Intelligent Design

News media and the ID controversy: Links to better news coverage?

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When I blogged recently on the media coverage of the intelligent design controversy, I remarked, “Then the big challenge is to find a publication that actually wants the real story. That means readers who want the real story. Only those readers can help you.”

A commenter wrote to ask,

Do you have any ideas on where we will find such readers? Should we be concentrating on informing believers? Will this be resisted by interested parties? Will we then divide our house? Should we concentrate on convincing religious and political power brokers?

ID is often accused of being a media beat up rather than a scientific controversy. Will we reinforce that view if we concentrate on media?

These are challenging questions, so let me take them in turn:

Do you have any ideas on where we will find such readers? Anywhere there are Internet-linked terminals. There is no shortage of people who question the worldview of the ”Darwinoids”, as a journalist friend calls them. The difficulty is that we are in a transitional phase between reliance on print/broadcast media and reliance on the Internet. The latter operates fundamentally differently from the former because it does not empower the big over the small. Don’t believe me? Look what the Swift Vets did to John Kerry, or the pajamaheddin did to Dan Rather. The swifts and the pajamas were nobodies – apart from the fact that both groups knew something that the public would be very interested to discover.* In the legacy media, both groups would be promptly stifled because they did not fit the story template that had already been hammered out. (Everyone who mattered knew that Kerry was a good officer, you see, and Bush was a bad airman.)

Only on the Internet could these nobodies have succeeded because anyone who can use a search engine could find out what they had to say. Currently, some want to reduce the Internet to the state of the current print/broadcast media, controlled by a few key opinion-shapers. That is more orderly, you understand. The government of China apparently does it now.

The whole point of the Internet is to circumvent that very thing! The world does not need another medium, it needs a different kind of medium – one that allows both user control and user input.

So use the Internet to find the people who doubt materialism/Darwinism and forget the legacy media.

* For the record, I will not enter into any controversy on anyone’s military record. I am concerned only with whether viewpoints that contradict a pre-existing template can easily reach a broad public while they still make a difference.

(Note: A word to people whose comments I have deleted or banned. Why depend on me? Start your own blog. In the West, the Internet is still the last free country in the world. Stake out a virtual land claim while you can.)

Should we be concentrating on informing believers? Believers in what, exactly? If you mean evangelical Christians, no. Most of them are educated way, way beyond their obedience now. And you do not want to get dragged into useless disputes about the age of the Earth. Reach people who do not want to hear a long jaw about God and religion but realize, for example, that the materialist dogma that the mind is merely an illusion or a chance buzz in the brain is simply not true. The materialist must believe it, of course. But his belief does not make it true, even if he is a professor somewhere. Start from there and work back to just how and why our pundits came to know that people are nothing but animals with a big brain. You’ll find plenty of people interested in hearing alternatives.

Will this be resisted by interested parties? No, they will shower us all with tickertape and pink champagne! Okay, no, they won’t like it a bit. But so? That’s the beauty of the Internet. You don’t depend on them.

Will we then divide our house? Hmmm. Are you asking whether people who believe that the universe shows evidence of purpose and design will split up over the age of the Earth? Not if they have any sense, they won’t. And if they don’t, let the gods punish them. I certainly don’t have the time or the inclination, nor should you.

Should we concentrate on convincing religious and political power brokers? I wouldn’t recommend that. See, power brokers usually come with a fixed set of opinions, the ones that brought them to power. In some cases, they can help you. In others, they must oppose you. But conviction rarely plays as strong a role as you’d like. People who don’t seek power can afford convictions. Take advantage of whatever comes your way, but don’t rely on power brokers. Build your own networks.

ID is often accused of being a media beat up rather than a scientific controversy. Will we reinforce that view if we concentrate on media? No, what I am trying to say is that on the Internet, you are the media. When you open a site or blog, it is like starting a newspaper or magazine. If you have something to say that is worth hearing and know how to reach your public, your detractors are only helping you by broadcasting far and wide, “— is a dangerous liar who is planning to take over the planet and impose public prayer in US inner city schools, where once drug lords and security guards prowled.”  To THEM, I would say, go tell it on the mountain.

10 Replies to “News media and the ID controversy: Links to better news coverage?

  1. 1
    JGuy says:

    Excerpt from above: “- Do you have any ideas on where we will find such readers? Anywhere there are Internet-linked terminals. ”

    Take a random (average) internet surfer that happens to come across an article regarding the evolution/ID controvery (or related). What would the top, say ten, article headlines/titles and/or subjects that would most effectively draw in interst and lead to support for ID?

    Considering this, what means of distributing said articles would be most effective. For example, a funny viral would sprad fastest, but the apparent credibility might not be as effective as an article in Science magazine. Or hundreds of volunteer website owners could post up the said articels on their websites – linked by “Read the Controversy” hyperlinks. With links to key ID information websites.

