Seattle — Minutes before a scheduled NPR radio debate with Discovery Sr. Fellow George Gilder today, Oxford-based Darwinist Richard Dawkins advised the producers he would not debate after all, but only present his views, which appeared to come from a written statement.
Bruce Chapman, president of Discovery Institute, described the Dawkins maneuver as “a typical bait and switch tactic by a vulnerable spokesman for the Darwinist cause.
“He is afraid to engage in debate over the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory,” said Chapman. “Unfortunately, NPR accepts such arrogance with equanimity instead of censure. Just imagine how they would have handled the situation in reverse.”
Even then, NPR’s “On Point” producers were forced to agree to Dawkins’ demand to speak after Gilder was through, thus depriving Gilder a chance to reply. The program announcer said the “situation” was caused by “scientists” being unwilling to give intelligent design proponents equal time, thus seeming to justify the Dawkins stunt.
Chapman also criticized “On Point” for arranging ahead of time to follow the sections with Dawkins and Gilder with a supposedly objective wrap-up from Michael Ruse. This was arranged without Gilder’s knowledge and contrary to assurances provided by the producers to keep the debate fair by not loading the debate with a number of Darwinists versus only Gilder by himself.
“This was another case of false ‘balance’,” said Chapman, “because Michael Ruse is a perfervid backer of Darwinian evolution. Some balance. Were they afraid that Gilder might defeat Dawkins in debate and therefore needed a last word from another Darwinist?”
The NPR treatment of the growing debate over evolution is part of a long parade of misrepresentation and stacked decks, Chapman asserted. Last week “Open Source,” another Boston-based public radio program, broadcast an entire program on the theory of intelligent design. But instead of presenting a debate, or allowing a scientist who is a proponent of intelligent design to appear, the producers invited a CRITIC of intelligent design, Kenneth Miller of Brown, to discuss the theory. Open Source producers did not answer telephone and email requests asking for a chance to present a pro-design scientist in a future program.