LA Times Columnist Takes on Strawman

Jonathan Witt

In her recent LA Times column, Patt Morrison spent half her essay pummeling a strawman: creationists who think the Smithsonian is hiding Noah’s ark. The other half she spent fear mongering: The creationist “brain snatchers,” the essay warns, “could be in anybody’s backyard tomorrow.”
Like an aging boxer, Darwinism has taken to dodging the real challenger, intelligent design–according to which, certain features of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process like natural selection. Morrison eventually mentions intelligent design, but only to erect another strawman. “ID is a canny tactic,” she explains, ” . . . in which the Bible is an encoded science text.”
Her column attacked the creationist museum but also the ID movement. The newspaper ran a response letter from the museum curator, but not the letter from the Discovery Institute correcting her misrepresentation of intelligent design–again, the aging boxer dodging its strongest opponent.
Morrison presented no scientific evidence against design theory. Instead, she was obsessed with hidden motives and beliefs. Why won’t she attack an actual argument (not the person) of a leading design scientist?
Or why not tell former atheist Antony Flew why he is mistaken in becoming a deist? This British philosopher has long been regarded as arguably the most incisive defender of philosophical materialism. But he changed his mind after considering the question of the simplest, self-reproducing cell, a world of complex circuits, miniaturized motors, and digital code.
That’s a problem papered over by most biology curricula. Natural selection can’t build the first self-reproducing organism bit by bit. It needs life first. Nor can the natural outworking of the laws of nature. Let students keep their brains. They can use them to critically analyze a worldview masquerading as science, a philosophy called materialism.

Jonathan Witt

Executive Editor, Discovery Institute Press and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Witt, PhD, is Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His latest book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design (DI Press, 2018) written with Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. Witt has also authored co-authored Intelligent Design Uncensored, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, and The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Witt is the lead writer and associate producer for Poverty, Inc., winner of the $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award and recipient of over 50 international film festival honors.

Share