The Talk.Origins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy

"Rank amateurs" on t.o. - some statistics
Post of the Month: March 1998
by Sverker Johansson

In a recent discussion, our favourite Professor of Mathematics claimed that much discussion on t.o. was

>PN: rank amateurs when it comes to science, for the most
>PN: part, from what I have seen.

[Posted by Peter Nyikos on Feb 6, in the thread "Enormous gaps..."

(the specific topic he referred to was the use of the word "theory" in science, but I took the comment as more general.)]

I was not entirely convinced that t.o. is dominated by rank amateurs (apart from our local kooks), so I gathered some statistics on the scientific credentials of t.o. denizens. This was really intended for my next followup to Peter, but he hasn't responded for a while, and possibly this may be of general interest, so here we go:

My source was the list of t.o. home pages on (thanx to Richard Harter for maintaining this list!). I went through all the home pages, and noted what they said about the owner's education and profession. Here are some results:

In total, 95 home pages were reachable (a few links didn't work.) Of these, 77 gave enough info to deduce relevant data.

By degree:

(I've assumed that computer gurus have a college education, even though they don't always say so. 13 of the 37 are computer people.)

By occupation:

Presumably almost all these 18+12 are actively engaged in research.

Most of the other PhDs have research jobs as well.

By field:

(all fields are sensu lato, and include related subfields)


Other college degree:



This sample of t.o. people is dominated by people with higher education in science or science-related fields. More than 40% have a college degree in empirical natural science, and can by no stretch of the imagination be called "rank amateurs" in a discussion on how empirical science works.

A significant fraction are active researchers.

Some methodological notes:

Me? I'm included in the statistics, as PhD, professor, "Other empirical natural science" (physics, actually).

Not strictly amateur in biology either, since I've actually got paid for teaching it on a few occasions :->

(That was fun - the students' formal qualifications in biology were a lot higher than mine, but the biology prof knew how rank an amateur I am, and trusted me to teach evolution to second-year biology majors. really can help your career :->)

Best regards,
Sverker Johansson
HLK, Physics
Jonkoping College

(with apologies to Lucy...)

Article originally posted 12 Mar 1998

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