One Mistake in the Media

The New York Review of Books features an article by Garry Wills, A Country Ruled by Faith, that provides a useful overview of just how pervasive some distinctly odd intermingling of faith and politics has become in the current administration.

However, there was a bit of a hiccup in the original article online:

The Discovery Institute claims that it is a scientific, not a religious, enterprise, but that claim was belied when one of its internal documents was discovered. It promised that the institute would “function as a wedge…[to] split the trunk [of materialism] at its weakest points” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” The institute is mainly funded with evangelical money, and its spokespersons are evangelicals—one, Philip Johnson, says he was inspired by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon to “devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

Of course, Phillip Johnson didn’t require Rev. Moon to tell him to consider devoting his life to politically advocate having science classrooms preach a narrow religious viewpoint to children. The ID creationist advocate who has spoken of his doing the bidding of Rev. Moon (the fellow who was crowned “King of Peace” in a ceremony attended by a dozen lawmakers or more in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, earlier this year) is actually Discovery Institute Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture Senior Fellow Jonathan Wells, as the revised text indicates:

The Discovery Institute claims that it is a scientific, not a religious, enterprise, but that claim was belied when one of its internal documents was discovered. It promised that the institute would “function as a wedge…[to] split the trunk [of materialism] at its weakest points” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” The institute is mainly funded with evangelical money, and its spokespersons are evangelicals—one, Jonathan Wells, says he was inspired by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon to “devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

What’s interesting about this is the lack of a display of public response on the part of the Discovery Institute’s “Evolution News and Views” blog, a place where otherwise the smallest and most picayune of errors — and supposed errors — of the media are given prominent and extensive coverage, with a big dollop of aggrieved indignation the usual topping. Did the DI decide that a public response would simply serve to highlight the fact that a Senior Fellow actually was a follower of Moon’s, though the article had confused the identity originally?

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Wesley R. Elsberry

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