On Discovery Institute and Intelligent Design, <em>New York Times</em> Egregiously Distorts the Record - Evolution News & Views

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On Discovery Institute and Intelligent Design, New York Times Egregiously Distorts the Record

An admiring profile by New York Times reporter Cornelia Dean, in praise of Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, contains this egregious falsehood (emphasis added):

To organizations like the Discovery Institute, which backs the teaching of intelligent design in schools, Dr. Scott actually is "stifling legitimate scientific dissent," as the group says on its Web site. It has also accused the N.C.S.E. of misrepresenting its work.

Actually there's more than one falsehood there. Can you count them? Discovery Institute has consistently opposed, not "backed," trying to get intelligent design taught in public high schools. We've been absolutely clear about that -- see our policy here.

Moreover, the phrase Ms. Dean quotes in our name, about NCSE's "stifling legitimate scientific dissent," not only does not appear on Discovery Institute's main web page to which the reporter links. It doesn't appear anywhere on any of our web pages. A Google search for it produces only the NY Times article by Ms. Dean and blog posts derivative of that article.

If we had said somewhere that the NCSE seeks to "stifl[e] legitimate scientific dissent," I wouldn't disown it, and who knows, maybe someone from Discovery Institute has said just that in some context. But the point is, we didn't say it, not in those words, on our website as she reports. So who is Cornelia Dean quoting? Ms. Dean didn't interview anyone from Discovery for this article, and apparently she didn't actually look at our website either before supposedly quoting from it.

The latter wouldn't be worth mentioning, obviously, were it not for the gross error about our education policy in the very same sentence. This is shoddy reporting, very far from the first time we seen such things, and it explains why we are indeed on the alert for Darwinists "misrepresenting [our] work."

UPDATE: It's been pointed out that there is in fact a comment similar to "stifling legitimate scientific dissent" in a document posted on our website. But the Times reporter mangled the quote. The document says that the NCSE uses the tactic of false charges of misquotation to "stifle legitimate scientific debate." The reporter not only took the quote from its original context, but she substituted "dissent" for "debate" and changed "stifle" to "stifling." It was the reporter's paraphrase, not a verbatim quote, and so it shouldn't have been included in quote marks.

As I already pointed out, this is not a big deal, but it does give evidence of sloppiness. The big deal is the egregious misrepresentation of Discovery Institute's science education policy.