I think it's more interesting the way creation vs evolution is handled in movies and novels. My impression is that on the whole Hollywood is on the side of the creationists. Evolution is mostly associated with extreme violence, criminality, meaninglessness, purposelessness, immorality, chaos etc. Creation is associated with God, marriage, family, order, peace, love, purpose etc.
Survival seems to be a more common theme in movies nowadays, which is closely associate to darwinism, which often get's a mention. There seems to be less emotionality / stupidity of characters as before in those kinds of survival movies, when they're faced with lifethreatening danger, which is a shame. The focus is more on clever people how to technically survive, and also on teamwork a lot. See the difference between the Towering Inferno, and a modern survival movie like Deep Impact. In the Towering Inferno it is much exaggerated manly man, and womanly woman, and in Deep Impact it is more about a bunch of nerds really.
It would be fun to have some actual quotes of evolution and creation in movies. I remember the X-men, Fight Club ofhand as talking about evolution, selection. A novel that vaguely talks about evolution vs creation is "survival of the fittest" by Jonathan Kellerman. A threatened boy more or less chooses between religion and science, and chooses science. There's also a short history of eugenics especially as it relates to psychology in that novel.
So if Hollywood at all promotes evolution, it strikes me as unnatural and teachery ("survival of the fittest",Kellerman), or alternative (Fight Club, X-men). But they don't seem to promote evolution as mainstream, or standard. It is of course impossible when you have a book like "the selfish gene",Dawkins widely circulating among creative people, to have evolution theory be associated with anything good in a Hollywood movie.
I watched a ABC Nightline show a couple of weeks ago about the Dover, Penn evolution controversey. The story seemed pretty even handed. It seemed to focus on the mean spiritedness of both sides( a creationist schoolboard member asking a science teacher if he had ever been accused of child abuse; the ACLU threating to shut down the school district with a costly lawsuit, etc).
The main weakness to me was that little time was spent on any arguments for or agaist, and precious little science invoked on either account. But all in all it was valuable to see the current spin on the emotions stirred up.
It also seems that we only see such shows or see letters to the editor during the slowest news cycles. I rarely see any evo/creo articles in any format during the months leading up to elections.
As a last point it was mildly amusing to see that rural Pennsylvania has some similar viewpoints as the usual southern historical bastions of creationist thinking.
The most glaring error I see in media coverage is a misunderstanding of the word 'theory'. A law enforcement definition seems to be preferred to a scientific definition, and this error is seldom pointed out.Keep America Safe AND Free!
The most common accusation that I encounter against media portrayal of the issue is that it doesn't present the so-called "scientific arguments" against evolution or for alternative theories such as intelligent design. For example, when National Geographic came out with a feature article last November titled "Was Darwin wrong?", I checked out the forum hosted by the NG website. I repeatedly came across posts from creationist readers who were outraged to find National Geographic to be so heavily biased in support of creationism. A good example is the most recent post (at the time of this writing):
quote: I am amazed at how quickly this forum got off the topic of "Was Darwin Wrong".
I was disappointed that this article was so biased in its support of Darwinism. It's not just the American populace who have trouble accepting evolutionism. Many evolutionists & former evolutionists are recognizing big problems with the theory - for instance Michael Denton. Evolution is far from being universally accepted by scientists. There was no mention in the article about the question of how life originated in the first place. Science doesn't have a clue, much less a theory. There was also no recognition of the fact that many respected scientists are now leaning toward Intelligent Design.
Even the famous atheist Anthony Flew has concluded that life could not have originated by chance or naturalistic means.
What's apparent, especially to readers who really do know what evolutionary theory is about, is that there isn't any unfairness in the media. Rather, there's just a perceived bias because of the unfortunate ignorance that so many fundamentalist christians/creationists have regarding regarding true scientific opinion on these matters. This is due in large part, no doubt, to the ID propaganda mill.
