Thursday, September 30, 2010

Biology Teacher Fired for Mentioning Intelligent Design?

At George Mason University, teacher Caroline Crocker was fired. She taught Biology and made a couple of fatal mistakes. She did not teach the Darwin theory of evolution as proven and indisputable, and she also spoke favorably of the Intelligent Design concept.

Even Darwin himself did not think that his theory was any more than that - a theory, not proven science. See challenging the absolute authority of that theory would seem reasonable for that reason alone. And universities are supposed to allow teachers latitude to challenge the students' minds with viewpoints that are controversial.

George Mason was a Founder and a patriot. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. Along with James Madison he is called the "father of the Bill of Rights."  He said, "The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth." Part of the mission statement of George Mason University is "Encourage freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in a tolerant, respectful academic setting that values diversity." Wouldn't all that point to a more tolerant attitude about the theory of intelligent design? The Founders prayed to God; are we to assume they were just fooling themselves about the existence of God? Or are we to think that they were right about the existence of God, but that teaching students that God had anything to do with creating us is folly? Or would a teacher be fired for teaching about the meaning of George Mason's own words?

Read more here:


LexAequitas said...

This was debunked.

"Crocker’s position at George Mason University (GMU) was a non-tenure track contract position in which the employee teaches on a course-by-course basis for a set length of time, with no guarantee of a renewal. Universities commonly use such “contingent faculty”, and, while not being brought back for another term may be the result of inadequate performance, it most commonly is the result of staffing needs: whether or not an individual’s expertise is needed at a particular time, or whether regular faculty can handle the load for the particular semester."

Her specific claims are also debunked on that website.

History Matters said...

Thanks, Lex, for posting the information. It provides some perspective. While I don't think it invalidates this story, extra insights are usually valuable.

Yes, adjunct faculty have no guarantee of being invited back. The fact that they are not could be due to misbehavior, staffing needs, or almost any reason. Just as she cannot prove she was "let go" for her teaching about something that others may consider controversial, neither could any outsider prove that was NOT the case.

And I think there IS a scientific point to Creationism. Many teachings of science are based on unproven theories, including evolution. There is corroborating evidence, but it is not complete.

If science does meaningful investigation and experiments based on theories (which they do), why would science not also do some work with the assumption that there is a God who is capable of creating things? God cannot be disproved by science.

LexAequitas said...

Scientists don't do experiments relying on a deity because they're of very little utility. An assumption of a deity in a theory doesn't do anything to increase the predictive power of the theory, and as such is an empty assumption.

Evolutionary theory does have predictive power and utility. Your suggestion of "completeness" of the evidence is not particularly convincing; anyone unconvinced of any theory can complain the evidence is "incomplete". Other scientific theories include heliocentric theory and the germ theory of disease, but do you criticize the lack of completeness of evidence for those theories?

I still find your posting to be deceptive when you title it "Biology Teacher Fired for Mentioning Intelligent Design" when you then are forced to agree that she wasn't actually fired, and you don't know if it was for mentioning intelligent design. I guess it's a step up from the movie Expelled, though, which tried to claim she was also blacklisted (despite her holding academic and scientific positions after leaving GMU).

Of course, even if she were fired for mentioning ID, GMU is a private school and is free legally to do so.