A letter from a longtime participant on my blog, Dave Van Dyke (left above), who has written a Ph.D. dissertation on the effect Creationist beliefs have upon the learning success of high school science students:
One of my favorite childhood memories is seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with my father. My dad took me because had seen a glowing review of the film by Roger Ebert on Channel 11 WTTW out of Chicago. "Raiders" was the first movie I ever saw twice. Little did I know that, 30 years later, I would befriend the very guy who told my Dad to go see what became (and remains) my all-time favorite movie.
A few years ago, I clicked a box on the upper right-hand corner of Roger's site labeled "Roger Ebert's Journal." Roger had posted a reflection about a movie called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." I found myself involved in a discussion in the "Comments" section about evolution: What it means, how it works and why it is important. You see, I teach science in a middle-school classroom in South Bend, IN. There was this guy on the blog defending intelligent design creationism named Randy Masters. I remember thinking "...this guy Randy just will not quit." Although neither of us budged a bit, we became friends.
Last winter, Randy and I met at a restaurant in Southwest Michigan. I told Randy then what I purposefully haven't told anyone else in Ebert World until now: I had been writing a dissertation on the effect of creationism on my students' learning. I was doing it through Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. Andrews University (a wonderful school) happens to be a school run by Seventh Day Adventists, none of whom accept evolution.
Randy asked me to send him a copy of the dissertation when I was done. I finished a couple weeks ago, so I sent him an Email and attached it to Roger, thinking he might be interested. I wrote that part of what kept me going included the breaks I took at Ebert World.
Roger greatly honored me by proposing the dissertation be posted on his blog, and asked me to write this introduction. So I did.
I feel have made many good friends here. Thanks to all of you.