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Phillip E. Johnson on Journalistic Narratives

The Wedge of Truth (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), pp. 73-4.

The creation-evolution controversy is one of those subjects that has become standardized in the press. I sometimes have the impression that journalists just click on a “bash creationism” macro in their word processors and sit back while the printer pours out a string of cliches: the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo, the Scopes trial in 1925 should have settled this matter, the Bible is not a scientific textbook, scientists agree that “evolution has occurred,” mainstream religious leaders say that God and evolution are compatible, and the country will fall into ruin if evolution is not emphasized in the schools. Even the feeble witticisms are standardized, as columnists either exploit the irony that “creationism is evolving” or speculate that the next creationist move will be to declare the earth flat, while the editorial cartoonists caricature opponents of Darwinism as apemen. The journalistic macro learned what little it knows about the subject from polemics by scientific materialists like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, who are accepted by journalists as impartial authorities because they speak in the name of “science.” So the macro defines creationists as Bible thumpers who either are ignorant of the scientific evidence that contradicts their position or choose to disregard it. From that starting point it is inconceivable that creationists could have any rational arguments to make, and you can cite just about anything you like, from fossils to finch beaks to pesticide resistance, to make them look like people blind to facts. There is no need to try to understand the dissenting point of view because according to the macro all doubts about evolution are irrational by definition.