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National Geographic Gets It Right

John G. West

National Geographic News is running a fair and balanced article about intelligent design and the debate over how to teach evolution. Unlike many journalists, the author of this piece defines intelligent design correctly:

Intelligent-design theory states that certain features of the natural world are of such complexity that the most plausible explanation is that they are products of an intelligent cause rather than random mutation and natural selection. Supporters of the theory say the nature of the intelligent cause is outside the scope of the theory.

The writer also quotes me correctly and accurately describes Discovery Institute’s position on how evolution should be taught:

Teach the Controversy

John West is the associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and an advocate of the institute’s “teach the controversy” approach to teaching evolution in U.S. public schools.

The approach steers clear of teaching intelligent-design theory in the schools (the Discovery Institute believes the theory is too new to be required). Instead, “teach the controversy” promotes teaching “all the evidence relating to evolutionary theory,” West said.

Included in the evidence are what the Discovery Institute views as legitimate criticisms of evolutionary theory, such as the limits of natural selection and random mutation in explaining the explosion of new body plans during the Cambrian period (about 570 million years ago).

“If high school or college students are capable of understanding evidence for evolution, certainly they could understand scientific criticisms of key parts of the theory, particularly the limit to the creative power of selection and random mutation,” West said.

Kudos to National Geographic News for trying to inform readers by fairly describing both sides of the debate.

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.

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