Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So there is nothing religious about ID? Part VI

We've had the conversation several times, 5 to be exact (here, here, here, here and here). We've talking about their penchant for talking to only religious audiences like their seminars at SMU, how the DI forgot to mention the previous job (Probe Ministries) of a recent hire, how they lack presence in both peer reviewed journals and secular university positions . . . to mention a few things. So where does that leave us?

Casey Luskin . . . I mean Anika Smith -- I do keep getting those two confused. Do they have the same person writing for them and just signing their names?

Well anyway, Anika wrote a little missive trying to take Reuters to task for them for insinuating that Intelligent Design is Creationism. Well if you really want to see it, here is her post "Reuters Gets It Wrong: Intelligent Design Isn't Creationism". Anika was working on selling the old line that ID is not Creationism. Now why in the world would we think something like that?

Here is the much more interesting Reuters article: "Texas education board sticks to teaching of evolution". Now this article is a brief report on the DI's utter failure in Texas and how the State School Board is sticking with Evolution, but does the DI choose to mention that? No, of course not. Does the DI seek to remind everyone how the Board went in exactly 180 degrees from the poorly named 'study' the DI did on the supplemental materials? Oh no, that's just another thing the DI would love people to forget about. no, they take exception to Reuters characterization of ID. Did they mention how supporters of science testified during the hearing? Oh heavens no!

What a surprise, I think Anika got it wrong. My reading of the Reuters article says they did not do what the DI claims they did. Here is the quote mentioned by Anika:

"Intelligent design and creationism are theories that life on earth was created essentially the way it is described in the Bible's Book of Genesis - not by evolution, but by a 'creative intelligence' generally considered to be the Christian God."
In addition, earlier in the article Reuters opened with the line:
"Conservatives had complained the materials up for approval did not adequately address "alternatives to evolution" such as creationism or intelligent design as a theory of how life began."
Now in each case Intelligent Design and Creationism were identified as 'alternatives to evolution' and 'theories', respectively -- please note the plurals 'alternatives and theories. Now my read on using the English that I spent years learning and using -- at no time did Reuters actually say they were one in the same. What do you think?

Now the article did say
"The Texas board, which includes evangelical Christians, had been seen as the best opportunity for supporters of Biblical-based theories of creation to get their point of view represented in public school curriculum."
But those Evangelical Christians weren't pushing for Intelligent Design or they might have objected when the ONLY supplemental materials publisher (International Databases, LLC) approved by the DI was rejected. Not only did they not raise an issue, they joined the vote! They did save their energy for objecting to evolution and common descent issues in another publisher. So in other words as written even this line doesn't make it sound ID and Creationism are the same thing.

No Anika was trying to make believe ID is science and thereby cannot possibly be Creationism. So why would the ID make the connection?
So it's not Reuters problem even if Anika has to make a stretch to even come up with this ridiculous accusation. The connection seems to be more a problem for the DI itself. It's own strategy document, DI Senior Fellow William Dembski, and Vice-President Stephen C. Meyer, Center for Science and Culture at the DI all seem to make the connection much more apparent than Reuters. Maybe Anika should take her complaint inside the DI before going after Reuters.

I think Reuters did the right thing by refusing to print a correction. I do not believe that Reuters has much to fear about credibility issues. I mean how much credibility does the DI have? Well outside specific religious organizations that is.

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