Sunday, May 14, 2006

Atrocious SacBee article on intelligent design

Phillip Johnson, regarded as the godfather of intelligent design creationism, got this naive plug from a credulous Sacramento Bee reporter. The Bee should be ashamed of publishing this nonsense.

This is typical of the story:

"But many who read "Darwin on Trial" say the book made a "devastating case" against the widely held theory. Among them is Johnson's former colleague Michael Smith, also a retired Berkeley law professor."

Of course -- law professors are the experts we should go to learn about evolution. So when we need legal advice, let's call up a biologist. What this allegedly devastating case is, we're not told. And the headline is obscenely inaccurate about what evolution stands for, saying that Johnson contends "life on Earth is too complex to be created by random mutations"

Nobody in the scientific community from Darwin to the present has ever argued that random mutations created life. As described on Talkorigins, mutations are the raw material for natural selection. Worst of all, this elemental misunderstanding is in the education section! Such ignorance on the Bee's part is difficult to believe.

The Bee reporter did talk to a scientist, Michael Ruse, who thinks intelligent design is bunk, and to a science teacher. But there's not even a hint at the vast amount of evidence for evolution in the scientific literature, or Johnson's false statements on intelligent design. It's just a he-said he-said hack job, a puff piece on a scientific charlatan.

Thankfully, Wesley R. Elsberry provides the evidence the uninformed (or worse) reporter didn't think worth mentioning.

Talkorigins describes in detail the evidence for Johnson's inaccuracy and intellectual dishonesty the Sacramento Bee reporter (and editors who read the story) didn't think to provide.

h/t to the Panda's Thumb.

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