There is an idea that modern news reporting contyains a major methodological flaw. And this lies in the doctrine of "balance"; that is, when you present an idea you must also present a contrary idea. Unfortunately, this means thats the weight of evidence for the two ideas appears to be the same - they appear to stand on equal footing, even if they do not.
Christinaity is also possessed of a massive persecution complex, and combined with the above I think you can see a pernicious feedback loop in which the persectuion complex is aggravated by apparent "balance", which appears to validate its position.
"Anyone who doubts this is a religious issue need only spend a little time here watching the less experienced Creationists talk about God and the Bible in threads that are strictly about science."
This is the real crux of the debate. It is a God issue. Evolution requires a staggering amount of faith, moreso than creationism in my opinion, and since God alone, or nobody if you are an atheist, was present "in the beginning," neither side will be able to "scientifically" prove their assertion. It is from this viewpoint that I am contemplating the practicality of participating in these discussions. It really is a God issue.
I imagine that I will be criticized for the following unsupported statements, but please permit me a few cursory observations regarding this site:
1. Horizontal variation within a genotype is quite a different thing than vertical evolution. Genetic mutation leading to increasingly complex processes/organizations is illogical and "unscientific." While being overly simplistic, reading about the assertion that taking 200 steps backward (negative result of a mutation/Devolution) and one step forward (some perceived "beneficial" mutation/evolution) has resulted in intelligent life from a primordial soup is outright comical, except for the fact that it has so many proselytes.
2. When you boil evolution down to its quintessence, all you really have is spontaneous generation standing upon some magical amount of time that is "theorized" to overturn everything that current, repeatable, observable, scientific inquiry tells us - life does not come from non-life, or for that matter something from nothing, which would by definition speak of a First Cause, but I digress.
3. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. It's a bit late, so I'm not going to elaborate. A rudimentary understanding of physics, I hope, will render this citation self-evident.
I apologize in advance if this post is a bit off topic and out of place.
This message has been edited by Admin, 02-06-2005 09:17 AM
Science has a much tougher row to hoe than Creationism. To recruit a new Creationist needs only ignorance, while science requires a willingness to work and study for years.
Well said. In essence, you point out that the current challenges to evolutionary theory reflect a greater challenge facing our society (in this case, specifically American society) the challenge of educating our masses. Religion doesn't seem to help much in this regard...
I heard about this when it happened. It appeared on several popular blogs. I've never paid a lot of attention to Dobbs, although if you ever watch him at all it's hard to escape the idea that sometimes his thinking can be a bit provincial (look for transcripts of his shows where a major topics was immigration, there've been lots of such shows).
The only cable news show I watch with fair regularity is Keith Olbermann's Countdown. I give MSNBC considerable credit for having that show on the air. Olbermann can be silly at times, but he's the only cable news talking head (at least that I'm aware of) who's been brave enough to openly ridicule creationism.
Speaking of MSNBC, they've been devoting more attention to the evo v creo debate than the other networks. There's a whole section of their website devoted to it (I linked to it a couple weeks ago in the 'Favorite Websites' thread). Here's an interesting article that was added just today. It talks about the struggle some creationist kids go through, since many of them seem to understand the concept of what is and is not science, but who come from families where there is overwhelming pressure to disavow evolution.
I have watched Lou Dobbs every once and a while and noticed that he is an opportunist based on public opinion poles. Even when he "looks" like he is opposing something, like CAFTA, he is actually following along the lines of public opinion. He is a shill for the ignorant masses. He obviously has no scientific training. I thought, though, that Ruse didn't do much with the short amount of time he had. I think that is one of the problems with this debate in the public media--it is a battle of sound-bites. Try summarizing evolution, natural selection, etc. in a two minute sound bite. Most of these explanations require more info than available in even an hour-long show. All the opposition does is the Rove tactic of distorting a point and then repeating it over and over again as fact. An uncritical, or overly "fair and balanced", media is not doing its job as a watchdog of bad ideas or policy.