The Times (London) Higher Education Supplement Confuses Readers on Intelligent Design and Creationism

Robert L. Crowther, II

The Times (London) Higher Education Supplement (THES) confuses intelligent design with young earth creationism in a slew of articles as part of a crusade against ID.
The main article of the four on the subject is stereotypical of the mainstream media’s insistence that this is about religion and not science, starting out reporting on a tent revival meeting and going on to focus on religion rather than on any of the serious scientific issues under debate.
In this article the reporters go after creationists, and at the end of the piece there is a short description of intelligent design and how it differs from creationism. However, this article is not available online, and it is the only place where the differences between ID and creationism are cited.
In the only article widely available online, “Intelligent design creeps on to courses”, the THES clearly equates ID with creationism. The headline implies the article is about ID, but the people quoted and the groups discussed are all creationists, and are referred to as such in the article. This is clearly misleading the reader to equate the two concepts.
The THES is reporting that courses on intelligent design and creationism now will be compulsory in zoology and genetics classes, as will criticism of the theories.

But there’s a twist: lecturers will present the controversial theories as being incompatible with scientific evidence. “It is essential they (students) understand the historical context and the flaws in the arguments these groups put forward,” says Michael McPherson, of Leeds University.

Some Darwinists are so against teaching of intelligent design that they are criticizing even mentioning the theory in order to attack it.

Despite the clear anti- creationist stance of these lecturers, the move has set warning bells ringing across the UK science community.

Even the critics realize that the issue there is about creationism, so why would the THES insist on including ID when their stories are actually about something else?

In a case of “False Fear Syndrome” going global, the THES also grossly misrepresents the American debates over science education policy as being about biblical creationism. The headline screams out “Cadre of US fundamentalists determined to see biblical tenets added to courses” but gives no evidence of this claim other than quotes by people who “think” this could happen, or “believe” people are doing this. The THES itself only reports that people are concerned when they hear about it, but never give any details of it actually happening.

Each time a US state education board decides that a literal interpretation of Genesis ought to be taught alongside evolution in science lessons, UK academics have voiced their concern while privately feeling relieved at not having to face a similar situation at home.

Yet reality is quite different from their stereotypes of this debate. None of the recent high-profile debates over how to teach evolution –Ohio, Kansas, South Carolina, Dover, PA, New Mexico, Utah — are about “literal interpretations of Genesis” being pushed into the classroom.
This is simply a case of poor reporting twisting the facts to force-fit them into an agenda. Some basic research on the part of the THES reporters would have clearly shown that their portrayal is false. Why didn’t they investigate this further? We provided them with a lot of information about the state of the debate in the United States which they apparently ignored.
They also ignored any of the real debates over the inadequacies of Darwinian evolution, and the growing number of scientific challenges the theory faces.

Robert Crowther

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.