AFP News Agency Stumbles in the Homestretch - Evolution News & Views

Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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AFP News Agency Stumbles in the Homestretch

An AFP news agency article about the growing controversy between Darwinism and intelligent design was almost balanced. Darwinist Barbara Forrest was allowed to peddle her conspiracy theory, the gist of which is that many scholars exploring the scientific evidence for intelligent design are theists! And they want to renew our culture!

Then design theorists like biologists Michael Behe and Jonathan Wells were allowed to briefly explain the scientific evidence for intelligent design. So far so good.

But then, near the end, so close to the finish line, the article stumbles badly:

Amid growing animosity, both sides agree that proving intelligent design in traditional scientific terms is next to impossible.

"Can science show you whether God exists? No," said Dr Wells.

"It is difficult to reconcile science with Christian philosophical questions," said Vittorio Maestro of Natural History magazine.

This is extraordinarily misleading. The central tenet of design theory is that design is scientifically detectable in nature. By studying a bacterial flagellum we can see that the bacterial flagellum was designed but not who designed it. This latter point is what the design theorist means when he says science cannot tell us "whether God exists."

Perhaps the reporter simply misunderstood this point. But if so, why was the news agency clear-headed enough to produce the following portion halfway through the article?

Jonathan Wells, a senior Discovery fellow with doctorates in both cell biology and religious studies, said the debate is mainly about the "limits of Darwinism".

Scientists can conclude intelligent design exists through empirical evidence, he said.

But defining the "intelligent designer" is "beyond the scope of science," he said.

Perhaps the piece had multiple writers. Perhaps also the AFP's next story about Darwinism and design will be balanced from first to last.