Just a few gentle corrections here

Here is a story about a Florida man heading to the Galapagos to volunteer his services working on record keeping and such for the Charles Darwin Foundation. Great! Wish I was going. I definitely can’t knock what this guy is doing. On the other hand, there are some inaccuracies that cropped up in the article. Mr. Foster is not a scientist, and apparently has had no real dealings with science before. He admits that, and that’s fine. Unfortunately, his comments combined with the reporter’s equal lack of science understanding force this story to take a sharp turn into error-land. And when these errors crop up in a newspaper — a place were people get their facts from — the distorted information gets passed off as accurate with most readers not knowing the difference.

Foster is not an evolutionist.

What is that supposed to mean? Seriously. What is an evolutionist? Those five words carry a lot of meaning, none of which is based on reality. This simple sentence gives the impression that evolution is a profession or a religion or an occupation or … something. There is no such thing as an evolutionist. There are scientists who study and use knowledge of evolution, but that is clearly not what the reporter was going for here. I think that Mr. Foster was fuzzy about this whole evolution thing, and that fuzziness passed right along to the reporter who didn’t bother to do anything other than interview Mr. Foster and then write the story.

However, he does believe it’s an important time to re-assess the validity of Darwin’s theory in the rapidly changing world.

First of all, Darwin’s theory is a century and half old, and science and evolution have advanced quite a bit in the intervening time. Darwin was a “father” of this particular branch of science just like the other great minds of science were “fathers” of their branches of science. But science has come a long way. Science has been “re-assessing” Darwin’s theory for decades and has discarded that which was wrong about it and built upon the foundation of what was right about it. We’re not stuck in Darwin’s time.

“Evolution is a theory,” he said. “Both sides, creationism and evolution, are not exclusive.”

Evolution is a scientific theory, yes. But that meaning of the word denotes strength, not doubt. And there are no “two sides.” Creationism is not science. Period.

I don’t want to demean Mr. Foster’s volunteer effort. But he isn’t a good information source on this stuff, and the reporter should have known better. The reporter’s writing gave the interview subject the air of authority on the matter of evolution, when Mr. Foster clearly isn’t.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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3 Responses to Just a few gentle corrections here

  1. Tony Konrath says:

    I’ve posted the following…
    Talk about lazy reporting! “Evolutionist” is the term used by fundamental Christians to denigrate scientists. It’s not acceptable! This guy will be working i order to devlop the theory of evolution – not “reassess” it. It’s as if the reporter had asked a hospital receptionist to diagnose and treat an injury!

  2. Jonathan Smith says:

    Well notice Brandon,I’m sure this kind of poor journalism is written all the time and the general public just assume it must be fact.

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