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Evolution News and Views

The Seattle Weekly Proves There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure. -- Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
The Seattle Weekly's Roger Downey has labored and produced a mouse. And, his mouse is a laughable, funhouse-mirror distortion of reality. But what else can you expect when you realize that he didn't actually do any research, but essentially just cuts and pastes crazy assertions and outrageous claims from our critic's blogs. Even though in the constellation of Seattle journalism and news publications the Weekly is (generously) seen as a lesser light, this piece demands a response.

"The Plot to Kill Darwin" is a rehash of old reports from other publications and blogs. There is nothing new, or original, in this article. Even the title and cover art seem to be ripped off from Wired magazine's more sophisticated yarn of 2004. Most of the "news" reporting here is actually Downey just regurgitating oft repeated charges fringe Darwinists have lobbed at us for years. We've responded to all of this in the past.

But, it's worth people know where to read those archived articles. You can start with our "Responses to Critics" section which has dozens of articles from our Fellows debunking the same sorts of false facts that Downey has unearthed. Definitely, you'll want to read "The Wedge Document: So What?" (available since 2003 on our website, and including the complete text of the original title document) which responds in length to the Darwinists consistent mischaracterizations of that old fund-raising letter. (For fun you might want to read this parody piece as well.) Finally, to set the record straight be sure to go through the documents listed on our page titled "The Truth About Discovery Institute."

The Weekly's piece (not unlike its predecessors at Wired and Salon) is full of unfounded assertions and -- in spite of the second hand sources even-- lazy errors of fact.

Here are just a few of them:

  • Dr. Stephen C. Meyer is not still teaching at Whitworth College; he resigned four years ago (that's why we don't list this on our website).

  • Contrary to Judge John E. Jones' opinion, there are at least seven peer-reviewed articles supportive of intelligent design, as Roger (and the judge) could have seen by reading our amicus brief in the Dover case, or check our website.

  • We never professed ignorance of the "Wedge" document; it's been on our website, along with our rebuttal, for years. Your story's titillating tidbit about the copy boy who purloined a Discovery staffer's fund raising letter and presented it breathlessly to the World Wide Web as some secret plan (now expanded by Downey to a "founding document") actually shows how puerile and paranoid Darwinists are when faced with opposition. Downey reports that the paper was stamped "TOP SECRET" and "NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION" yet the very pictures of it on the Weekly website show that isn't true.

  • Downey reports:
    The intelligent-design movement began at a conference of proponents and antagonists of Darwinian evolution at Baylor University in 1992, but the phrase didn't enjoy wide circulation until it was taken up by the Discovery Institute in 1998 as a central tool in a five-year plan to challenge Darwin in the press, in the courts, and in the schools.
    This isn't just wrong, it is stunningly wrong. There was no such conference about ID at Baylor University in 1992. ID originated long before that, at numerous places where scientists like Dean Kenyon, Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley and others were developing and researching the theory. Discovery's Center for Science & Culture was started in 1995 not 1998. For a brief, but accurate history of intelligent design go here.
Getting the basic facts right used to be important to journalists.

Downey writes of the Dover trial as if he had been there reporting on the demeanor of witnesses and lawyers. I was at the first week of the Dover trial, and Casey Luskin and Logan Gage were there later, and we didn't see Downey anywhere. What I did see was the list of all media in attendance, without his name on it. Since there was apparently no other original reporting done for this article I have to wonder if he was there or not. I seriously doubt if he was.

Contrary to Downey's claim that I didn't answer any of his questions, I actually have copies of multiple e-mails I sent him answering all manner of questions. How else would he be able to glibly offer up details of Bruce Chapman's personal life such as when he joined the Catholic Church? Or how much money he makes? Because he asked, and I responded.

The Weekly is right about one thing, and one thing only. The issue isn't going away. And that issue at heart is the growing improbability that the complexity of life can be explained by random mutation and natural selection. It's the issue of evidence that the arm-waving Darwinists--and the Weekly--don't want to face.