Calling Wells's Bluff

Robert Camp over at nighlight exposes Johnathan Wells’s deception of television viewers: “Do Biology Textbooks Pit Evolution Against Theism? - A response to Jonathan Wells”.

The Lou Dobbs Tonight program is broadcast nationally by CNN. Dr. Ruse was representing the mainstream biology point of view, Jonathan Wells the “intelligent design” position, and John Morris that of “scientific creationism.” Additional context to consider is that Dr. Wells is well educated (he possesses two PhDs, one in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and one in Religious Studies from Yale University [2]) and has written and spoken extensively on these issues. As such he is clearly an intelligent individual, aware of the nuances of personal responsibility and contextual suitability regarding public discussion of complex issues. Dr. Wells was perfectly aware that he was speaking to a national, not limited, demographic and representing “intelligent design” in its broadly understood context, not relying upon personal definitions of terms such as evolution and theism that might be unrecognizable to most listeners.

In other words, the claim made by Wells, that he has textbooks which “…explicitly use evolution, misuse evolution, as an argument against theism, belief in god, Christianity…” is clear and requires that the books in question commit the proposed misdeeds unambiguously and with obvious intent. Although the exculpation of any of the books on Dr. Wells’ list would be enough to invalidate his claim, I believe that it is in the interest of the integrity of biological pedagogy to allow that if just one is guilty of the charges this will suffice to support his claim.