by Kevin Wirth
ARN Director of Product Development
It looks like the fallout from the movie "Expelled" is stimulating many critics to rehash the same old baloney I've been reading in other sources, which includes some rather spectacularly vacuous comments. Take for example the 10+ page hatchet job Michael Shermer and friends are peddling in their latest issue of SKEPTIC magazine (Volume 14, No. 2). In that issue, Shermer and his minions downplay the significance of the ongoing discrimination dished out to Drs. Richard Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez and others. For today, I'm just going to focus on SKEPTIC's coverage of the controversy surrounding Caroline Crocker's contract with George Mason University (GMU).
Carrie Sager and Andrea Bottaro team up on page 59 (The Expelled Case of Caroline Crocker: Academic Freedom Martyr or Pseudoscience Hack? ) to let their readers know that Caroline Crocker shouldn't have been so disappointed to find her contract terminated because, after all, "the facts show that her contracts were allowed to continue through their natural terms and simply were not renewed." I suspect this is the spin handed out by GMU to Sager and Bottaro, who then sympathetically put on a sad face and remark that "Although this indeed must have been disappointing for Dr. Crocker, it is certainly not uncommon."
True enough - teaching contracts DO generally come with an expiration date, and when they do expire it should come as no surprise to anyone. However, did these two reporters do their due diligence on this story? Doesn't look to me like they did. Did they dig deep enough to discern whether Crocker found herself in a hostile work environmnt? Did they uncover anything that might even suggest anyone had it in for her? They appear to have missed the most important aspect of what allegedly transpired with Dr. Crocker's contract dispute at GMU. There are some very important elements of Dr. Crocker's story they somehow failed to uncover and report on for their SKEPTIC magazine readers.
According to documents I have read, Dr. Crocker was evidently the victim of a bait-and-switch ploy in which GMU first presented her with a three year contact, and then modified that agreement to just one year without any discussion or consent from her. Many of the details concerning this matter are well documented in a LETTER dated August 15, 2005 from Dr. Crocker's former attorney Ed Sisson to GMU President Dr. Alan G. Merten. That letter alleges that the new one-year contract was supposed to make a simple adjustment with regard to additional teaching responsibilities she had agreed to undertake, however, the timeframe of that new contract had also (unknown to Crocker) been reduced from three years to one. According to the Sisson letter, Crocker signed the new contract, assuming that the three year term that had been offered to her in the earlier contract was still in place.
So, while what Sager and Bottaro reported was technically true (Crocker's new contract DID run for a one-year term), it appears that they have fallen far short of informing their readers about the whole story. If the terms of the new contract were changed in the manner claimed in Sisson's letter, then it was not just a simple matter of her suffering a small dose of disappointment. In fact, if the version of these events in Sisson's letter are accurate, it dramatically changes the entire account of what happened from a simple contract expiration to a much more sinister example of deception and discrimination. Had Sager and Bottaro bothered to contact either Mr. Sisson or Dr. Crocker before publishing their article, perhaps this all-important document (and other supporting docs) might have surfaced and spared SKEPTIC's reporters from unnecessary embarassment.
If this presumptive style of fact gathering and reporting holds true for whatever else Shermer and Co. put together in this issue of SKEPTIC magazine, then I shudder to think about any additional "facts" that managed to escape their notice. I guess it's easy to write an article where the "facts" conveniently seem to align with their presumptions of Crocker's naivete. No need to dig further if it looks like she was simply disappointed because her contract expired. Happens all the time, right?
Meanwhile, as Shermer and other critics continue to dismiss the claims of discrimination as unsubstantiated, thousands of competent and qualified scientists, professors, and students continue to be harassed and discriminated against all across the USA for the crime of being a Darwin Doubter.
For readers who would like to find out more about what happened to Drs. Crocker and Gonzalez, and many others who have suffered discrimination for being Darwin skeptics, I recommend grabbing a copy of "Slaughter of
the Dissidents," which can be ordered here. Readers looking for more information about Crocker and other victims of similar discrimination can find it here.
Take in the You-Tube video of Caroline Crocker's former attorney Ed Sisson as he talks about her case in May of 2006.
Seattle area writer and Darwin skeptic Kevin Wirth is a founding member of ARN (formerly Students for Origins Research). He is also the Senior editor, contributor, and publisher of the book "Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters" by Dr. Jerry Bergman (2008). This is the most comprehensive book published to date documenting the extent and types of discrimination against Darwin Dissidents. He is also the publisher of Caroline Crocker's upcoming book "Free to Think," which documents her experience as an Expelled University professor -- scheduled to be released sometime in 2009.
To read more essays by Kevin Wirth, click here.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Kevin H. Wirth, all rights reserved. Quotes and links are permitted with attribution.
No Pingbacks for this post yet...
|<< <||> >>|
Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
Australian biologist Stephen E. Jones maintains one of the best origins "quote" databases around. He is meticulous about accuracy and working from original sources.
Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at