Further to “Caroline Crocker responds to Darwin lobby accusations,” such as
Following the evidence wherever it leads, eh? Caroline Crocker’s record does not suggest that she is any good at doing this. Instead she just brazenly repeats the crudest creationist arguments. Documentation: (Here.)
Sorry to be so late in my responses to this thread, which appears to have “evolved” to be about evolution, rather than the point of my original post.
Nick, you recite a litany of comments that were lifted from the notoriously inaccurate and now out-dated Expelled Exposed. I have previously responded to some of these allegations, but the link does not appear to work. Therefore, for the convenience of readers, I have re-posted that article on the AITSE website. With regard to the details about my former teaching on the subject of evolution, in the interest of integrity, I do need to acknowledge that there are a few things I included in my lecture that, with the benefit of hindsight and further reading on the subject, I would now handle differently. A fuller response, and indeed, Lastyearon, a complete explanation of my views on evolution (which are continuously “evolving”) can be found in my book, Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters.
Lastyearon, you also asked other questions, which of course deserve an answer, however brief I must be. First, “Do you believe that the claims of the bible should have any role in the scientific process?” The short answer is, “Of course!” To explain, because I am a Christian, I believe that our conduct must reflect Biblical values. This and my experiences as a research scientist and professor who saw and continues to see the results of dishonesty and lack of ethics is why I am so committed to integrity in science. In fact, I founded a nonprofit organization to promote just that.
The second question, “Do the claims of the bible have any relevance with respect to the age of the earth or the origin of species?” requires an answer where I must move outside my area of expertise and into theology. In my opinion, the writings in the Bible should be read in the context of their literary intent. That is, the poetry should be read as poetry. The history should be understood as history. The letters full of instructions to developing churches should be taken as instructions. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific text. Therefore, I find no Biblical grounds for believing in a literal seven-day creation nor for insisting that all species were created de novo, although I realize that many whom I respect do not agree.
In addition, because my faith is grounded in the historical evidence of Jesus, the witness of the Church and my experience, I do not find that evolution, per se, threatens my faith in the least. It appears to me that the Genesis creation accounts focus on who did it and why He did it, not how. My issues with aspects of evolutionary theory were initiated as a result of my doctoral studies on phosphodiesterases about twenty years after I made my faith commitment—again, a fuller explanation can be found in my book (p. 26). In short, they arose from science, not faith.
I see myself as an evolutionary agnostic because there is intriguing scientific evidence that could be interpreted as indicating common descent, but there are gaps in our knowledge of how this might have happened, if indeed we are interpreting the data accurately in the first place. For example, there are many theories about how random mutations might lead to increasing information, but few are anywhere near convincing. In the future the neo-Darwinian mechanism may be shown sufficient to explain the specified complexity of life—or not. I do not have the faith that Mr. Matzke exhibits in “science of the gaps.” Rather, I am quite comfortable to say, “I don’t know,” simply because my worldview is neither based on science nor on the need to prove the accuracy of a theory based on materialistic presuppositions, but on the Bible. Whether evolution, in all its glory, is true or not does not rock my world. However, when speakers at Christian groups who say that they are open to honest discussion demean those with whom they disagree, that does—and thus I object.
Finally, Ted, I am certainly not posturing myself as a threat to ASA nor am I threatened by ASA. Rather, I am a concerned ASA member trying to raise legitimate concerns about the organization’s adherence to its stated goals and values. AITSE, the organization that Denyse mentioned, has the mission of providing education to enhance scientific understanding and integrity. It seems to me that we have a different, but complementary, role in the world of science. Hopefully, that will continue.