With rare exceptions, atheists get the edge in media coverage over creationists.
Rare exception: In an unusually balanced story, AP reporter Dylan Lovan (see ABC News) covered a new Allosaur exhibit at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Sure, Bill Nye the Science Guy got his licks in about how unscientific it supposedly is to claim dinosaurs died in the Flood a few thousand years ago, but Nye and the evolutionists got 44 words compared to 72 by Ken Ham and the creationists, including the coveted first and last quotes. Each side’s beliefs were covered fairly, although Ham might quibble with the dichotomy of “Creation Museum” vs “scientists,” since there are scientists who believe in creation. By contrast, on Live Science, Miriam Kramer gave Bill Nye an open mike in an interview. It’s hard to imagine Live Science ever doing that for Ken Ham or any other prominent creationist.
Creationist obstructionists: Live Science is usually uninhibited about ridiculing creationists. Megan Gannon’s story, “South Carolina Gets State Fossil Despite Creationist Pushback,” a follow-up to her earlier (April 23) story, “Creationist Debate Stalls South Carolina State Fossil Bill,” talks about how certain lawmakers in the Palmetto State wanted to obstruct designation of the wooly mammoth as the state’s official fossil unless the declaration included (twice) stating that the Colmbian Mammoth was created on the Sixth Day. The original designation simply said, “The woolly mammoth is designated as the official state fossil of South Carolina.” The stories are misleading because (1) they portray evolutionists as tireless fighters against religious dogma, and (2) they assume most creationists would stand with the lawmakers. It’s hard to imagine leaders of any prominent creation organization insisting on that wording over a succinct declaration that doesn’t even discuss origins or ages.
Atheism’s fair shake: Opinions on The Conversation (usually atheistic and evolutionary) are often echoed on science sites, like PhysOrg and Science Daily. Rob Brooks, on the Conversation, spoke up for atheism, complaining that people often commit the “conjunction fallacy” by assuming atheists are more likely to be immoral than religious people. His proof, though, is based less on demonstrable bias than on a technical issue of logic in the way the question is framed in surveys. Brooks tries to argue that atheists are just as moral and virtuous as anyone else, as if atheists are having a hard time in the public arena. The question should not be so much about behavior as world view grounds for the behavior (see 5/05/14). If atheists think they are struggling, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council would beg to differ. The 2014 issue of its publication, “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” provides 42 pages of evidence, including court cases, that show powerful interest groups succeeding in ridding America of all religious influence.
Gods & ghosts: Another opinion piece on The Conversation by Steve Kelly (Strathclyde University) tries to argue that people believe in gods and ghosts (and, therefore, religion) because of unexpected counterintuitive experiences in everyday life. A Neanderthal man gazing into the sky begins the article. This argument is among the oldest attempts to explain the evolution of religion, so it is a bit strange finding someone arguing simplistically that the Bible, Moses and Jesus began their evolution when some cavemen heard a pebble fall in the back of a cave or witnessed a volcanic eruption without the aid of science. Does the website give a scholarly theologian like Al Mohler a chance to respond to these arguments? Never, that we have seen. Kelly did hedge his bets a little at the end, by admitting his argument assumes religious/supernatural experiences are not true. “If the human mind was to truly experience a god, then the theories of agency and mind and our memory for the counterintuitive would help us make sense of it,” he ends. “If that were to happen, the conclusions would not be in error at all.”
Cosmos: The end game: Anyone watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos can’t help but notice that the series, like its 1980 predecessor, portrays religion as a hindrance to scientific progress, and atheistic “science” as the promoter of wisdom, issuing in a glorious new universal secular faith. Evolution News & Views (from the non-religious ID think tank Discovery Institute) has a running commentary on the series, “Responding to Cosmos” (see here and here, for examples). David Klinghoffer, editor, gives evidence that schoolteachers plan to show the series to impressionable students for years to come. As for morality and virtue, Casey Luskin is flabbergasted that some philosophers justify the historical falsehoods (i.e., “lies”) in the series if they serve the greater good of defending the “authority of science” over religion.
The secularization of America is accelerating. While church attendance is strong, the people inside have less and less influence over education, law, and culture. Unless the tide turns, soon America will be as secular as Britain, the once-strong bastion of the Reformation. Church attendance in the UK and mainland Europe has plummeted under the onslaught of Darwin-only education. What religion remains is old, traditional, and soulless. Atheist regimes have a pretty ugly track record in human rights. When creationists hold conferences overseas, though, audiences wake up and regain excitement over a designed, meaningful world. They never heard that before!