LA Times Columnist Slams Intelligent Design as a 'Ruse' and a 'Ploy'

Under the corrupt cloak of a "book review," this Sunday's Los Angeles Times (July 30, 2006) continues its underhanded and one-sided assault on the theory of intelligent design (ID). "The language of life," by Robert Lee Hotz*, is a review of three new works that attack intelligent design. The review was promoted on the top of the front page of the "Sunday preview" edition under the heading, "Less than 'intelligent design': Darwin's believers debunk the theory." And rather than providing its readers an honest critique, the Times' "review" is nothing less than a full-on Darwin propaganda piece. Hotz begins his article as follows (emphasis/link mine),

In the border war between science and faith, the doctrine of "intelligent design" is a sly subterfuge - a marzipan confection of an idea presented in the shape of something more substantial.

As many now understand - and as a federal court ruled in December - intelligent design is the bait on the barbed hook of creationist belief ...

Objectivity? Forget it. You won't find it with Hotz. Hotz' hit piece on ID then continues by haphazardly labeling ID as a "ruse," a "ploy," a "disingenuous masquerade," and "dishonesty."

Hotz claims the works he's reviewing are written by "some of the nation's most distinguished thinkers." Well, one of the reviewed books is by well-known "skeptic" Michael Shermer, whose work has been cited numerous times for falsehoods and inaccuracy (for example, here, here, here, and here)). Shermer has also floundered considerably while defending Darwinism in public, as witnessed in a 2004 debate with Stephen Meyer on TV's Faith Under Fire (link with video). In 2005, Shermer struggled in a debate with William Dembski (link/audio). "Distinguished"? Sorry, Mr. Hotz.

As NewsBusters has already reported this year (link), the Los Angeles Times has never published a single article from a leading spokesperson of intelligent design theory.** (Leading spokespeople would include names such as Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Guillermo Gonzalez, Jay Wesley Richards, and acclaimed writer Lee Strobel.) Yet the Times has now published its tenth piece in the last 14 months attacking ID! (I'm using this count).

Is there balance at the Los Angeles Times on this issue? Not even close, folks. The Times is unequivocally disserving its readers. How many Times readers are aware that one of the world's most renowned atheists, Antony Flew, has recently become open to God largely due to the persuasive science of intelligent design?

* Hotz "covers science, medicine, and technology" for the Times, yet Hotz has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in theater history. Am I the only one to think it odd that the Times would find him well qualified to write on science, medicine, and technology?

** Stephen Meyer did co-author a 1987 op-ed in the LA Times (almost 19 years ago) on the subject of human rights; but the article does not delve into the topic of intelligent design. In addition, there was a book review in the Times over 8 years ago (1998) by Edward McGlynn Gaffney, Jr. His review, about a book on the 1925 Scopes trial, included brief references to intelligent design science. However, Gaffney's name would not be included among well-known proponents of ID.

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.