Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Discovery Institute accuses PBS of airing false facts

Transcript of today's show:

A day after PBS aired a documentary on the court trial that indicted intelligent design as "creationism in disguise", advocates of the theory are crying foul play. [See our previous show]. A report published on the web claims that the documentary contains at least ten blatant misrepresentations. The report, which offers detailed rebuttals to the false information, calls the film nothing more than "inaccurate propaganda".
[source: The Discovery Institute]

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from the blog WindowView Press:

Public Broadcasting (PBS) on November 13, 2007, aired their best shot at dogmatizing evolution in the name of countering the concept of Intelligent Design (ID). The television show is based on the Kitzmiller versus the Dover Board of Education trial that was concluded by the decision written by Judge Jones in 2005. The trial is over, the debate is just beginning. NOVA, in the episode entitled “Judgement Day - Intelligent Design On Trial” shows examples of evolution without critique, but in cases where examples of ID are illustrated, the show adds a negative or a rebuttal spin. As a scientist with a doctorate, as the author of this piece you are now reading, I’ve learned to be more the detective, more discerning, than what PBS has done with their programming. If I were to give ID a chance to be known for what it is, I’d engage in a more objective review. Which NOVA did not do … to the detriment of us all.... [more]

from Pharyngula, the blog of biologist PZ Myers:

[The Discovery Institute's rebuttal] misses the point of the program entirely. If you've seen it, think back. What was the story it told? It has two parts. First, it made the case that Intelligent Design is not science…. Second, it showed that Intelligent Design is religion in disguise…. These are the premises that were tested in the court case, and these were the ideas illustrated in the documentary. The Discovery Institute "rebuttal" doesn't even touch these issues; their objections don't address the thrust of the court decision, which was accurately portrayed. The story is very simple, and this is all we need to say: Intelligent Design is not science, and Intelligent Design is a religious idea. That's the message, and that's the decision of a major court case, and that's what the scientists have been saying for years. And now, in the desperate gasp of the creationists, they've failed to even touch these conclusions.

from the blog Uncommon Ground:

P.Z. Myers points out that the Discovery Institute has its predictable “rebuttal” of Judgment Day. Their eight-point rebuttal is, as he says, picking nits. But I think he's wrong about it missing the point of the program entirely.

Basically, the Discovery Institute's Center [for Science and Culture] was in the business of marketing--not research. It had a product to sell - intelligent design -- and was focused on doing whatever it could to sell that idea. (Conservatism's Unintelligent Design, Greg Anrig, Jr.)

The Discovery Institute's “rebuttal” isn't intended to rebut the arguments against intelligent design. It's intended to rebut arguments that they aren't very good at marketing. They aren't in the business of doing science. They're in the business of marketing, and they're trying to protect their business – ineffectively.... [more]

from a comment posted on the blog Darwinian Fundamentalism:
John Stuart Mill had some very good advice for evaluating arguments:

"He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion…. Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty. ... So essential is this discipline to a real understanding of moral and human subjects, that if opponents of all important truths do not exist, it is indispensable to imagine them and supply them with the strongest arguments which the most skillful devil's advocate can conjure up."