I teach in a second year course on "Scientific Misconceptions and Controversies." In my part of the course we discuss creationism and evolution. The object is to learn to think rationally about the controversy.
Students have to read Icons of Evolution and write an essay analyzing the arguments in one of the chapters (their choice). They have no problem recognizing the flaws in the logic and the outright mistruths in that book. For typical university students with a rudimentary understanding of evolution it's like shooting fish in a barrel.
The Discovery Institute sees it differently but they must live on another planet.
Here's how David Klinghoffer describes Jonathan Wells in a recent posting on Evolution News & Views [Celebrating Ten Years of Icons of Evolution].
A Berkeley PhD in molecular and cell biology, Wells is among the most lucid and accessible scientist-writers devoted to the modern project of critiquing Darwin. When I say the book is sweetly reasoned, I don't only mean that it's well reasoned but that there's an appealing geniality, a sweetness, to the man's writing that stands out in contrast to the donkey-like braying of a Darwinian biologist Jerry Coyne, the sinister coilings of a Richard Dawkins, the ugly "humor" of a P.Z. Myers. Yes, you can get a sense of a person's character, and perhaps too his credibility, from the words he uses.And here's an example of "sweet geniality" from page 234 of Icons.
What about scientists who knowingly make false utterances or misleading omissions but believe the overall effect is not misleading because they are teaching "a deeper truth"? Does the commitment to a supposed deeper truth excuse conscious misrepresentations? Such an excuse probably wouldn't help a stock promoter. Under federal law, a stock promoter is not justified in mistating the facts just because he or she deeply believes that a company is destined to prosper. The stock promoter commits fraud by misrepresenting the truth, regardless of his or her underlying beliefs. Shouldn't scientists be held to the same standard?
Fraud is a dirty word, and it should not be used lightly. In the cases described in this book, dogmatic promoters of Darwinism did not see themselves as deceivers. Yet they seriously distorted the evidence—often knowingly. If this is fraud when a stock promoter does it, what is it when a scientist does it?
If dogmatic promoters of Darwinian evolution were merely distorting the truth, that would be bad enough. But they haven't stopped there. They now dominate the biological sciences in the English-speaking world, and they use their position of dominance to censor dissenting viewpoints.