For example, the New York Times has twice misrepresented the funding of the Ark attraction and has refused to print a retraction. These are purposeful and deliberate attempts to make us look bad. Of course, we expect this, and by now we know which media outlets are likely to be more honest and gracious and which ones will not be.
Well, Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times titled “The Evangelical Roots of Our Post-Truth Society.” This article basically blames evangelicals for “fake news” and the growing distrust of the mainstream media, using Christian writer Rachel Held Evans as an example of an insider that felt that was the case in her youth. In her article, Worthen unfavorably quotes AiG’s Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson. I asked Dr. Jeanson for his comments on her article and thought I would share them with you:
Molly Worthen was a gracious interviewer, but she ended up writing a piece that sounds not like an attempt to reason with those who disagree with her, but like a reflection penned for her most die-hard, non-creationist supporters. This is ironic for several reasons.
First, her article is critical of the distrust that creationists have of mainstream media. Is it any wonder that this distrust exists, when the mainstream media prints reflections like Worthen’s? It’s as if the NYT is deliberately writing for a die-hard, non-creationist audience. And then the NYT wonders why those outside of this die-hard, non-creationist camp distrust the NYT.
Second, Worthen embodies the accusations she levies against those she opposes. For example, she writes, “Dr. Jeanson calls himself a ‘presuppositionalist evidentialist’—which we might define as someone who accepts evidence when it happens to affirm his nonnegotiable presuppositions.” Do you wonder where Worthen got her definition of “presuppositional evidentialist”? Not from her interview with me. And definitely not from a careful study of my published papers. Instead, she created a definition that affirmed her nonnegotiable presuppositions. Had she taken more careful notes during our interview, read my papers, and generally tried to understand the creationist approach to science, she would have discovered evidence that rejects her definition.
For example, this fall I’m publishing a book that demonstrates how all of the existing biological evidence fits exactly what the creation model expects. During my interview with Worthen, I tried to walk her through these evidences. She wasn’t interested.
In addition, I have published testable, falsifiable predictions in the realm of genetics. During our interview, I also tried (unsuccessfully) to walk her through these data. Furthermore, I made predictions publicly and on camera at an event near her university several days before her essay went to press. Rather than explore and engage these facts, she picked and chose the evidences that fit her preconceived definition of “presuppositional evidentialist.” This is not open-minded journalism or research. Again, is it any wonder that creationists have a “deep distrust of the media”?
I am grateful for the opportunity to have engaged Worthen on these critical topics of our day. I found her to be kind and not the least bit condescending—an attitude for which I am thankful. However, I am disappointed by her shoddy journalism and poor research.
Comments from Dr. Jeanson also appeared in a recent article titled “Creationists Cheer Findings in Bear Genome Sequencing Project” from ChristianHeadlines.com. This is a fascinating article that treats Dr. Jeanson’s comments honestly and fairly. I encourage you to read it.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.