Friday, February 12, 2016

#1594: Bruce Evans

We’ve covered a couple of the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism before – the true believers; not those who were hoodwinked into signing. The thing is: The US has a lot of questionable educational institutions that hire a lot of faculty with questionable levels of competence (but formal degrees), so it isn’t much surprise that the Discovery Institute are able to find a handful of fundamentalists willing to sign whatever anti-science petition they put in front of them.

Bruce Evans is a good example. Evans has a PhD in neurobiology and published some papers in fields unrelated to evolution back in the days. Currently, Evans is a professor of biology and department chair at Huntington University, a Christian liberal arts college, the faculty of which subscribe to a fundamentalist statement of faith (“[w]e believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God”), and which apparently happily allowed Evans to teach an EXCEL class on the Origins of Life. Evans is a committed creationist (and Sunday school teacher), and was even on the board of reviewers for Explore Evolution. According to the, uh, educational institution’s website, Evans’ “primary interests are in the areas of intelligent design, cognitive neuroscience and dinosaurs.” Dinosaurs? What are his credentials? Oh, he “has spent time with paleontologists at fossil sites in Colorado, Utah, Texas, and Indiana,” which is … not exactly the same as having a research background. More insidiously, though, he “helps to educate local elementary students about dinosaurs.” He has also given presentations at Intelligent Design conferences and “led discussions on these topics in colleges and churches in Indiana and Ohio.” That should count for something, shouldn’t it?

What is interesting in this context is that Evans is also on the list Rethinking AIDS, an HIV denialist petition. We’ve found no further elaboration of his views on this matter, however.

Diagnosis: Fundamentalist pseudo-scientist. “Anti-scientist” is probably more accurate, given his outreach efforts. Not one of the big fish, to be sure, but he seems to have influence enough to be considered very dangerous.

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