The British magazine New Scientist joins a long parade of secular media outlets that have been recently blasting creationists and the view of special creation. (See our past articles section for examples of major magazines, newspapers, and TV programs that have attacked creationists, e.g., NY Times, London Times, BBC.)
From its tabloidish headline (“Burning Darwin—Start Worrying Now”) to its inaccurate articles (e.g., writing that Kansas has removed evolution from its science curriculum), the special edition of New Scientist (April 22, 2000) featured many alarmist articles on the resurgence of the creation movement around the globe.
In the beginning of the magazine, an editorial bemoaned the creationist revival and the failure of evolution to completely take hold in Western society (especially in America and Canada). In sounding the alarm, the magazine created a straw man: falsely stating that the state board of education in Kansas last year deleted evolution from the state’s curriculum guidelines and put creationism into the science classroom. AiG has read the entire standards approved by the state board last August,and found the word “evolution” used in a few sections; futhermore there are no references to creation, the Flood, the Bible, Genesis, etc. at all!
The magazine—in at least two instances—claimed that creationists believe that all the fossils in the ground today are the result of Noah’s Flood. That’s not true. Creationists would say that most of the fossils resulted from the catastrophic deluge of Noah’s time, but that fossil formation has also occurred due to local and regional flooding since the worldwide Flood.
The New Scientist editorial also claimed that creationists believe that “perhaps God designed the fossil record to make it look as though evolution had happened.” This is another straw man—AiG knows of no creation scientist or Bible scholar who would hold that position. Nevertheless,the editorial bizarrely claims that this idea is “attracting growing support.”
One of the authors declared that the reason creationism is still strong in the United States (Gallup polls report that almost one half of Americans believe in creation, and that it occurred less than 10,000 years ago—which essentially is the biblical model) is that Americans have “misgivings about science.” This echoes the ongoing charge of many evolutionists that creationists are “anti-science.” Actually, there are thousands of scientists practicing worldwide who reject evolution and believe in Genesis creation. In the United States alone, there are many hundreds of members of the Creation Research Society with advanced degrees in science.
AiG is very definitely pro-science. We acknowledge the wonderful technologies and inventions that have been produced in the past few decades. However, these breakthroughs have been achieved in our modern-day world through experimentation and testing—the question of origins, on the other hand, is outside the domain of directly testable science because it occurred in the unobservable past.
It should also be pointed out that AiG publishes a science publication called TJ, which features articles by highly qualified scientists, and contains even more scientifically deep articles than the more layperson-oriented New Scientist.
Where’s the science in New Scientist?
Natural selection in and of itself can not produce new information.One of the New Scientist authors remarkably claimed that natural selection can add new information to the existing genetic code of an organism. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), this writer did not cite one example! Natural selection either preserves or deletes genetic information—evolution requires increased information for animals to change one to another (e.g., for a dinosaur to become a bird requires scales turning into feathers). Natural selection in and of itself can not produce new information.
One of the meager bits of evidence that another New Scientist writer brought forward for evolution was that “a single species of bacteria will evolve into different variants.” Actually, no new genetic information has been added to the bacterium that could transform it into a different organism (see our Q&A: Mutations section for details). Interestingly, with all the thousands of words devoted to creation/evolution in this special edition, New Scientist magazine hardly presented any of the so-called “evidence” for macro-evolution(e.g., transitional fossils). It was devoted more to caricaturing and misrepresenting the views of creationists.
Also, the magazine’s editorial lamely presented the hackneyed analogy that a “belief in the Bible’s version of creation resembles the 300-year-old dogma that the sun revolved around the Earth.” This is a frequent apples/oranges comparison employed by evolutionists. You see, we can know—through observation—that the sun is the center of our planetary system, whereas the question of origins is outside observational and testable science (i.e., there were no human witnesses to the origins of living things).
There was one somewhat balanced commentary in New Scientist, submitted by evolutionist Bryan Appleyard. He expressed a healthy skepticism of many of the claims made by evolutionary scientists, writing that some of these scientists possess their own “inflexible fundamentalism.”
Some of the articles portrayed creationists as combative, with even one Australian scientist who claimed to have received “death threats” for his efforts to undermine creation. In one article entitled “Fighting Talk,” there is a photo of a man in a crowd gesturing and arguing with another man, with the caption posing the question: “What’s it like going into battle against creationists?” Actually, the photo is obviously a “stock” shot (of what appears to be a group of gesticulating men standing in front of an Italian cathedral —and they are probably not even arguing about creation versus evolution at all!). Nevertheless, this photo, which takes up two-thirds of the page,attempted to feed the stereotype that Christians are combative and try to push their views on others.
One of America’s leading anti-creationists, Dr. Eugenie Scott, director of the anti-creationist National Center for Science Education, was quoted to say that evolutionary scientists should refuse formal debates with creationists because these events do “more harm than good.” The magazine cover’s alarming cry, therefore, that evolutionary scientists should “start worrying now” is apparently an alarm that has come too late for Ms. Scott.
AiG expects that many more secular publications (and broadcasts) will increase their coverage of the creation/evolution debate. As AiG sees a dramatic rise in the number of visitors to its website (about 7,500 visitors a day), an increase in speaking invitations, and an already huge interest in its proposed Creation Museum near Cincinnati (within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population), perhaps the evolutionists are right to worry: their worldview is not being embraced by millions in the Western world, even after decades of evolutionary indoctrination in public schools and the media.