    It might not seem the most credible, but I kind of favour humorous virals (shockwave files – or YouTube videos). They spread rapidly, and the psychology behind humour is that something that is not true is made to appear as true for a moment. Once the user see’s he’s been duped he laughs. Since evolution is false, yet taught as fact, it would be an easy target of such humour. It could aslo be exposing virals, and the user see’s he’s been duped and thus invoke anger. From the viral, this could then lead to more credible venues. In some sense, when a person feels they learn something or especially if they concurrently figure it out themselves, they will have a tendency to build up what can sometimes be an unsatiable desire to uncover more of the truths. After-all, it’s the truth that will set one free 🙂

  2. 2
    tribune7 says:

    You are right on target Denyse.

  3. 3
    platolives says:

    Though Letters in a Book Appear to be Specified, They are Not

    Journalists routinely mischaracterize ID. Clearly the ones that do suffer from IID–intellectual integrity deficit. Here’s a piece from the Toronto Sar paper that you might be familiar Denyse. The line of reasoning is humorous….Wouldn’t it be great if academics got “called on the carpet” in from of the Dean to explain their reasoning, or lack thereof?

    From the Toronto Star:
    “Intelligent Design a Difficult Foe”
    For many, evolution theory hard to grasp
    May 20, 2006. 01:00
    JAY INGRAM

    “Scientists are absolutely correct to argue that intelligent design — the claim that a designer, not evolution, created life on Earth — is not science and does not belong in science classrooms. But it might come as a surprise to many of them that simply saying so isn’t enough.
    First, to understand why intelligent design isn’t science, you do have to know something about what science is.
    Scientists constantly test their theories, trying to poke holes in them. They perform observations and/or experiments to do that. If their preconceptions are not supported by what they see, detect or calculate, they are discarded.

    Darwin’s theory of evolution has been subjected to more than a century’s worth of testing. Not once has a fundamental prediction made by the theory been shown to be incorrect.

    It’s true that the story of life on Earth is still incomplete, something that ID proponents (and the creationists before them) have seized on by arguing that, for instance, there are no fossil forms that show transitions from one species to another. But such claims are not true.

    [UD friends,it gets worse!]

    Proponents of intelligent design, on the other hand, do no experiments. They have promised them in the past, but so far, nothing. Instead, they simply criticize evolution. So, they’re talking about science but they’re not doing any. Science is about doing something. ID should not be taught in science classes because it isn’t science.

    Scott Lilienfeld, a psychologist at Emory University in Atlanta, understands why. In an article in this month’s Skeptical Inquirer, Lilienfeld argues that the problem with scientists is that they expect the general public to be sensible about the whole issue and choose evolution.
    But should they be? There is, of course, the issue of religion, as I just mentioned. But what about those who are on the fence, people who might be churchgoers but are not virulently anti-evolution? Is evolution the “common sense” explanation for the glorious diversity of life? No, it is not.
    Evolution is hard to grasp. It only makes sense if you’re willing to give it millions of years, and if you can grasp the idea that the most infinitesimal changes in genes can, when captured by natural selection, actually create marvellous organs, like the eye, and marvellous species, from fruit flies to blue whales.
    Lilienfeld argues that intuition, so helpful in much of life, is a bad guide to accuracy in this case. The Earth does look flat; it isn’t. The sun appears to revolve around the Earth; it doesn’t. Living things appear to have been designed by someone (or Someone); they aren’t.
    Lilienfeld contends that the solution is to improve the teaching of science in school, to impress upon students that intuition can be wrong, and that the scientific approach is one way of ensuring that doesn’t happen.
    Of course, if intelligent design is part of that science education, so much for the chances of introducing thinking.

    Eric

    “Information, thought recorded on matter, always exists for the sake of something else, some goal or end.” Eric Peterson

  4. 4
    platolives says:

    “That thing’s got more smoke and mirrors that a Harry Potter movie.”– some pundit

  5. 5
    Rude says:

    How true:

    See, power brokers usually come with a fixed set of opinions, the ones that brought them to power. In some cases, they can help you. In others, they must oppose you.

    The pursuit of truth is not everyone’s goal—and organizations, almost by definition—do not have that goal. Their goal is more typically influence, solidarity, the maintenance of stability, or revolution. Why is it that human cultures can stagnate for zillions of years with no advance of knowledge whatsoever and yet at the same time the human heart burns with curiosity? I think it’s because human socio-cultural institutions exist primarily to make sure that nobody rocks the boat. New information is always destabilizing. Little children are born curious—societal structures serve to stifle that curiosity.

    But today there’re so many books and there’s the Internet. Long live the Internet! And long live y’all’s books!

  6. 6
    Atom says:

    Not once has a fundamental prediction made by the theory been shown to be incorrect.

    Yeah, not gradual intergradations and clear phylogeny of the fossil record, not vestigial organs, not simplistic cells, not junk DNA, not any predictions made have turned up to be false.

