Media Interaction

I was in a three-minute spot on the KRON 4 TV morning show with Phil Matier today. Nick Matzke was on the Channel 2 show, as local TV found the Dover, PA decision of interest.

Matier’s spots are taken on location at the Buttercup Kitchen Restaurant in downtown Oakland. The setup is, as Matier explained, as if the TV camera places the viewer in the midst of a series of over-coffee conversations. I arrived in time to see Matier’s broadcast with the previous guest, who if I remember correctly was a state senator.

The chair I was to sit in was to be taken as being in a fixed position, according to the cameraman. After taking my seat and having a lapel microphone attached, Matier asked for my name and affiliation in order to get them right. I had tried to get Matier to read a York Daily Record editorial as a primer for conversation, but I guess that there was too little time for that. I had on hand the editorial, a printout of Judge Jones’ decision, and a copy of Of Pandas and People.

I’m trying to recall just what the content of the three-minute spot was. Matier started with an introduction, saying that he was pleased to have “Wesley Esselberry” from the National Center for Science Education with him to talk about evolution and creation. He asked about how “intelligent design” could be controversial, since Albert Einstein believed in it. I explained that the content of Einstein’s belief was a separate and distinct thing from what “intelligent design” advocates are pushing. Matier showed the 139-page decision to the camera, and asked about what the judge had said in it. I explained that Judge Jones found several things, including that the district’s policy failed the endorsement test, both purpose and effect prongs of the Lemon test, that “intelligent design” was not science, that “intelligent design” was just another label for the content of creationism, and that evolution was compatible with belief in a divine creator. Matier showed the book Of Pandas and People and I discussed the presence of the book in the school library and how the policy worked, which was to tell students that “intelligent design” was an alternative to Darwin’s views and that they could learn more about it by reading this book that was available in the library. I explained about how the book started as a creationist text, retained the same content, but changed what it was called. Somewhere about then my three minutes were up.

I did get a call at work as a result of the spot, as a producer for a radio show asked to have me on it a bit later that day. That fell through, as the producer explained that the host felt uncomfortable with her knowledge of the topic and had decided to move on to something else.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.