Mainstream Media Continue to Mislead the Public About Criticisms of Darwinian Evolution

Robert L. Crowther, II

Recent news articles on various aspects of the overall debate over evolution and intelligent design continue to highlight the fact that many in the media are falling for the false claims of Darwinists.
In Ohio, in Utah, in Wisconsin, in South Carolina, and elsewhere Darwinists are claiming that any criticism of Darwin’s theory is the same as intelligent design. (Christian Schwabe, Lynn Margulis and other staunchly anti-ID scientists would be quite surprised to learn their strident criticisms of Darwinian evolution have turned them into ID proponents.)

The Darwinists say it, and for some reason reporters just accept it without any questioning. This leads to other reporters reading the same thing and then turning around and confirming it in their own articles.
For instance, Richard Monastersky at the Chronicle of Higher Education contacted us this week and asked this question:

With Kitzmiller, Ohio, and now Utah, there have been several legal and political defeats for ID. Am I correct in assuming that the Discovery Institute is not abandoning its support for ID? If so, where do you go from here?

And I answered:

This just isn’t true. You are mistaken in telling people that Ohio or Utah were about intelligent design. That is factually wrong. Ohio was very clearly NOT about intelligent design, contrary to the bogus claims of the rabid Darwinists that sought to mislead the public and the policy makers there. I hope you do not misreport this important fact. Teaching students both the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution is NOT the same as teaching the theory of intelligent design. In Ohio the standards called for students to critically analyse Darwinian evolution. In Utah, the proposal was basically a disclaimer to students that there are unresolved problems in evolution and that scientists disagree over what this means. Discovery has never favored disclaimers, either in the classroom or on
textbooks. Instead of telling students there is a problem with Darwinian evolution, show them what the problems are. The scientific literature is full of unresolved issues and challenging problems for Darwinian evolution, and we think students should be learning about that. If a tenth grade student can understand evidence that supports Darwin’s theory, they certainly can understand the evidence that challenges it.
It’s too bad that whenever attempts to teach both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution come up, there is a howl of protest from the Darwin only lobby that bullies schools and legislatures into shutting down the discussion.

It will be interesting to see how much –if any– of that will appear in the Chronicle when the story comes out.
Still, this is the perfect example of how misinformation spreads. I hope that reporters who read this site will ask about the difference between criticism of Darwinian evolution and advocating a completely separate theory such as intelligent design. It’s important that the public understand that these are two very different things, contrary to what Darwinists are now claiming.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.