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

Evolution News and Views

The UW Daily: Balanced Reporting, Bungled Editorializing

Last week, The Daily of the University of Washington ran two pieces concerning ID. The first was a surprisingly straightforward and neutral news article about UW scientists who had signed the Dissent from Darwin list, while the second was a knee-jerk reaction more typical of an alternative weekly than an award-winning college paper.

In the objective article, news reporter Zack Barnett-Howell did a decent job of presenting different sides of an argument, including differing levels of support for ID from the signatory scientists to the dissent list. (The Dissent from Darwin list is for those skeptical of Darwin's theory and is not about ID.) This is the most refreshing aspect of Barnett-Howell's piece, that any reporter in Seattle, student or not, would have the objectivity to allow ID proponents to speak for themselves.

The Daily's editorial staff must not have read Barnett-Howell's article, because in that same issue they lambaste a local politician for claiming to be a moderate while "defaulting to the 'teaching the controversy' view."

Interestingly, the editorial argues that public opinion has no credence, while consensus views by the scientific elite should go unchallenged.

Science isn't determined by a public vote, so scientifically speaking, "the controversy" is irrelevant.

Even if 99 percent of Americans refused to believe in evolution, it would still be the dominant theory on a scientific basis.

While it may be said that the belief of the public does not make something true, the rule should apply to science as well. The fact that the Darwinian account is a majority viewpoint does not make it true. Truth needs to be perceived from the evidence.

What the editorial staff doesn't understand (and the news department might be open to) is that the truly moderate position is to teach the controversy.