Friday, June 20, 2008

The New York Times Is Trafficking in Offensive Stereotypes

The editors of The New York Times have decided to propagate offensive stereotypes in a recent editorial. The sneering editorial lumps together "creationists," proponents of intelligent design, and evolutionists who question some aspects of mainstream Darwinian orthodoxy. The important differences between the many kinds of people who question at least some aspects of Darwinian theory have been ably demonstrated elsewhere. The Times chooses to ignore, or remain ignorant of, those differences. I find that truly and deeply offensive.

I believe that no reasonable person can read the works of Michael Behe and conclude that he is a young earth creationist, a proponent of creation science, or that he ever advocated the teaching of creation science in the classroom.

Why does the Times do it? One can only speculate. But it is clear that the culture of young earth creationists and the culture of intelligent design proponents are both quite foreign to the editors of the Times. What is sad is that they feel no need to educate themselves about these different cultures. I guess multiculturalism has its limits when the Times has political points it wants to score.

The stereotyping and "lumping" that the Times engages in is analogous to asserting that Barak Obama's views are the same as Rev. Wright's because they attend the same church. It is analogous to asserting that all Muslims are suicidal terrorists. I am not claiming that the Times' stereotypes are as harmful to our society and to civil discourse as those stereotypes are. I do claim that all simplistic stereotypes are harmful and should be avoided.

Does the Times stereotyping rise to the level of bigotry? I have discussed a related question in another context.

Another post about another stereotype promoter is here.