyla and Hyracoidea (or Hyracoidea + Sirenia + Proboscidea) were commonly thought to be close relatives. The cre_ti_nists are simply behind, as usual.

    (Qiang et al. 1998)

    talk.origins was a little too quick here. Qiang is Dr Ji’s personal name, not his surname.

    Protoarchaeopteryx robusta

    Ji et al. (in an earlier paper, BTW) had the good sense to name it Protarchaeopteryx rather than to make an unclassical vowel cluster. Again, talk.origins was a little too quick here.

    regiges

    Remiges. Let me parrot myself.

    a quadrratojugal squamosal contact, having a quadrojugal joined to the quatrate by a ligament and a reduced or absent process of the ishium.

    Spot the typos.

    These and other characters group Protoarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx with maniraptoran coelurosaurs rather than birds.

    Nonsense, birds are maniraptoran coelurosaurs, too. The interesting thing is that P. and C. are oviraptorosaurs rather than birds. This should have been pointed out — but it wasn’t yet known in 1998, because the phylogenetic analysis in the paper was so pathetic.

    A new specimen was described by Wellnhofer (1993), but the description is in German and so information is limited.

    WTF. Were they completely unable to find someone who spoke German? If it were in Etruscan, then the information would be limited!

    negentropyeater, try this site:
    http://www.palaeos.com/
    It is extremely data dense and discusses old verses new as well as contradictory ideas. It tries to keep up the science, even though it is not really run by scientists. It is, however, assisted by scientists to a great degree. It is certainly one of the best sites on the whole of the web.

    Yes — but, which is not surprising given its sheer size, much of it is out of date, too, and there are things the authors have simply misunderstood. Not many, though!

    the first slide describing Darwin:
    [...]
    * Went to Galapagos islands

    “Went to Galápagos islands”. “Went to Galápagos islands”!?! What is that, British understatement?

  54. #54 raven
    February 14, 2008

    Carol Crocker, lying or psychotic? Those statements of hers aren’t even shadings of the truth, just flat out lies. Anyone can check them with wikipedia in a few minutes.

    She can’t be that dumb and get a Ph.D.

    I would say early onset Alzheimers but she is too young for that.

    It is interesting that the creos seem to be among the worst minds that academia produces, psychologically weird defectives like Dembski, polykooks, and so on. I predict over the coming years, G. Gonzalez will resurface as some sort of extemist kook of some sort.

    There are 10 specimens of Archeoptyryx. Found over a period of 200 years.

  55. #55 truth machine
    February 14, 2008

    I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the level of discourse I’m seeing here…

    We don’t care, jackass.

  56. #56 wheatdogg
    February 14, 2008

    I have decided how I can become (momentarily) famous, a la Crocker.

    1. Find God. He might be under the junk in the hall closet …
    2. Renounce modern physics, since it contradicts Biblical truth.
    3. Revise my syllabus and teach Bible-based physics and astronomy.
    4. Refuse to accept any scientifically based arguments contradicting my own, as baseless, anti-intellectual attacks.
    5. Lose my job.
    6. Scream bloody murder, claiming that my employers fired me because of ideological differences.
    7. Write a book about my adventure and join the “be an expert speaker at a church” lecture circuit.

    Now if I can develop this self-help program into an infomercial, I’d have it made!

  57. #57 Barklikeadog
    February 14, 2008

    I just watched the video of her, Sal & her pro bono lawyer. I feel slimed. The lawyer was the best though. We really don’t want there to be an intelligence greater than humanities? What the hell is that supposed to mean. I’d love to meet an intelligence greater than us, but can’t find it.

  58. #58 JimV
    February 14, 2008

    Lago @#17, #43 & #45: thanks for the reference, which I have added to my favorites, but it won’t serve the same purpose as TalkOrigin for laymen like myself, with its invaluable index to creationist claims. I second the previous commentor’s request that if anyone can do anything to bring TO up to date, please do so. I could only help by providing a monetary donation for the work, but would be glad to do that.

  59. #59 VJB
    February 14, 2008

    Is a reptobird similar to the reprobird, of which there are two distinct genera? One is an extremely large predator whose natural prey are automobiles whose owners are behind on loans; the other reproduces uniquely, by lithography. The archaeopteryx belongs to the latter genus. The first example was found in a quarry for lithographic plates, and its posture indicates that it was in the throes of sexual ecstasy at the time of fossilization.

  60. #60 October Mermaid
    February 14, 2008

    If I’m ever fossilized, I want it to be like that, too.

    With me fighting an automobile, I mean.

