Misrepresenting the numbers in the ID Debate
A week or so ago, several scientific associations that represent 70,000 scientists and science educators published a letter in Australian newspapers claiming that Intelligent Design is not science. Notice that no mention is made of actually getting those 70,000 people to agree to the letter. This is dubious in itself, as the 70,000 figure is then vague and it is possible for readers to conclude that everyone in the associations agree with the letter. No one has mentioned the assent of the entire membership to this letter.
The media have now taken it one step further and now openly assert that
More than 70,000 Australian scientists and science teachers this month criticised the infiltration into schools of intelligent design, saying that it was a belief, not a scientific theory.So now we have moved from vague and possibly misleading to completely misrepresenting the case.
Whilst some credit must be given to the Syndey Morning Herald as it took them over a week to misrepresent the letter, other media organisations got it wrong from the start, such as The Guardian
while more than 70,000 Australian scientists endorsed an open letter condemning ID as "unscientific", and calling on schools to ban it from their classrooms.News.com.au fairs a little better, but still makes it sound very much like all 70,000 scientists and educators endorsed the letter with
A coalition of more than 70,000 Australian scientists has rejected the theory as scientifically untested, suggesting it is instead aimed at debunking the theory of evolution and lacks any credible evidence of its own.And the ABC couldn't wait to misrepresent the letter
In an open letter published in today's major papers, more than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators have condemned the teaching of intelligent design in school science classes.All in all, I shouldn't be suprised. Not only are the media masters of getting it wrong, but one of the signers of the letter, the Australian Academy of science, also makes obviously incorrect statements on the subject of Evolution/Creation/Intelligent Design to support their case.
The explanatory power of the theory of evolution has been recognised, however, by all biologists, and their work has expanded and developed it.Wow....ALL biologists. I guess they didn't ask Dr J Marcus or Dr Ian MacReadie. I am sure there are plenty more as well. I know of a few personally who prefer not to make it public that they think Common Descent Evolution is hogwash.
So why do they feel the need to exaggerate their claims? Is there position so weak that the truth isn't strong enough to convince people?
The bold pronouncements continue to happen, as the second AAS letter states "The theory [of evolution] has attracted enormous empirical testing and remains one of the most powerful of scientific ideas." Yet it seems according to an article in 'The Scientist that this idea contributes little to biology and many scientists don't need or rely on this 'powerful' idea. Could it be that the AAS is overstating its case again?
Why do they continue to exaggerate? It hardly seems like something an objective scientist would do.