Reply to Expelled Exposed
Expelled Exposed contains a considerable number of inaccuracies. The factual errors in the reporting of Dr. Crocker’s position with regard to employment will be addressed first.
Dr. Crocker was summoned by her department head, accused of teaching creationism despite a singular lack of written even one complaint, and told she had to be disciplined. He immediately removed her from lecturing, even though this was against policy listed in the Faculty Handbook. In fact, she was told to sign up to teach extra lab classes without delay. Many students complained because they had signed up specifically for her lecture class. The short-notice replacement teacher was struggling and not covering the material that was necessary for them to do well in the lab and in future classes.
The sole reason for Dr. Crocker’s removal from the classroom was a single lecture that was not even delivered that semester, where she suggested that the theory of evolution may not have all the answers and may, in fact, have been rendered out-of-date by current scientific knowledge. Faculty and staff members confirmed that this was the only issue.
It is true that the GMU contract was not renewed; the fascinating circumstances surrounding this event are detailed in Dr. Crocker’s book, Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters.
After having been banned from the GMU lecture hall, Dr. Crocker did teach as adjunct faculty at NVCC. While she was there her supervisor was put under pressure to dismiss her by the NVCC administrators. When Dr. Crocker was offered a position at USUHS, she was glad that this alleviated her supervisor’s difficult position.
The position at USUHS was funded by an NIH grant for three years. After less than a year, Dr. Crocker was told that the funding had run out. None of her papers were published despite the fact that there was much data of interest (results were presented at an NIH seminar) and her supervisor had been criticized for lack of productivity prior to Dr. Crocker working there.
After losing that job, Dr. Crocker applied for many other positions. She did get interviews and was informally offered several jobs. But, in every case, within a couple of weeks she was told that the money for that position was not available or given some other excuse. When she discussed this with a friend at NIH, Dr. Crocker was told that she is blacklisted and should not waste her efforts. This was not official information, but discrimination of this kind has been previously reported (against Darwin-doubters at NMNH as reported in the House Subcommittee Report and against believers at NIH as reported in Nature Immunology Feb 22, 2008).Therefore, Dr. Crocker decided to concentrate her efforts on gaining employment elsewhere.
Second, much of what is said about Dr. Crocker’s teaching, here and elsewhere on the internet, is grossly distorted. The writer is relying on second-hand information, imperfectly reported. He also needs to remember that Dr. Crocker was teaching freshmen and sophomore biology students. Her goal was to give them sufficient and understandable information, so that they would be empowered to think for themselves on scientific issues. As such, she used hyperbole, humor, and other means to achieve effective teaching. The reader is referred to the letters received from “A” students and professors at George Mason University that can be found in Free to Think.
Finally, the writer of this article complains that many of Dr. Crocker’s arguments were “creationist.” Perhaps he does not appreciate what the word “creationist” means. It is someone who considers a religious book to have scientific authority. It is not someone who sees scientific problems with scientific theories! Her questions about the theory of evolution were as a result of seeing that science has advanced beyond the explanatory reach of this theory. In addition, the writer should be aware that calling scientific arguments “creationist” does not address the validity of the arguments. It is merely an ad hominem attack that does not require response. If the reader is interested in the scientific problems with evolutionary theory, and the reasons why the theory of intelligent design was suggested, as were briefly explained in the single lecture, they should refer to The Edge of Evolution and Icons of Evolution, The Myth of Junk DNA, Signature in the Cell or any number of other excellent books.