Evolution may favor religious diversity, but the tail does not wag the fish.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Confusionism: Creation Science and Religious Redux

Design for Confusion [New York Times]

"Even when reporters do know the difference, the conventions of he-said-she-said journalism get in the way of conveying that knowledge to readers. I once joked that if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, 'Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth.' The headlines on many articles about the intelligent design controversy come pretty close."
Paul Krugman's joke in his Op-Ed aside, he traces a parallel scenario where think tanks rose to dominance to challenge traditional peer reviewed scientific research with ideologically driven policy advocacy. In this process, simply creating enough public doubt enables a certain kind of validity to the opposing view. For example, global warming, which has mainstream scientific consensus, has been pushed off the public table of acceptance by "conservative think tanks, which produce and promote skeptical reports that look like peer-reviewed research, but aren't."
Creation science, Krugman claims, "was too crude" to work in its dissent of evolutionary theory. But the latest version of "intelligent design" may be enough to bring the assent of the religious right along with the financing of ideologically driven groups who want to challenge Darwin's science. But nobody seems terribly concerned that you can't MAKE your own science any more than you can make yourself be right.

Religious believers and scientist know that very well. You'd have to think like a tank (or be a think tank) to think you know better.


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