A sensible critique of Cobb County decision

Constitutional attorney Brian Fahling has a sensible discussion of the Cobb County decision in the Union-Leader, here. Especially pertinent is his paragraph responding to the charge that it was illegitimate for the school district to single out evolution in its disclaimer. Fahling hits the proverbial nail on the head when he says: I suspect that evolution was singled out because it is the only scientific theory whose adherents are utterly intolerant of criticism, and it is the only scientific theory taught in public schools as the gospel truth that no reasonable person could question. This is not only troubling for parents whose religion rejects the theory, but it is equally troubling from an academic, scientific, and intellectual perspective for obvious Read More ›

Ken Miller, Con Law Expert? (Not)

Darwinian biologist Ken Miller ventures into the field of constitutional law and flops. In an op-ed in the Boston Globe, Miller mangles a key finding of the judge in the Cobb County case. According to Miller: The judge simply read the sticker and saw that it served no scientific or educational purpose. Once that was clear, he looked to the reasons for slapping it in the textbooks of thousands of students, and here the record was equally clear. The sticker was inserted to advance a particular set of religious beliefs… While the ACLU claimed that the Cobb County school board adopted its textbook sticker in order to advance religion, the judge rejected that claim. Instead, the judge found that the Read More ›

Fair and Balanced? The Newsmedia’s Recent Lopsided Coverage of Evolution Controversy

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 ›

Local PA Paper Gets DI Position Right, Washington Post and Major Media Don’t

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 ›

Boston Globe Corrects False Characterization of Discovery Institute

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 ›