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Kansas AP Reporter with an Attitude

John G. West

With some local reporters in Kansas striving to cover the science standards controversy there with fairness and accuracy, it’s disappointing to see the Associated Press reporter in Kansas writing science fiction in the guise of news reports. According to the latest salvo from AP’s Bill Draper:

Some conservative members of the state board have questioned whether the committee has properly considered views about creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution.

A minority of members on Case’s committee have said it’s not fair to teach evolution as an explanation of the origin of life without also including the possibility that life was formed by an intelligent being.

Contrary to Draper, there is no debate on the Kansas Board of Education over whether to teach creationism, and there is no debate on the Kansas science standards committee about whether to teach intelligent design. What minority members on the science standards committee have called for is teaching about scientific criticisms of modern evolutionary theory as well as the evidence favoring evolutionary theory. They have not called for the teaching of intelligent design. Has Mr. Draper even read the minority report issued by members of the science standards committee?

Draper continues:

Intelligent design is a secular form of creationism that argues the Earth was created by a series of events caused by some intelligent force, not random chance. Evolution says that species change in response to environmental and genetic factors over the course of many generations.

This is editorializing, not reporting. Intelligent design is not “a secular form of creationism.” It is not a form of creationism, period. Draper is taking a tendentious assertion of opinion by evolutionists and reporting it as a “fact.” Some defenders of evolution assert that intelligent design is “a secular form of creationism,” but proponents of design strongly disagree. Draper simply takes the disputed opinion of ID opponents and presents it as an unquestioned fact. He also seems to misunderstand what intelligent design actually entails. He implies that ID is incompatible with a belief that “species change in response to environmental and genetic factors over the course of many generations,” when it isn’t. It might help if Mr. Draper read the Top Questions and Answers about Intelligent Design Theory. Tip for Mr. Draper and the AP: In covering a controversial issue, it’s usually a good idea to talk to people on both sides of the debate. And it’s usually a very poor idea to describe one side of a debate using the talking points of the other side.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.