To demonstrate the bias and sloppy thinking involved in reporting these days consider a recent NY Times article, “Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition”, written by Kenneth Chang. Chang’s article is an examination of the Discovery Institute’s (an intelligent design think-tank) running list of 514 Ph.D-level scientists who have signed onto a statement indicating that they are skeptical of Darwinian evolution.

 

Chang writes:

The petition, they say, is proof that scientific doubt over evolution persists. But random interviews with 20 people who signed the petition and a review of the public statements of more than a dozen others suggest that many are evangelical Christians, whose doubts about evolution grew out of their religious beliefs. And even the petition’s sponsor, the Discovery Institute in Seattle, says that only a quarter of the signers are biologists, whose field is most directly concerned with evolution. The other signers include 76 chemists, 75 engineers, 63 physicists and 24 professors of medicine.

Just because many of the signers have religious beliefs does not mean that their skepticism toward Darwinian evolution grew out of their religious beliefs. That is a judgment call that is quite specious. Michael Behe, for example, says he was quite content in both his faith and Darwinism. It was what he saw under the microscope that caused him to be skeptical of Darwinian claims. The author does go on to admit that “of the signers who are evangelical Christians, most defend their doubts on scientific grounds but also say that evolution runs against their religious beliefs,” but this appears much later in the article.


And what’s wrong with “only” 25% of the signers being biologists? That would make them the majority! Twenty-five percent of 514 is 129 people. That is some 50 more than the next nearest category he names (actually the number is 154, which is 30% of the signers, and 78 more than the next nearest category named)! Wouldn’t it have been more accurate to those who dissent the most are biologists? Instead, the author chose to downplay the most significant portion of signers as though somehow it was less than satisfactory. Furthermore, aren’t the opinions of chemists, engineers, and physicists important to the debate? Of course they are, because all of these fields are used by Darwinists to muster evidence for their theory. The diversity of fields shows that dissent over Darwinism is not limited to one group of people, but pervades through several scientific disciplines.

He goes on to say, “The petition was started in 2001 by the institute, which champions intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution and supports a “teach the controversy” approach, like the one scuttled by the state Board of Education in Ohio last week.”

Here he simply gets his facts wrong like so many others reporting on intelligent design in the media. The Discovery Institute does not champion ID as an alternative to evolution. Many ID folks believe in evolution. What ID is an alternative to is the purely naturalistic, neo-Darwinian form of evolution.