    And of course Haldane’s Dilemma doesn’t exist, nor does Irreducible Complexity, and “Survival of the Fittest” still isn’t a tautology.

  7. 7
    mynym says:

    Darwin’s theory of evolution has been subjected to more than a century’s worth of testing. Not once has a fundamental prediction made by the theory been shown to be incorrect.

    This reminds me of Darwin’s inversion in which critics supposedly have to prove him incorrect when he hadn’t even been proven correct in the first place. I.e. this sort of sentiment: “If it could be shown that any complex organ exists which I cannot possibly imagine being formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down! But I can’t think of such a thing and I’ll probably always be able to imagine a little story about the past.”

    Etc., that’s generally the way that the Darwinian mind has worked toward the goal of citing its own imagination as evidence based on its own degenerate epistemic standards which it calls “natural.”

    Flowing with and following the process of treating their own imagination as evidence whatever Darwinists are currently imagining about the past is transmuted into “scientific fact.” It’s little wonder that Darwinists seem to find it all so “overwhelming,” if you lose your mind by imagining things based on your philosophy instead of looking at empirical evidence as it stands then I’d imagine that things become quite overwhelming.

    An interesting contrast: “Neither of the two fundamental axioms of Darwin’s macroevolutionary theory—the concept of the continuity of nature. . . and the belief that all the adaptive design of life has resulted from a blind random process—have been validated by one single empirical discovery or scientific advance since 1859.” –Michael Denton, cf. (Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design
    By Thomas Woodward :48)

    Versus: “Not once has a fundamental prediction made by the theory been shown to be incorrect.

    What fundamental predictions? It should be noted that predictions need to be specified before the events they explain take place in order to be verified. So what specific trajectory of adaptation has been predicted to take place in a group of organisms with the theory of natural selection and then verified to take place in a group of organisms “just like” physicists would use the theory of gravity to predict the trajectory of an object and so on? This is only the application of an epistemic standard that biologists claim to have met already because Darwinists and biologists have been comparing themselves to physicists equating Darwinian ideas to Newtonian ideas as if they are equivalent forms of knowledge/scientia/science for over a hundred years now. This canard: “It’s just like gravity or somethin’. So I’m like a real scientist, which is why I know that the earth is round. How scientific that is, I feel real scientific now!” has been around since the beginning.

    If Darwinian theory is just like Newtonian physics then where are the examples in which such predictions have been made and verified empirically? The very notion of natural selection is not predictive because it is a historical statement, whatever exists is “fit” to the theory as the theorist looks back in time. That’s essentially the opposite of Newtonian thinking. The ironic thing in science is that when a hypothesis fits itself to everything in order to survive it actually fits nothing scientifically and cannot be tested as to if it actually fits, as is indicated in the case of natural selection by the fact that it has often been “fit” to a set of empirical observations made as well as the exact opposite set of empirical observations at the same time.

    A theory that fits everything is not a fit theory, all Life is being imagined to “fit” Darwinian theory without the sort of empirical verification that Newtonian theory has gone through, yet many scientists claim an equivalency between the two anyway because Darwinism has long been fused to their professional identity of “scientist.”

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    Denyse

    The whole point of the Internet is to circumvent that very thing!

    Nah. We (The Four Horsemen of the Nasdaq stock exchange: Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, and Dell) just wanted an excuse to sell more computers and thus drive our stock prices into the stratosphere. The internet was our uber penultimate killer app.

    🙂

  9. 9
    idnet.com.au says:

    Time Magazine again rolls out the old parody of ID as creationism’s Trojan horse.

    “In recent years, creationism took on new currency as the spiritual progenitor of “intelligent design” (I.D.), a scientifically worded attempt to show that blanks in the evolutionary narrative are more meaningful than its very convincing totality.”

    This confirms your view Denyse that they do not do fresh research once they have made up their minds.

    I think we in ID are always donig research to either confirm or disconfirm our ID hypothesis. To me ID is strengthenning as the days go by. “Reports of my death have been exagerated” ID.

  10. 10
    JasonTheGreek says:

    Idnet- I like how they redefine the terms. If you only read Time, you’d think that ID was against “evolution” when, in fact, it’s opposed to DARWINIAN evolution that is unplanned, unguided, purposeless, and accidental.

    Creationism is clearly a completely different thing, as a creationist wouldn’t believe that evolution has taken place at all in the common descent sense or even speciation for the most part.

    So- ID is NOT creationism (falsehood 1), and it’s not attempting to show blank spots in the “evolution” narrative, but rather the DARWINIAN version of the “narrative.” (falsehood 2)

    It’s all about how the media is allowed to define and then redefine the terms as they please. Interchange them whenever they can to confuse as many as possible.

    That and the attacks on ID, and anything even remotely related seem to be on the left side of the spectrum for the most part which is interesting in itself.

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