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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Intelligent design terminology entering pop culture

Just as cartoonists are discovering the fun in the intelligent design controversy, its concepts are creeping into popular newswriting.

For example, Newsweek devoted a recent cover story to a serious examination of spirituality in America.*

One comment that newswriter Jerry Adler makes is,

If you experience God directly, your faith is not going to hinge on whether natural selection could have produced the flagellum of a bacterium. If you feel God within you, then the important question is settled; the rest is details.

As it happens, I vehemently disagree with the approach to religion that Adler describes, but that's a discussion for another time. I want to draw attention to the fact that Adler assumes that the average reader knows both the meaning and the significance of "flagellum of a bacterium." That certainly would not have been the case ten years ago. So, clearly, the intelligent design controversy is affecting popular culture.

*By the way, I recommend this Newsweek article (Spirituality in America, September 5, 2005). One really positive cultural change is the recently acquired capacity of mainstream media to write accurately and sensitively about spirituality and religion. Maybe I should quit calling them “legacy” mainstream media ... reading this article was one of the few times I felt I had been unfair to them.

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