Some of my fellow Christians are just dolts. Look at the slogan of this outfit, which has multiple campuses in Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

You might think that this would be an outfit that would not be afraid to consider alternate viewpoints within the Christian tradition. But, as this article from USA Today shows, there are Reformed Church leaders who would rather permanently disassociate themselves from one of their denomination's leading scholars rather than countenance any possibility of being associated with the acceptance of biological evolution.

See, this is what the face of honest doubt can look like. It turns out the offender is one of the campus's most respected scholars. Did he offend in the course of teaching impressionable young Presbyterians under his charge?

Actually, there is no evidence that he did that, either. Rather, he made some statements that were videotaped in a conference with a bunch of other theologians. In that video, he (gasp!) allowed himself to make some sympathetic noises to the notion that evangelical churches need to openly engage the facts of nature as revealed by science in order to retain their credibility. This video eventually made its way onto the Templeton Foundation-sponsored, entirely religion-friendly site BioLogos associated with evangelical Christian Frances Collins.

But I can't show you the video. It was removed in an (apparently unsuccessful) attempt to preserve Dr. Waitke's status with his employer and his denomination. There is a lengthy explanation of that here.

A few statements caught my eye. What does Waitke actually believe? He issued a clarification, as follows (this is also on the BioLogos site):

  1. Adam and Eve are historical figures from whom all humans are descended; they are uniquely created in the image of God and as such are not in continuum with animals.

  2. Adam is the federal and historical head of the fallen human race just as Jesus Christ is the federal and historical head of the Church.

  3. I am not a scientist, but I have familiarized myself with attempts to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with science, and I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position, and, as represented by BioLogos, the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics.

  4. I apologize for giving the impression that others who seek to harmonize the two differently are not credible. I honor all who contend for the Christian faith.

  5. Evolution as a process must be clearly distinguished from evolutionism as a philosophy. The latter is incompatible with orthodox Christian theology.
So, apparently believing in a literal Adam-and-Eve, denying that human beings share common descent with organisms, opening the door to other (more conservative) ways of interpreting Genesis 1, and declaring a philosophy of 'evolutionism' as incompatible with orthodoxy are not enough. Apparently, even the slightest possible positive-sounding murmur is enough to give ol' Dr. Waitke, distinguished or no, the pink slip.

Well, they certainly are within their legal rights to do this, but the leadership of Reformed Theological Seminary is certainly not honoring their own motto. Their public relations skills need some serious Reformation, as how they handled this constitutes an unbelievably stupid and destructive policy. For the record, they say they accepted Dr. Waitke's resignation, which means that he cares so much for the institution that he would rather go through the pro forma exercise of pretending to bow out gracefully rather than forcing them to accept full responsibility for his dismissal.

As if this whole exercise is Waitke's fault? Shameful!




I've known some pretty decent people who happen to be creationists. They use arguments that I reject, but they treat scientists as people. I've even met a few ID supporters who, by their own lights, act with integrity. These folk don't engage in conspiracy theory, don't call us names and don't accuse evolutionary biologists of willful deceit.

Larry Faferman doesn't fall into any of these categories. He's an obsessive crank even by the standards of many a tin-foil hat, to the point that he has been banned from commenting at many well-known science blogs. His latest move, however, is the cherry on top of a large, rancid sundae of abuse and accusation.

Apparently, some of the leading lights in the world of evolutionary biology? Simply goose-steppers attempting to suppress free inquiry, sez Larry, and thus worthy of enshrinement, to wit:


Judge John E. "Jackass" Jones III, Eugenie "Evil Genie" Scott, Fatheaded Ed Brayton, Stupid Steven Schafersman, Sleazy PZ Myers, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry, Brandon "Haughty" Haught, Josh Rosenau, Kevin Padian, Jerry Coyne, Chris Mooney, Chris Comer, Carl Zimmer, Ken Miller, Francis Collins, National Center for Science Education, Florida Citizens for Science, Texas Citizens for Science, Texas Freedom Network.

So, yeah. I can't actually say anything good about the guy, except that he has the potential to (by his lights) 'honor' me as well. So I took a stab at it, leaving the following post on his blog for all to see:

Larry: my name is Scott Hatfield. I am an enthusiastic teacher of evolution and proud NCSE member.

I have a request.

Please, Please, PLEASE nominate ME for your newly-minted 'Friend of HITLER' award.

It would indeed be an unprecedented honor for me, a humble science teacher, to have my pedagogy, my field of study, yea verily my personal character attacked by the likes of you and your buddies with the Disingenuous Institute.

I cheerfully invite you to so lambaste me. Feel free to visit my blog:


I have been trolled by professional provocateurs, so you would not be the first ID maven to misrepresent the state of the scientific enterprise in my neck of the woods. Your attempt to make rhetorical hay with your version of 'Der Fuhrer's Face' is like an outtake from 'The Producers': twice as juvenile, and nowhere near as funny.

Anyway, I have to confess that I can only look forward to the day you attempt to brand me with the same sort of limply-rotating, politically impotent mock-swastika.

After all, the intellectually crippled should, as a rule, avoid goose-stepping. They are likely to slip, fall and hurt themselves. It's awkward even for the adroit, and for you it's pure vaudeville spectacle, akin to slipping on your own banana peel.

Now, that might not seem funny to YOU, but compared to the trivialization of the Holocaust your precious 'award' implies, it has the ring of high farce.

Sincerely....Scott Hatfield

(now holding breath)



This talk should be right up my alley.

Many Cafe Scientifique talks are aimed at sharing the actual research of a scientist in our community with the general public. As such, they are fascinating but unlikely to become part of a high school science class. But Dr. Ray Hall's talk is part of the warp and woof of every science curriculum worthy of its name. I might even have something to contribute to this topic meself. After all, I have to teach some aspects of this in order to be effective.

This will take place Monday evening, at Lucy's Lair, starting at 6:30 PM. If you love science, and you will be in the Fresno County area tomorrow night, why not join us?


Sadly, this is not about Dr. Hall's talk, which was excellent, or about Cafe Scientifique, which offers free science content for laypeople and is thus aces in my book.

It's about a comment left on this blog. I've traced it to one Dennis Markuze, who also goes by the name David Mabus and is a well-known Internet troll, banned at various sites (including YouTube) and who is obviously delusional. I don't mean the ordinary garden-variety delusions of (raises guilty hand) of people of faith, or even the somewhat harder-to-defend tropes of young earth creationism or climate change denial.

No, I mean truly deluded, truly in need of medical attention. The fellow believes, for example, that reptilian space aliens inhabit the Denver Airport:

No. Not joking. So apparently I shouldn't take the comments personally. He does this to anyone and everyone he thinks needs to hear about his 'discoveries.' So, with all respect to Dr. Hall, who maintained that the demarcation problem reveals a fuzzy boundary, I don't need any particular philosophy of science to determine that Mr. Markuze is beyond the pale.