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Was Caroline Crocker expelled?

Caroline Crocker lost her position teaching biology after lecturing on ID, no question about it. The film puts it this way: “After she simply mentioned Intelligent Design in her cell biology class at George Mason University, Caroline Crocker’s sterling academic career came to an abrupt end.” Here is what seems clear from the public record. Dr. Crocker did not “simply mention ID” in her instructional responsibilities - she lectured on and advocated views that advanced ID and denied evolutionary common descent. Both the Washington Post and the DI have essays describing how she begins class with a slide of an arrow and a question mark running between a monkey and a human.Shankar Vedantam, "Eden and Evolution." Washington Post. February 5, 2006. ( And linked from the Discovery Institute: Markus Gunther, "Did Humans Descend... An essay praising her linked from the DI website quotes an appreciative student: “She has finally expressed what others didn’t dare say, but what I always thought...people have a soul, one can’t put them on the same level as animals. To believe in evolution would mean that death would be the last word.”Gunther article, above. However, other students were apparently not nearly so appreciative, and there were complaints about the teaching.Several articles on the Crocker incident report that it involved student complaints. While this claim entails confidential personnel information, there are publicly accessible criticisms of her teaching...

Although she was not fired, it does appear that she was instructed not to lecture on this material again. After her temporary appointment expired (she did not have a permanent position at George Mason), she was not rehired to teach more classes. However, her career did not “abruptly end” at that point. She had another appointment at a Northern Virginia Community College. She lectured against evolutionary theory there as well, in the presence of a national reporter, and included standard creationist criticisms of the fossil record.Washington Post article, above. She was not invited back there either, after which she secured a research appointment. Since temporary teaching positions are granted on a contingent basis, there is no assumption of continuity and no obligation to provide reasons for not renewing. But with or without the Caroline Crocker story, both ID advocates and their critics would agree on this: nobody who uses the biology classroom to advance views that reject evolutionary common descent, is going to be in the classroom for long at a major university. What ID advocates and critics do not agree on (and not even all ID advocates agree on) is whether or not this should be the case. [That’s the second question.]

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