Caroline Crocker (b 1958) is an American immunopharmacologist who taught a biology class at George Mason University in 2005, while employed in a non-tenure track contract position as "contingent faculty". She also held another teaching position at Northern Virginia Community College. After her contract at George Mason University was not renewed, as is common with such positions, she claimed that she lost her job there "for teaching the problems with evolution" in a lecture which she repeated in a class at Northern Virginia Community College in the presence of a Washington Post reporter on November 2, 2005.
A GMU spokesman told the reporter that the university let her go at the end of her contract period for reasons unrelated to her views on intelligent design. In January 2006 she began a postdoctorate year at the Uniformed Services University. Her case has been presented in a Discovery Institute intelligent design campaign. and features in the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
Education and work
Crocker received an Associate of Arts from Des Moines Area Community College, a B.Sc. in microbiology and virology from University of Warwick, U.K. in 1979, an M.Sc. in medical microbiology from University of Birmingham, U.K in 1993, and a PhD in immunopharmacology from the University of Southampton, U.K. in 1999. She now lives in Southern California, and has four grown children.
George Mason University
Crocker had a position as a part-time faculty member of George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. She alleges that, in December 2004, her department barred her from teaching evolution and intelligent design after she mentioned intelligent design while teaching her second-year cell biology course. The dean of the College of Arts and Sciences stated that the university did not have a policy or a rule on whether certain topics should be discussed, but questioned whether a concept with theological underpinnings belonged in a science course.
Her lecture which raised concerns, as repeated at Northern Virginia Community College, included claims which have long been disputed. Her claim that microevolution is quite different from macroevolution is a common contention. She represented peppered moth evolution experiments to claim that they were falsified. She asserts that the Miller–Urey experiment was irrelevant as views on the atmospheric composition have been revised. Having claimed that many scientists believe that complex life reveals the hand of an intelligent designer, she said that "The problem with evolution is that it is all supposition – this evolved into this – but there is no evidence".
On 28 April 2005 Crocker was reported as stating that being prevented from teaching the hypothesis of evolution and intelligent design was "an infringement of academic freedom", and appealing the case to a grievance committee. A university spokesman said this dismissal was for reasons unrelated to her views on intelligent design.
Northern Virginia Community College
At the same time Crocker taught at GMU, she was also an adjunct professor at Northern Virginia Community College(NVCC). On November 2, 2005, she gave a lecture which she told a reporter was the lecture that had led to her losing her job at a previous university. She said "I lost my job at George Mason University for teaching the problems with evolution. Lots of scientists question evolution, but they would lose their jobs if they spoke out." Crocker had described the lecture beforehand as teaching "the strengths and weaknesses of evolution", and when asked afterwards if she would be discussing the evidence for evolution in another class, said that she would not as "There really is not a lot of evidence for evolution" . Myers remarked that this statement was grounds for her dismissal.
Subsequently, she resigned from NVCC and began work for the Department of Defense in cancer research.
Crocker became the Executive Director of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center in early 2008. She left the Center in the summer of 2008 to pursue other endeavors. She appeared in a Coral Ridge Ministries video entitled The Intelligent Design Controversy in Higher Education and in the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The claims she made in the Coral Ridge video about transitional fossils (and specifically Archaeopteryx and the evolution of the horse) were criticised by PZ Myers as being factually incorrect. Crocker currently runs a promotional website advertising her public speaking. According to the website topics include: The Censorship of Science, Evolution: Fact, Science, or Religion, along with an Alpha course.
- Caroline Crocker, Free to Think: Why Scientific Integrity Matters Leafcutter Press (July 4, 2010) ISBN 0-9818734-4-8
- "Expelled Exposed: Caroline Crocker". National Center for Science Education. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Casey Luskin (2006-02-03). "Evolution News & Views: One Long Article: Washington Post Highlights Persecution of Caroline Crocker". Discovery Institute. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- "Caroline Crocker, M.Sc., Ph.D.". Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center. April 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- Geoff Brumfiel (2005-04-28). "Intelligent design: Who has designs on your students' minds?". Cast out from class. Nature. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- Shankar Vedantam (2006-02-05). "Eden and Evolution". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- The Expelled Case of Caroline Crocker, Carrie Sager and Andrea Bottaro, Skeptic (U.S. magazine), April 23, 2008
- The Intelligent Design Controversy in Higher Education, Coral Ridge Ministries at 6:56
- "History of the Center". Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- The Intelligent Design Controversy in Higher Education, Coral Ridge Ministries