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Fox&Friends Interview “Intelligent Design” Spokesman To Critique Textbook Treatment Of Evolution – “Fair and Balanced” or Bizarro World?

Reported by Priscilla - May 7, 2009 -

It is a sad testament to the state of American education that only 39% of Americans believe in evolution. So it came as no surprise that Fox&Friends devoted their weekly “Trouble with Textbooks” (“Trouble” being “liberal bias”) to textbook “problems” with evolution; as the culturally conservative content of Fox&Friends would seem to indicate that their audience might not have a problem with the idea of dinosaurs and cavemen cavorting together. The title of the segment, “Evolution vs. Creationism, Debate Still Rages in U.S. Classrooms,” suggested that the heated controversy of the Scopes Trial is still “raging” – despite the preponderance of recent court and school board decisions which have been against the teaching of creationism in our public school system. But in an effort to repackage creationism, the Christian right is still pushing “Intelligent Design,” so it was no surprise that Fox&Friends had, as their guest, one of the current grand poobahs of Intelligent Design (ID), Casey Luskin, who claimed that evolution is not being taught correctly.

MENSA member Steve Doocy introduced the segment by commenting that “when the Texas Board of Education approved objections to evolution…the fight about how to teach evolution should have been over but the textbooks are still getting it wrong.” He then asked whether the power of the board to select textbooks should be stripped. He introduced his one and only guest (fair and balanced, as usual) Casey Luskin, of the Discovery Institutute whose organization, according to Doocy, was “heavily involved in the Texas case.” What Doocy didn’t say is that the Discovery Institute is the flagship for the “Intelligent Design” movment which pushes “ID” curriculums as an “alternative” to evolution. The Texas case, which Doocy didn’t explain, was an effort, on the part of social conservatives, to require teachers and textbooks to cover the “weaknesses” of evolution. While the creationists didn’t get all that they wanted, they did get compromise language requiring students to learn “all sides of scientific evidence.” Doocy said that the fight between creationism and Darwinism is “white hot” (Really, Steve and in what regressive area is that happening in?) and asked Luskin if it were correct that his (Luskin’s) “main problem” was that textbooks had just a “one sided look” at evolution. Luskin then made the unsubstantiated assertion, sure to get the pitchfork crowd riled up, that today’s textbooks “censor anything that challenges Darwin” and that “this isn’t about Creationism; but allowing the students to hear evidence that challenges evolution as well as that which supports it.” While Luskin discussed how textbooks are still using the flawed “Haekels Embroys,” the screen had an drawing of a blackboard with “Weird Science – most common and unchallenged errors” written over a short definition of the embroyos. Luskin then proceeded to tell us what’s wrong with this evolutionary theory that, according to Luskin, erroneously posits a common ancestor (oh, no!!!). Doocy said that during the break, Luskin told him that 100% of the science books get this wrong. Debunking of the ID Haekel’s argument found here and here. Doocy then claimed that there are “holes” in the Darwin “Tree of Life.” The blackboard, under “Weird Science,” had the statement that the Darwin “Tree of Life” claims that all living species are connected to a parent species” (OH, NO!!!). Luskin went on to debunk this “tree” and claimed that a recent article in New Scientist annihiliated the “Tree of Life” and that the texts present the “tree” as unadulterated fact. Luskin either misread the article or is misrepresenting it because the conclusion is that the Darwin’s simple tree is actually much more complex and still a basis for evolutionary theory. In summing it up, Doocy said to Luskin “you’re not taking a side” (ROFL!) …but you’re saying that if the textbooks are going to be teaching, get it right because everybody is getting it wrong.”

Comment: You just can’t make this stuff up. Once again, Fox&Friends presents a totally partisan view. At lest when Larry Schweikart spoke, he had real books as “evidence” of “errors.” Luskin made the claim, with no evidence, that 100% of the texts are wrong so I guess that makes it right! Luskin represents an intellectually flawed and religiously based movement (as shown during the Dover vs. Kitzmiller trial regarding ID in the classroom). If Fox were “fair and balanced,” a real scientist would have been present to refute the refuted arguments used by Mr. Luskin, who is an attorney (albeit with a Masters in Earth Science) and not a scientist and who is connected to right wing causes such as the anti-evolution Florida “academic freedom” bills. So contrary to what Doocy said, Luskin is definitely “taking a side” which is the debunking of evolution in favor of something that the Judge in the Dover case said is “not science.” But as Galileo found out, science does take a back seat to ideology and Fox News is the media “Magesterium” of right wing ideology!

P.S. I highly recommend the book, "Monkey Girl" by Edward Humes which is about the Dover "ID" trial.