A Media Bias Sampler
Support for conservatism in secular science media is as rare as a true transitional form in the fossil record.
Whenever mainstream journals or leading science news sites touch on political or philosophical issues, the slant is predictable. Conservative positions will be discredited, explained away, or mocked—that is, if they are mentioned at all. Recent examples below.
Three cheers for atheism. On Live Science, Clara Moskowitz gives a pulpit to atheist Sean Carroll of Caltech to explain his views on meaning in nature in a “Godless Universe,” helping him sell his new book on cosmological naturalism, The Big Picture, in the process. Barry Loewer also gives Carroll good press at Science Magazine. “He sets out to show how various phenomena, including thought, choice, conscioussness, and value, hang together with the scientific account of reality that has been developed in physics in the past 100 years,” Loewer swoons. “He attempts to do all this without relying on specialized jargon from philosophy and physics, and succeeds spectacularly in achieving both aims.”
Whitewashing history: Sigmund Freud has a largely bad reputation in science. He invented words and concepts that have not stood the test of time; his methods were unscientific if not fraudulent; and his practice of “psychoanalysis” abused women by calling them “hysterical” as if that diagnosis had any meaning. Nevertheless, perhaps because he was a staunch follower of Darwin, he got kid gloves treatment in Live Science by Alina Bradford, who only mentioned that his ideas are “controversial.” She gives the last word to a Freudian.
Obamacare: Watch a conservative video about six broken promises of Obamacare. Then read a Medical Xpress report claiming that doctors want more of it. One group of doctors wants to take this system, built on lies and promises that didn’t come true, and extend it into a single-payer system managed by government (i.e., socialized medicine)—something conservatives warned was the ulterior motive from the start. The article quotes an editorial by one side but no rebuttal from any conservative leader. The article mentions socialist Bernie Sanders favorably.
Toying with embryos: Now that researchers kept a human embryo alive in a petri dish for 13 days, secular scientists want to extend the internationally-accepted limit of 14 days. Nature is leading the charge with “Revisit the 14-day rule.” In another Nature piece, David Cyranoski points out that “Stem-cell scientists attempt to fend off the need for government regulation that could impede research.” Scientists want to regulate themselves, but ethics gets short shrift.
Assisted suicide: Is California ready for physician-assisted suicide? Medical Xpress calmly discusses the new law about to go into effect June 9. The focus of the article is allaying fears that the law might be misused. At Evolution News & Views, however, Wesley J. Smith, speaking from long experience, warns that “the culture of death brooks no dissent.”
Spanking: Views on corporal punishment of children differ among conservatives, but one can be sure liberals will always portray it as child abuse, no matter what Solomon said about discipline with the rod. Science Daily‘s coverage is a case in point: “Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research.” Who did the research? Evolutionary psychologists.
Reductionist values: What is love? Just a chemical reaction with survival value brought about by natural selection, say evolutionists. Human love differs only in amount, not in kind, perhaps. That’s the view promulgated on The Conversation by evolutionary psychologist Gayle Brewer, whose headline postures her as an authority figure: “What is love? Here’s the science.” It’s not a many-splendored thing in her view. She enters her just-so story trance: “Romantic love may serve an important evolutionary function, for example by increasing the level of parental support available to subsequent children.”
In considering leftist viewpoints, it’s important to look back at where they led in history. National Geographic published “long-hidden photos of China’s Cultural Revolution” taken by a brave photographer.
Photographer Li Zhensheng had a unique view of China’s Cultural Revolution—a chaotic period of purging and punishment that began on May 16, 1966, and lasted in different phases until Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong’s death 10 years later.
Li was working for a newspaper in Heilongjiang Province at the time, and the job allowed him to take state-approved pictures of Mao’s campaign without fear of harassment. He later hid the negatives under his floorboards in case government officials ever came looking for him.
And they did. In 1968, the government accused him of “counterrevolutionary” activities and raided his apartment.
If officials had found the negatives, they likely would have destroyed them. But the images remained hidden under the floorboards, and Li continued to protect them through the years. Today, his remarkable photos have toured the world and been published in a book.
Here, we present mosaics of Li’s images, which show the incredible scale of the Cultural Revolution.
The photos are haunting: peasants en masse paying homage to the powerful image of Mao, hoping for an improvement in their poverty, while knowing that failing to show enthusiastic support could mean imprisonment or death. One caption quietly mentions, “Millions of people were killed, injured, or imprisoned during the revolution” — 77 million, to be precise (see 11/30/05).
Nazism is sometimes portrayed as right-wing, but in actuality, Hitler’s big-government, totalitarian state had more in common with communist dictatorships than with anything resembling American values (capitalism, liberty, natural rights and limited government). Stephanie Pappas at Live Science continues that distortion in her piece on “How Adolf Hitler Rose to Power and Seduced Germany.” She also fails to mention his devotion to Darwin, which historian Richard Weikart has documented in detail. Instead of focusing on the ideas that motivated him, Pappas portrays him as an obscure person whose rise to power was almost determined by political circumstances. What he did to millions of people, though, is a matter of historical record. Hitler is the epitome of evil to the modern western mind. You won’t find the word in her article.
If you can provide examples of secular scientists promoting conservative values, we’ll be happy to share them. The exceptions prove the rule: week after week, we find secular news services portraying scientists and their reporters as objective truth seekers, but it’s only a mask for leftist ideology. Darwin leads to denial of God (and objective moral standards). That leads to materialism, atheism, moral relativism, leftism, utopianism, oppressive government, and ultimately, to serfdom and even democide.
If one believes we are made in the image of God, endowed with unalienable rights, accountable to a Creator, with a purpose on earth to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, yet knows we are each fallen and in need of redemption, the difference in worldview could hardly be more opposite. A steady diet of mainstream media can lead to a highly distorted view of the world.
Thank goodness the internet has opened up channels for news and views censored by the mainstream media. Here are a couple of daily podcasts we can recommend: ID the Future from the Discovery Institute, Washington Watch from the Family Research Council, The Briefing by Al Mohler. I listen to these on my daily health walks. For conservative news, you might check out WND and Breitbart News.