  61. #61 Rey Fox
    February 14, 2008

    “I love the fact that she quotes Werner von Braun as an authority on evolution.”

    Oh shit. They got a brain surgeon and a rocket scientist now. We’re done for. Wait, the rocket scientist is dead. A little relief there.

    “I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the level of discourse I’m seeing here.”

    I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with your BUTT, Tom.

  62. #62 raven
    February 14, 2008

    Talkorigins.org is a one stop world class site for refuting creationist claims. The creo clowns have had centuries to make up lies. Since they aren’t very good at even lying, they just recycle them endlessly.

    That being said, since science moves rapidly, it is out of date here and there.

    The site is a valuable service run by well meaning volunteers who presumably have other lives. Rather than complain, people with time, motivation, or knowledge might want to be constructive and submit updates and corrections.

  63. #63 Physicalist
    February 14, 2008

    It appears from rate my professors that she’s in the habit of pushing creationism in class. Nice to see that many of the students are smarter than she. (Though one wonders whether all the comments on 2/5/06 are actually from students, or whether there happened to be a blog entry that day leading the internetsia there.)

  64. #64 Physicalist
    February 14, 2008

    Though the George Mason ratings don’t mention much creationism teaching.

  65. #65 CortxVortx
    February 14, 2008

    Re: #88

    Amusingly desperate attempt at spin control, there, trying to give the impression that your comment was only in reference to mine.

  66. #66 Thony C.
    February 14, 2008

    “I love the fact that she quotes Werner [sic] von Braun as an authority on evolution.”

    sorry, couldn’t resist:

    The mis-spelling of von Braun’s name is on her original power point slide!

    I could and did resist quoting the immaculate Mr Lehrer because I just knew that somebody else would step in and thus save me the work of typing the words. ;)

  67. #67 Jerry D. Harris
    February 14, 2008

    Eohippus has been renamed to Hyracotherium.

    Minor-ish correction here…allow me to quote from the excellent book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Don Prothero (pp. 301-2):

    “Horses did start as tiny beagle-sized animals with four toes on their front feet and three on their hind feet, low-crowned teeth for eating soft leaves, and relatively small brains and short snouts. These early Eocene horses have long been known as Eohippus (but that name is invalid for most of them) and Hyracotherium (but Hooker 1989, showed that Hyracotherium is a member of a native European group known as palaeotheres, not a true horse). Froelich (2002) analyzed the North American fossils in detail and found that the old name Eohippus is only applicable to one of the species, E. angustidens. Instead, many of these early Eocene horses belong to Protorohippus, while others are assigned to a variety of genera, including previously proposed names such as Xenicohippus, Systemodon, and Pliolophus, as well as new genera such as Sifrhippus, Minippus, and Arenahippus. The old days when all early Eocene horses could be lumped into one genus (whether Eohippus or Hyracotherium) are long gone!”

    As so often happens, what used to be a pleasantly simplistic (and easily communicated) system has collapsed under the weight of actual data and shown that a group’s evolutionary history is more beautiful in its complexity.

  68. #68 Phil Plait
    February 14, 2008

    Sure, blame the astronomers! FWIW, Hoyle and Wickramasinghe were and are, IMO, cranks. Their claims about panspermia are really, really silly, like flu comes from space, dust clouds are made of E. coli, and so on. Yikes.

  69. #69 Matt Penfold
    February 14, 2008

    The problem with Hoyle is that he was a cantankerous old bastard (and before that and cantankerous middle aged bastard, and before that a cantankerous young man). It is not always easy to know when he really did believe some of the dumb things he came out with and when he was trying to piss of fellow scientists. He may well have pushed forward our understanding by other astronomers feeling they needed to prove Fred wrong. I think it is Martin Rees who has made that point.

    That said I am pretty sure he was being serious about panspermia and the business with evolution and 747s.

  70. #70 Monado, FCD
    February 14, 2008

    Of course, one reason that talkorigins.org is out of date is that it’s principal compiler, Tero Sands, died in 1996. Others have added information but there is very little activity these days, most notably the Post of the Month.

    I invite evolutionary biologists to read the basic info sections and propose updates.

    Thank you,

  71. #71 Tosser
    February 14, 2008

    >Are there no intelligent creationists?

    Perhaps abscence of evidence sometimes IS evidence of abscence :-0

  72. #72 Healyhatman
    February 14, 2008

    I recently discovered something shocking….

    NOT ALL CREATIONISTS ARE STUPID! (just most of them)

    I recently made a HUGE post on my blog (my atheist anti religious blog) about so-called “Intelligent Design” and here’s what one creationist had to say:

    “I believe in the story of Creation offered in Genesis, but I don’t like Intelligent Design. And I agree with you – it’s not science.
    Do I believe in evolution? Well, I believe it’s currently the best scientific understanding of the development of species, but even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that it could be falsified in the future.”

