The Strange Case of Dr. Darwinist and Mr. Creationist--or Inspector Clouseau in a Lab Coat?
Meet Mark A. Farmer, Ph.D., of Winterville, Georgia.
Dr. Farmer is a Professor and Head of the Department of Cellular Biology at the University of Georgia. His research is on the "origin and evolution of eukaryotic cells." Until recently, Dr. Farmer also held the position of Directorate for Biological Sciences, Division of Biological Infrastructure, with the National Science Foundation, with responsibility for soliciting grants for the NSF's "Assembling the Tree of Life" project.
Publicly, Mark A. Farmer says he is passionate about keeping religious alternatives to evolution out of biology:
Farmer signed a petition addressed to the Cobb County Board of Education objecting to "the proposal to allow 'alternative theories' of the origin and development of life on earth to be presented alongside evolutionary theory in Cobb County science classrooms" because it would "significantly degrade the quality of science education in Cobb County schools." Internet Infidels the on-line host of Farmer's petition, is "a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet." As Internet Infidels explains on its website, "[N]aturalism entails the nonexistence of all supernatural beings, including the theistic God."
In May of 2005, University Affairs magazine reported that Farmer teaches students in his "Origins of Life" course "why scientists feel Darwinian theory offers the best explanation for biological diversity."
In a November 2005 letter to the Athens Banner-Herald, Farmer wrote that "the voters of Dover, Pa. were right to reject those school board members who would interject belief in the supernatural into America's science classrooms."
Privately, Mark A. Farmer says he is passionate about putting religious alternatives to evolution into biology:
As president of Quality Science Education for All (QSEA), an organization dedicated to improving science education by including the scientific weaknesses of evolution along with its strengths in biology, I get e-mails.
In November 2005, I received an e-mail from Mark A. Farmer in which he wrote:
I was considering making a donation to Quality Science Education for All but in reading about your recent activities I am still a bit confused as to what the mission of QSEA actually is. Specifically I would like to know whether or not you support the word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ being taught in our public schools. This is an issue I feel very strongly about and would need to know your position before making a decision to financially support QSEA. (Emphasis added.)
Thank you very much,
In December 2005, Mark A. Farmer wrote the following in an e-mail to my wife, Jeannie Caldwell:
[Y]our recent lawsuit against the website at Berkeley seems based on drawing a very hard line between Church [and] state. . . . Should your lawsuit prevail I feel that the concepts of ALL religions, and thus alternatives to evolution, will be forever be banned from schools. (Emphasis added.)
Notably, in his correspondence with QSEA, Mark A. Farmer did not disclose his roles as biology professor and fervent Darwinist. We only discovered those dimensions of Mark A. Farmer through detective work on the internet by my wife, Jeannie.
So how did Jeannie determine with certainty that the "public" Mark A. Farmer who has made Darwinist statements and the "private" Mark A. Farmer who has made creationist statements are one in the same? Three simple lines of evidence establish the connection:
(1) The e-mail address from which "Mark Farmer of Winterville, GA" wrote to QSEA matches the e-mail address listed for Mark A. Farmer on the Winterville City Council official website, and when my wife wrote to Mark A. Farmer at that e-mail address, Mark Farmer responded to us from that e-mail address with his December 2005 e-mail message above;
(2) The Mark A. Farmer on the Winterville, GA City Council is the same Mark A. Farmer who is professor of biology at UGA: the picture of Mark A. Farmer on the Winterville City Council official website shows the same person as the picture of Mark A. Farmer on the University of Georgia website for Professor Mark A. Farmer;
(3) Winterville, GA, where Mark A. Farmer is on the city council, is less than 8 miles from the University of Georgia, in Athens, GA, where Mark A. Farmer is on the faculty, and where Mark A. Farmer wrote his letter to the editor of the Athens Banner.
So what are we to make of Mark A. Farmer, of Winterville, Georgia?
Have we uncovered the Strange Case of Dr. Darwinist and Mr. Creationist -- a public Darwinist, but a closet creationist?
Or have we uncovered Inspector Clouseau in a labcoat -- a bumbling Darwinist attempting a clumsy imitation of a Christian fundamentalist?
Only Mark A. Farmer knows for sure.