Is Creation Treated Fairly In The Media?
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
Answering this question has always been easy. Creation thinking receives very poor treatment, particularly from or in the national media. A possible exception occurred in late May when a two hour PBS special entitled "The Creation Controversy" was aired nationwide. It was hosted by Dr. Randall Balmer, professor of Religion at Columbia University. Refreshingly, the program interviewed a number of both creationists and evolutionists, allowing each side to make their points. ICR vice president Dr. Duane Gish explained the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record, and ICR Museum curator John Rajca gave a brief walk-through of the ICR Museum. Also interviewed was Dr. Philip Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, exposing evolution as a philosophy based on religious naturalism.
On the evolution side, Dr. Steven Gould of Harvard claimed overwhelming support for evolution. Dr. Eugenie Scott of the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education bemoaned the poor teaching of evolution which would allow creationism to flourish, and Dr. Leonard Krishtalka of the Carnegie Museum admitted evolution's basis in naturalistic presuppositions.
A thread woven throughout concerned the dreaded teaching of creation in public schools. While Balmer stated that parents should decide the school's curriculum, the others, to a large degree, denied parents that right, leaving content to the enlightened. How dare Christians attempt to influence public policy? Creationists were consistently portrayed as a fringe group within the religious right.
Many factual errors were present. Marine invertebrates were portrayed as "simple" creatures. Artificial selection and variation within a species were both essentially equated with macro-evolution. A false claim was made that the supreme court had ruled the teaching of creation illegal. Balmer's questions to the creationists typically probed what he felt were weak points, while evolutionists were asked to give their best arguments and to refute creation.
Several statements revealed evolution's weaknesses. Gould's three best arguments for evolution were: (1) the fact that small changes within species do take place, like DDT resistance in insects; (2) large-scale transitions are abundant in the fossil record, mentioning human evolution and whales from land animals (one might expect better examples from the leading expert on the fossil record): and (3) imperfections in living things, like the panda's thumb. He says that, if God did this, it was "a crummy job." Gould clearly relishes his elitist position as a shaper of American thought.
Dr. Scott made an amazing admission. Usually she claims her organization, an offshoot of the American Humanist Association, is interested in good science education, but in this program she admitted that it exists to fight creationism. She views her organization as the "David" doing battle with the "Goliath" of ICR.
As Dr. Krishtalka described his beliefs, he almost sounded like a creationist explaining the evils of evolutionary philosophy. To him, evolution means humans are nothing special. Morals are viewed as having evolved from animal behavior. Several times he asked the question why the Creator did it this way, even though evolutionists insist that science can't ask "why."
The makers of the program produced a fairly even-handed treatment. Actually, that's all the creationists ask. We want evolutionists to explain their views, for when they do, Americans will reject them. Thank you, Dr. Balmer.
*Dr. John Morris is the President of ICR.
Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1995. Is Creation Treated Fairly In The Media?. Acts & Facts. 24 (7).