The New York Times has an article
on a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History on the life and theories of Charles Darwin. It contains a mantra that has appeared in many Times articles in the recent past:
And though there is no credible scientific support for this position, President Bush, when asked in August about evolution and intelligent design, said that "both sides ought to be properly taught."
This is a variation on Cornelia's Creed
, which I have discussed several times previously
. It is blatant fundamentalist reporting to state in a news article that there is "no credible scientific support" for intelligent design. A good journalist would have said something factual like "a majority of scientists do not accept the theory of intelligent design." It is well established that some scientists do hold that there is credible scientific support for the theory, and that there are significant problems with macroevolutionary theory
. Yet the Times chooses to editorialize in a news article that the evidence cited by such scientists is incredible. Do we even know how many of the scientists who disagree with intelligent design also believe that there is no scientific support for it at all? The writer tries to stifle the opposition by pretending that it is not there, which is a form of obscurantism. Hasn't the Times learned anything after its recent embarrassments? As I have noted previously, the Times seems to think that a whole group of scientists
doesn't even exist.
The article also contains this:
The exhibition mentions intelligent design not as science, or as a theory to be debated, but as a form of creationism, which offers the biblical view that God created the earth and its creatures fully formed within the last 10,000 years. In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that creationism is a religious belief that cannot be taught in public schools.
So it appears (even though the author has shown himself to be unreliable) that the museum has opted for the strategy of misrepresenting the opposing point of view rather than addressing it on the merits. It takes a pretty small mind not to see the obvious differences between intelligent design theory and creationism based on the Bible. Here, let me help: intelligent design appeals only to scientific evidence for its support; creationism appeals to the Bible and scientific evidence. See any meaningful distinction there? The failure to acknowledge this difference is a form of bigotry, pure and simple. Such a position is akin to saying, "All evolutionists are atheists." Both positions are false and asserting them is morally reprehensible. Why is the museum so willing to take such a position? Is it really so afraid to deal with intelligent design accurately and on the merits, like it did in one of the issues
of Natural History?
The question now seems to be: Is there any credible support for the proposition that the New York Times is a reliable source of information?