Saturday, March 12, 2016

#1619: Rhonda Forlow

Associates of last entry’s Lawrence Ford, Rhonda Forlow and her husband Brad are two cranks affiliated with the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) (formerly, in fact: Currently they are doing missionary work trying to convert people to Taliban-style fundamentalism; Rhonda Forlow has earlier described her encounters with hindus and Buddhists in British Columbia and how she “arrived home exhausted and broken by these individuals’ misguided quest for knowledge and truth in an extremely tolerant society,” so there is clearly some work to do.)

Rhonda Forlow used to be in charge of the ICR’s K-12 blog entitled Science Education Essentials. She does, indeed, possess a PhD in Education, specializing in the “education of students with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, and mental retardation,” but we’ll leave it at that. She doesn’t understand science, and her posts were written under the standard creationist delusion that there is a sharp distinction between “historical” and “observational” sciences, where questions about the origin of life and the universe would belong to the former and thus not “really” be science. As anyone with a cursory knowledge of how scientific investigations work (you know: hypothesis forming, derivation of testable predictions, testing) that distinction is, to put it mildly, bogus. 

Though nominally aimed at homeschoolers, Forlow seems to have had a wider audience of teachers in mind. Here is a good summary of her pedagogical suggestions. It’s … tough reading if you care for truth, honesty and accuracy, but her forays into cryptozoology are at least entertaining: “We are uncertain if dinosaurs still live today. If any do, it would be in very remote and secretive locations. The latest sighting claims have come from the Likouala swamp in Congo, and from a remote island in Indonesia. Here is what we do know from past history: Records of dragon slayings, or dinosaur encounters, in mainland Europe ended in the Middle Ages. Similar records in Britain ended in about the 1700s.” You do the math (but “Jesus” is always an acceptable answer).

The blog, which closed in late 2012, is, if anything, a good example of one of the tensions any pseudoscientific enterprise will eventually have to face: Are they persecuted by scientists, or do scientists (at least “more and more” of them) “agree” with their conclusions? Forlow, at least, often pretended that her conclusions were in line with the conclusions of ordinary scientists, which is rather desperately delusional but of course easily explained by the fact that she didn’t have the faintest idea about science, much less biology, even much less evolutionary biology, or what real scientists are up to.

Brad Forlow, her husband, has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and used to be the Associate Science Editor at the ICR, serving on their “life science research team”. In that role he has at least written a number of pamphlets for the ICR.

Diagnosis: Another one who’s doing her best (worst) to undermine children’s aptitude for reality, science and reason. To the extent that she’s using a “science agrees with me” gambit, it’s at least easily exposed as deceptive even by those who have been heavily sheltered from reality. Still, her overall contribution to humanity is definitely not benevolent.   

No comments:

Post a Comment