Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cornelia Dean, Cornelia Dean: What Was She Thinking?

After commenting recently, I read again John West's post that includes excerpts of an email exchange with Cornelia Dean, and the following comments by Dean struck me:
I did not intend to say, and I do not believe a reasonable reader would conclude, that Dr. Owens Fink asserted in those sentences that creationism is an ideological cousin of creationism. However, as a precaution and in the interests of fairness, I consulted colleagues here who are more knowledgeable about grammar than I am. They agree.

Intelligent design IS an ideological cousin of creationism. To say otherwise would be to mislead our readers.

The curious thing about this is that she seems not even to consider the alternative of simply saying nothing. "To say otherwise . . ."? Why not leave out the editorializing completely? Why not preface the opinion with "Some believe . . ."? The reality is that ID has some similarities with creationism, but it also has important differences. Dean also has the option of mentioning the similarities and the differences, if avoiding misleading her readers was her concern. Mentioning one without the other is the source of the bias. It is also a textbook example of how to stereotype a group of people.

Finally, Evo News has another post about an editorial Cornelia Dean wrote, which I am sure was a cathartic experience for her. Her desire to express her personal opinion is reflected in much of her "news" articles. That piece can now be found here, and you may want to read my post about it: "Oh Yeah, That Deity Who does Not Transcend Nature."


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