Pharyngula

The science media make my head hurt

First, read this parody of science journalism. It’s the template for just about every science story you’ll find in a newspaper, and it’s so depressing.

Second, imagine something even worse. Hint: it’s the media’s coverage of every scientific “controversy” you might think of. It takes a few of the tropes mentioned in the parody, like “shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist” and “quotes from some fringe special interest group of people who, though having no apparent understanding of the subject, help to give the impression that genuine public ‘controversy’ exists.” and “Special interest group linked to for balance” and expand those to fill the allotted space. There is no possibility that a journalist will actually examine the evidence and show which side is clearly bonkers.

For an example of this phenomenon in action, examine this article about a teacher in Modesto, Mark Ferrante, declaring that he will teach intelligent design in biology classes. It’s a moist sopping wallow in the so-called middle ground, getting quotes from teachers on both sides of the issue, and making special care to include a theist teacher mumbling platitudes about “Let science tell us what and how. Let religion tell us who and why.”

And of course, they go to the Discovery Institute for their story about ID, and set them against the NCSE, as if these two groups have an equal investment in the scientific truth. They do not. Intelligent Design has no credibility, no empirical support, and no reasonable proposals for scientific investigation. When will the media wake up and realize that their constant pushing of a false equivalency is a major factor in feeding this pseudo-controversy?

To top it all off, then they do something quite common that the media parody forgot to include: they included a poll. Of course they did, because that’s how you settle an issue in modern journalism…whatever view the majority holds must be true.

Should “intelligent design” be taught in public schools?

Yes, it should be taught in science classes 37%
Yes, but only in religion or culture classes, not in science 18%
No 44%

The school district is taking the correct route and has declared that ID will not be taught. Why can’t the local newspapers recognize reality?