I’ve tried to like the science reporting in the times on the ID controversy, but I just can’t. This third article was OK, but reading the first two was like listening to fingernails on a blackboard. I wish journalists didn’t feel it was necessary to provide “both sides” of a debate even when one side of the debate is pretty clearly incorrect. That’s not the biggest problem with the articles, however. The biggest problem is that the debate is stated incorrectly. Kenneth Chang wrote this as the first paragraph of his article:
At the heart of the debate over intelligent design is this question: Can a scientific explanation of the history of life include the actions of an unseen higher being?
The debate actually has nothing to do with scientific explanations or unseen higher beings. The debate is about whether or not we teach patently religious and non-scientific material in science classes. There is no serious scientific debate on Intelligent Design because.., well, because it isn’t science. It doesn’t really matter if the article goes on to demolish ID (which it doesn’t do as strongly as I would like). That first paragraph is what ruins the whole damned thing.
Similar sentiments about the NYT series can be found at Pharyngula and Cosmic Variance.