Friday, March 30, 2012

#315: Ed Peltzer

I hesitated over Tim Pawlenty, who has argued that intelligent design creationism should be taught in schools. It seems likely he was just pandering to potential voters, however, and Pawlenty has, to his credit, been one of few hardcore rightwingers to take global warming seriously (though he radically toned down his lack of ignorance when he started thinking about running for president).

Edward Peltzer may not be the most notable member of the creationist movement, but at least he is clearly deranged enough to merit inclusion in our Encyclopedia. Peltzer is a “senior research specialist” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. He is, in fact, an analytical chemist working in oceanography, and has some actual peer-reviewed publications – he even seems fairly knowledgeable about these matters. Since the creationist movement is arduously seeking out anyone with a modicum of scientific credibility who supports their cause, Peltzer is widely used, e.g. in the Kansas Evolution Hearings.

His contribution to said hearings can be found here. They are revealing; after a lengthy presentation on the problems of abiogenesis, Peltzer spent the last minute launching into an incoherent rant about “the religion of naturalism” in modern science. During cross-examination, he rejected common descent and evolution (hesitant old earth creationism). He has also given talks on the origin of life and the “problems” of scientific naturalism in various creationist venues.

At least he seems to be doing some worthwhile and actually helpful work related to global warming. Still.

Diagnosis: Another otherwise intelligent chap who is willing to throw critical thinking and science under the bus if the results don’t fit sufficiently smoothly with his preconceptions. It’s sad, really.

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