Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Expelled's "Martyrs"

Three people are profiled in "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", the creationist propaganda film that is currently being shown to almost exclusively Christian Fundamentalist audiences. Many things are said about their cases, most of which is clearly misleading, and this article will set some facts straight.

Carolyn Crocker

Crocker's case is possibly the most distorted and factually-challeneged one in the film. The woman is a substitute science teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, whose contract ran out, and the school decided not to renew it. There was no obligation for the school to renew her contract. So Here comes "Expelled" literally claiming that she was fired just because she believed in Creationism. Well, it is true that she's a creationist, but here is the rest of the story, which doesn't get told in the film.

Guess what Ms. Crocker taught in her Biology 101 class? She showed a slide show that was literally an attack on science and evolution, and which was pretty overtly pushing biblical literalism. There was virtually no science in her presentation, and when asked if she would later present the evidence for evolution, she said "No, there isn't any, really." This presentation pretty much broke all of the rules that were laid out for the science curriculum, and most of the "facts" that she presented were overtly only half-truths at best, and at worst, outright lies.

Slides shown to her classroom:

What's worse is that she tried to use the classroom as a pulpit, and railed on about how Darwinism was responsible for the Nazis. This turned the class from a science course into a course on extremist politics. Because she decided to throw out the course that she was being payed to teach, and preach Christian Evangelical Fundamentalist dogma, instead, she should have been fired on the spot, but they didn't do that. They let her continue teaching, and when her contract expired, they simply did not renew it -- and they had a very good reason to do so.

The washington Post Exposes Crocker

Richard Sternberg

Sternberg's case is old news. Expelled claims he was fired from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. for his belief in creationism, when in fact, he still works there. He wasn't even an employee of the Smithsonian to begin with -- he was an intern. In his job as editor of a journal, he failed to follow the posted procedures for submitting articles into the journal, and as a result, he was simply given a talking to, and several colleagues expressed disappointment. He was never fired, nor officially reprimanded. He claimed that he lost his access, but by all accounts, he still has the same access.

He claims that he was discriminated against, but dirty looks of disapproval somehow do not sound like discrimination. So the Discovery Institute, who championed his case, had to make it sound like he was fired or that his life was negatively impacted. They lied on his behalf.

Article on Richard Sternberg from Scienceblogs.com:

Richard Sternberg on Wikipedia:

Guillermo Gonzales

The Gonzales case is another distorted mess. Expelled was truthful in that he was denied tenure (They did not claim that he was fired, like they said about Sternberg and Crocker), but they made it sound like not getting tenure meant something almost as bad. Tenure is a lifetime appointment at a job. It costs money. So schools use it sparingly.

Gonzales may be just as qualified in some ways as his colleagues with tenure, but one fact is a problem -- He hasn't really published much since his post-doctoral work, and that is a big problem. Tenured professors tend to be people who publish a great deal of work, and get a lot of things done as far as research goes. Gonzales did a lot of publishing and research during his post doctoral years, but hardly anything since he has been employed by Iowa State. Most colleges would deny tenure for that reason, and though other professors may have less qualification than he in terms of experience, they publish and perform more work, which is why he was passed over for someone else.

He still has his job. He still teaches at the same University. He lost nothing except a perk. He claims it's because he's a creationist, but the guidelines of the university were followed to the letter, by all accounts.

Guillermo Gonzales on Science Blogs.com:

Guillermo Gonzales on Wikipedia:

Expelled got all of these people's stories wrong, and distorted the facts so badly that it bears no resemblence to reality. In essence, it's just example of deceit by Christian Fundamentalists.


Jason said...

Thank you for posting this! It's good to have a handy reference ahead of time.

David W. Irish said...

No Problem. I'm all about the documentation. Well documented journalism is the enemy of faith, because documentation shows the reality that faith denies and tries to cover up with insane opinions.

Just copy the links I provide, and you can't go wrong. Of course, when you present it to "true believers", they will just deny it or say it's biassed.

GamingAsshole said...

You want to know the funny thing about all of this? I'm in California, a fairly liberal state, and teaching creationism (or at least mentioning it) in schools is not looked down upon, and I went through my junior and high school years getting fed all kinds of creationist/conservative crap. I don't see how they think they are being persecuted.

Jason said...

Everyone in this country is literally surrounded by organizations that would be happy to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Creationism, free of charge. Fuck you, Ben Stein.

Reynold said...

Blake Stacey has a good blog entry (with links) in regards to this topic; he has instances of creationists/ID ists have persecuted "darwinists".