    Sure, she’s still a bit stupid in that she believes the bible, but she at least understands a bit about science.

    Link: http://healyhatman.blogspot.com/

  73. #73 acmegirl
    February 14, 2008

    According to her website, “Dr. Crocker did her post-doctoral studies in analysis of fluorescence resonance energy transfer interactions between proteins of the T-cell receptor/NF-?B signal transduction pathway at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD.”
    I was intrigued because FRET is a fairly cutting edge technique, so I did a PubMed search. I can’t find anything from this supposed post-doc, and I can’t find anything that mentions FRET in the abstract.
    Of course, it may be hard to observe fluorescence resonance energy transfer between proteins if you have not fluorescently labeled them…

  74. #74 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 14, 2008

    Let me just second and third comment 112… <broad grin>

    “Do I believe in evolution? Well, I believe it’s currently the best scientific understanding of the development of species, but even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that it could be falsified in the future.”

    That it could be falsified in the future simply means it’s science. Mentioning it in order to cast doubt about evolution is silly. Looks like your intelligent creationist still has to learn a few basic things.

  75. #75 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 14, 2008

    Let me just second and third comment 112… <broad grin>

    “Do I believe in evolution? Well, I believe it’s currently the best scientific understanding of the development of species, but even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that it could be falsified in the future.”

    That it could be falsified in the future simply means it’s science. Mentioning it in order to cast doubt about evolution is silly. Looks like your intelligent creationist still has to learn a few basic things.

  76. #76 Augray
    February 14, 2008

    Re: #36: Regarding the interval since the discovery that the purported sternum of the Munich specimen of Archaeopteryx was in fact part of the coracoid, I’m not sure that three years counts as “quite some time”.

    Re: #87: The ten known specimens of Archaeopteryx were discovered in the last 150 years, not 200, although there is a hint that examples were found before 1861.

    As for updating the talkorigins.org Archaeopteryx page, that’s something that I’m working on.

  77. #77 "Q" the Enchanter
    February 15, 2008

    In a slogan: Intelligent Design theorists are their own disproof.

  78. #78 Matthew Skala
    February 15, 2008

    Tom Zych: When you stomped away from my Web comic in a huff because I didn’t convert to your belief system, I was content to let you go. I write the comic for myself, not you or anyone else in particular. However, if you’re going to go naming me to third parties as a “most distressing” example of whatever it is you’re trying to prove, then I’d like to take the opportunity to hand out the links to my own piece on why astrology, and to Karla McLaren’s on why “skeptics” don’t get more respect.

    I’m sorry we seem not to be on friendly terms anymore. I never wanted to pick a fight with you.

  79. #79 marko
    February 17, 2008

    A real reptobird sure would be the nightmare of all cdesign proponentsists.

  80. #80 dono
    March 22, 2009

    “wich gives you an idea of the level of scholarship these people exercise”

    You misspelled ‘which’ – that is incorrect diction as well. Use ‘which’ in cases where you can say ‘which one.’ In the future us ‘that’ for example ‘that gives you and idea of the level of scholarship…’

    All of the above gives me an idea of the level of your own scholarship – see how being snarky works professor? It really does not mean your arguments are wrong it is just a weak form of attack.

    As to what you know about Dr. Crocker’s dismissal – you exhibit little other than inference. These facts lead me to believe your own demeanor in this critique point to a kind of reaction Dr. Crocker claims occurred in her employment at GMU.

    Now that said I actually took instruction from Dr. Crocker at GMU during the time in question. I can tell you first hand that she is not a ‘kook’ and that, outside of the Evolution section of the Cell Bio course, her instruction was outstanding. I marked her instruction on Evolution with care and quite frankly focused exclusively on the rest of the material as I felt it was more sound and much more important.

    I do not discount your own expertise in Evolution nor do I support her expertise in same. I am actually quite glad to see substantive critique (spelling or type-o’s excluded). She challenged Evolution and she did it with zeal. She did not mention religion.

    She is a good teacher and I believe the University would be better with her. She was very very dedicated to the students and offered a great deal of her time to them. Was she teaching falsehoods about evolution – you say so and I am inclined to take that seriously based on your credentials (not your immature attacks on Dr. Crocker). GMU threw out the baby with the baby water on this – they lost a good teacher when they could have just told her to alter the Evolution lecture. Too bad but, like you they reacted rather emotionally about the issue…