YOUR Curmudgeon once again brings you the view from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. They have a fascinating new article at their website: How To Interpret Science News. Considering the concerns of the intended audience, it begins quite reasonably:
More than ever, it seems newspapers and magazines are filled with reports that “confirm” evolution, extol Charles Darwin, and make a mockery of the Bible. For example, one recent news report declared, “Researchers say proof of this transitional species finally confirms Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.” What are Christians supposed to think amid the onslaught of science reports that seem to contradict the Bible?
Fine, but where does the article go from there? We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added for emphasis. Here we go:
In order to understand and take good note of the news, Christians must learn to think critically, deconstructing the news we read and watch and submitting it to biblical analysis. We must understand the presuppositions embedded in headlines, reports, and journalists and determine what we’re really looking at.
“Biblical analysis” is fine for theologians, but it isn’t part of the scientific enterprise. However, let’s read on:
The outline of principles below will help you remember what questions to ask when encountering a news report that originates from an anti-biblical worldview.
We sense a bit of anti-science attitude here, but we’ll continue:
This valuable skill will become second nature as you train yourself by repeatedly analyzing the news according to these principles. There’s no need to worry that a news report someday will “disprove” the Bible!
What we have here, dear reader, is a survival guide for creationists as they wander through the news about science. There are nine separate bulleted points, but we’ll just give you a few. The introductory question for each point is bolded in the original:
What am I reading? Not all “articles” are created equally. The degree of subjectivity will likely be much higher in a blog entry, an opinion column, an editorial, or a press release. And while well-written, well-researched, objective articles do exist, it’s a dangerous mistake to assume every article is “fair and balanced.”
That sounds reasonable. Moving along:
Who is behind the news? Sometimes, the author of an article and the news organization that published it reveal a lot about bias, too. Many news sources have either hidden or intentional biases (such as partisan newspapers). Even subconscious and unintentional bias can play a role, such as when a journalist decides who to speak with to get “both” sides of a usually many-sided story.
It’s always good to be aware of bias. In fact, that’s such good advice that we’re going to apply it to the very article we’re now reading. Here’s another excerpt:
What are the basic interpretations? After the facts are in, scientists must begin to infer and induce conclusions based on various assumptions. Often these inferences are based on reasonable assumptions, but every now and then scientists will (usually unwittingly) take a leap in logic from the get-go because of their predetermined biases and expected conclusions.
We are given yet another warning that we must be alert to bias. We’ll certainly keep that in mind. On with the article:
What is left after un-spinning the story? After sorting through sensational headlines and assumption-riddled speculations, the question is how the find fits into the creation model. A ready awareness of up-to-date creation research and ideas in fields like geology, paleontology, biology, anthropology, and astronomy is important.
Up-to-date creation research? Now there’s a novel idea. Anyway, let’s get to their final point:
What does God say? It may take innovative thinking to understand how a discovery fits with creation models. That’s why we must remember that God laughs at what may look to us, temporarily, as a “contradiction” between the Bible and science. Don’t lose faith today for what will be explained tomorrow — sometimes even as a hoax, such as Piltdown Man. Remember that, “By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field . . . can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record . . . evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information”.
[That quote is from the AiG Statement of Faith.]
Now that you are fortified with the proper reading methods, go forth and read the news of scientific discoveries — free of bias.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.