Friday, February 20, 2009

Any Damn Thing Considered

I guess now that President Science himself is gone, NPR feels compelled to take up the slack and give as much airtime as possible to complete creationist BS dressed up as science. For a while it seemed that NPR was expelling some of this Intelligent Design sludge every year or so [e.g. May 2007 and April 2008], but - gad! - it's getting to be a weekly thing now [e.g. Feb. 13th and today]. I guess this is how Fair and Balanced NPR celebrates the centenary of Darwin's Origin of Species.

Today features Jon Hamilton presenting a typical "he said, she said" debate on Intelligent Design and the "problem of the mind." Now, those of us who actually use our minds are well aware that the mind is a complex and mysterious entity, and if you are a believer in God or a nonbeliever like me, hopefully if fills you with wonder and curiosity to know more. But if you are a creationist always angling for a way to present your bankrupt ideas (or a news organization wanting to promote creationists as legitimate skeptics) then the fact that "scientists don't know [exactly] how the brain causes the mind" is a golden opportunity. As Hamilton explains "here's where the Darwin doubters come in." He might as well have added that the doors to NPR studios are also where the Darwin doubters come in.

I don't have a problem with NPR covering the resurgence of creationism under its various guises - it's a sad and important phenomenon in our country. But to treat this warmed-over creationism again and again as legitimate scientific skepticism and to give it equal footing with the the scientific community is both irresponsible and misleading.

You just have to love the neurosurgeon creationist NPR turns to in this report. We are told he believes that "an intelligent designer that had a hand in producing not only the brain but all living things and certain features of the universe." According to Hamilton, this man believes that "without this designer, the brain would be just a meat computer made up of brain cells." Given the content of NPR of late, maybe he's got a point!

8 comments:

miranda said...

Thanks, mytwords, I heard this "report" last night, and it nearly put me off my dinner. Meat computer indeed!

Anonymous said...

Did anybody ask this guy, 'Who created the 'intelligence' of the intelligent designer?'

Anonymous said...

"Fair and Balanced NPR celebrates the centenary of Darwin's Origin of Species."

I think it would be accurate to say that NPR celebrates "The Origin of Feces", cuz that's what they seem to spew day in and day out.

All I can say is thank Dog Obama chose a team of legitimate scientific experts (including a Nobel Physics recipient) to advise him on scientific matters, rather than a mottley crew of right wing "Rapture Ready" religious fruitcakes like Bush had advising him.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

the brain would be just a meat computer made up of brain cells."

Is wrong, how, exactly?

And did you listen to BabsHag Saturday AM hagiographizing the "Xian Movie Awards?" She was nearly orgasmic...

Hubertg said...

Here we go again with empirical science against voo-doo intelligence and 3,000 year old fairy tales. Enough already. I am surprised that we don't have people in shredded animal skins dancing around open pit fires at night throwing dead virgins into the sacrificial flames.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know who originated the whole "journalism is about 'balance'" theme, which NPR is so enamored with.

My guess is it was someone at Yale or Harvard or one of the other Ivys.

It's a nutty idea, to be sure, but unfortunately one that has perverted -- and subverted -- journalism in this country.

Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I'd like to know who originated the whole "journalism is about 'balance'" theme, which NPR is so enamored with.

William Randolph Hearst originated the myth of 'objectivity,' of which the current excessive insistence upon "balance" is a scion.

Hearst invented 'objectivity' as a marketing tool to compete with Pulitzer's 'partisan' press...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Woody.

As I suspected there was an Ivy league connection to the idea of balance:

http://www.hearstcastle.org/history/william_r_hearst.asp

"Mr. Hearst continued his education at Harvard where he showed the first signs of becoming a future publishing tycoon. At Harvard, he excelled in journalism and acted as the business manager of the Harvard Lampoon. His election to the "Hasty Pudding" theatrical group revealed his talent and interest in drama."

Harvard Lampoon? Talent and interest in drama?

Fits right in with selling
"'objectivity' as a marketing tool to compete with Pulitzer's 'partisan' press"

My guess is that if news were less about drama and more about discovering the truth, it would be far more objective, though totally objective news is really an impossibility.