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.