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NPR’s Science Fiction Friday (Again)

John G. West

The biased record of NPR’s “Science Friday” continues unabated with last week’s segment on the Kansas evolution hearings. As might be predicted, host Ira Flatow mangled the definition of intelligent design and asserted that ID is “creationism dressed in new clothing.” He went on to falsely claim that the purpose of the Kansas Board of Education hearings to be held this week is to “listen to arguments pro and con about teaching evolution in science class.” In reality, I don’t know of anyone testifying in Kansas who is going to argue against teaching evolution in science class. Instead, the witnesses are going to argue that in addition to teaching the evidence for modern evolutionary theory, students should also hear about some of the scientific criticisms of the theory already appearing in the science journals. But, hey, why let facts get in the way of a stereotyped story? To Flatow’s credit, he did have the AP’s John Hanna on the show to explain what is going on in Kansas. Hanna’s explanations were noticeably more accurate and balanced than Flatow’s ill-informed remarks. But the only non-journalist guest on the show was the president of Kansas Citizens for Science, who of course promptly denounced anyone who favors presenting scientific criticisms of Darwinian theory and who falsely portrayed the Kansas debate as a battle between the supporters of science and “Biblical literalist(s).”

Even though Flatow described what was happening in Kansas as a “debate,” he only had one side of the debate represented on his show. I guess that’s NPR’s definition of “balance.” It’s not the first time Flatow has refused to include both sides of the evolution debate. When will journalists on “public” radio finally decide serve the public by offering a genuine diversity of views?

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.