The Kansas State Board of Education will take up science education when it reviews standards and policies for teaching evolution. A group of scientists and educators, who are members of the science standards writing committee, have submitted proposed revisions that would follow in the footsteps of Ohio, Minnesota and New Mexico and require students to learn both the strengths as well as the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory. One can only hope that the media take the time to actually read the proposed revisions, and don’t just resort to rehashing the stereotypes that so dominated the media when this was an issue in Kansas in 2000. The proponents of these proposed revisions have set up their own website: www.kansasscience2005.com.
One pretty clear indicator of newsmedia bias is the amount of space news articles devote to each side of a public policy debate. Does each side of the debate get a similar number of words to describe and articulate their views? Or do reporters only provide one side of the debate space to articulate their position? If recent articles by major American newspapers are any indication, reporters writing about controversies over teaching evolution are engaging in seriously lopsided reporting, outquoting defenders of evolutionary theory by as much as 5 to 1. Moreover, many reporters appear to be censoring or refusing to report information that doesn’t fit their predetermined stereotypes. The following recent stories from The Washington Post, USA Today, and Read More ›
A local paper in Dover County, Pennsylvania has outperformed The Washington Post and much of the rest of the national newsmedia. In a recent story, reporter Lauri Lebo of the York Daily Record (Some allies question Dover board’s policy, 12/19/04) discusses Discovery Institute’s disagreement with the policy on intelligent design recently adopted by the Dover school board. While there are some errors in Lebo’s story (especially in the way she describes intelligent design theory), Lebo does what many national news reporters have thus far failed to do: Correctly report that Discovery Institute does not favor mandating the teaching of intelligent design, and that it has urged the Dover school board to withdraw its current policy. If you are surprised to Read More ›
After wrongly reporting on 11/16/04 that Discovery Institute is “active in opposing the teaching of evolution in schools around the country,” The Boston Globe to its credit has issued a correction. As we pointed out to The Globe’s ombudsman, Discovery Institute actually favors the teaching of evolution, and has publicly denounced efforts to de-emphasize or remove evolution from school curricula (see here for an example). Our gripe is not that students learn about evolution, but that they don’t learn enough about it. We think they should study not only the scientific evidence in favor of Darwin’s theory, but also the scientific evidence that raises problems for the theory. In other words, we think students need to learn more about evolution. Read More ›
On 12/19/04, The Baltimore Sun published a ridiculously misinformed article that attempted to conflate intelligent design (ID) with biblical creationism. In “Evolution or Design,” reporters Larry Carson and Larry Williams used the Institute for Creation Research rather than Discovery Institute as a spokesman for intelligent design theory. They also implied that ID teaches that “God created the Earth and its creatures less than 10,000 years ago.” In reality, the Institute for Creation Research is a supporter of biblical creationism, and it has criticized design theory because it is not biblically-based. It is not a spokesman for intelligent design. Moreover, most of the scientists and scholars who support and write about intelligent design theory accept the standard scientific dating of the earth. Read More ›