What the muck? Evolution again in World Magazine’s crosshairs

Photo by Petr Brož, via Wikimedia Commons.

November 19, 2014

I still remember my high school history teacher, Mrs. Gibson, and her unit on the muckrakers — a term initially intended perjoratively but later worn with pride, used to describe reform-minded journalists whose in-depth investigative reporting throughout history has exposed all manner of societal ills, corruption and abuses of power.

It was what made me want to become a journalist myself. And though the daily realities of both community and top-level journalism have dulled the romantic ideals I once held, I’m still keenly interested in the few remaining investigative journalists out there who just might have made their muckraking predecessors proud.

I was surprised, then, and not altogether pleased to see a recent story in The New York Times, “A Muckraking Magazine Creates a Stir Among Evangelical Christians.” The “muckraking magazine” in question is World, an evangelical news outlet that — while it admittedly does more actual journalism than just about any other explicitly Christian organization I’ve ever seen (not that that’s saying a lot) — bothers me because it and its editorial staff has a serious, majorly huge and rather obvious chip on their shoulder when it comes to the subject of evolution.

That is to say, they absolutely hate it. They demonstrated this last year, when they published John Hultink’s laughably feeble, bumbling and fallacy-strewn exercise in playground one-upmanship as a “lead story” and described it (in an email to me) as a “civil, generous, and thoughtful discussion.” Which is sort of the equivalent of hailing the nonsensical conspiracy theory-loaded hack job “Zeitgeist” as “reserved, fair-minded and painstakingly well-researched.”
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18 responses

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    ‘Ken Ham and his followers lead more people away from Jesus than any atheists I know of’

    November 7, 2014

    21 responses

    There was a comment posted on our Facebook page this morning that was so insightful, and so in keeping with yesterday’s article, that I wanted to make sure all of you had a chance to see it.

    Here it is (with some bold font for emphasis added by me, since Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook apparently don’t know what bold font is):

    All I keep hearing from the Ham-Camp is that our kids are becoming atheists due to evolution. NOT SO!!! Kids turn away from their faith when they are forced to choose between evolution or Ham’s theory of faith. It’s ridiculous!

    I grew up believing evolution and that God had chosen this method for life. It never once conflicted with my faith. Then my husband and I attended an AIG church that had me shaking in my boots that I had somehow missed something so huge and was probably never even a believer because of it. I’m so glad we are away from that.
    Read on

  • The author of "The End of Faith" has got nothing on Ken Ham (photo via Wikimedia Commons).

    What Ken Ham doesn’t want you to know about his “gospel”

    November 5, 2014

    105 responses

    As you know, Ken Ham loves to respond to people.

    Of course, when I say “respond,” I mean “pull a few quotes out of context as an opportunity to trot out the same two or three tired arguments he has been using for years.” Which is sort of like calling the pre-recorded catchphrases of a Chatty Cathy doll a “response” simply because they occur as the result of human activity (in the case of Chatty Cathy, the pulling of a string; in Ham’s case, the public expression of any opinion with which he disagrees).

    And when I say “people,” I mean “anyone to whom Ham is philosophically opposed, but particularly scientists, atheists, agnostics, Catholics, writers and Christians who have the audacity to follow the lead of most all legitimate theologians and Bible scholars in reading Genesis as theology and metaphor rather than literal history.”

    Yeah. Ken Ham has a lot of enemies. Read on

  • The media proves once again that it's basically clueless when it comes to science and religion (photo by PaoNu, via Flickr).

    The only news story worth reading about Pope Francis’ views on evolution

    October 29, 2014

    24 responses

    If you’ve been anywhere near Facebook the past couple days, then you know that Pope Francis has shaken the stuffy old Roman Catholic Church to its core by his stunning remarks recently that — believe it or not — evolution and the big bang theory are not inconsistent with church teachings.

    No. WAY. Right?

    Except, no.

    While it’s true Francis did say that, and more, it’s absolutely not true that this is some kind of watershed moment for Catholicism. Because, you see, since at least 1950, when the Humani Generis was issued by Pope Pius XII, the Holy See’s official stance has been that the idea of the physical bodies of mankind originating from pre-existing, ancestral forms through a natural process guided by God (i.e., theistic evolution) is compatible with the Bible and church tradition. This view was explicitly confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1996, speaking before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (the same body to which Francis addressed his comments that almost broke the Internet). Read on