I did not say that all or even most public statements on the Discovery site are “nothing more than public relations.” But Discovery is (like BioLogos) an advocacy site. And on all advocacy sites there is a PR element. Discovery wants ID to succeed, not just on the scientific level, but as an element of popular thought. And when one is concerned about altering popular thought, one sometimes becomes too zealous.
That was quite obvious, for example, at BioLogos, where arguments against ID based on genetics were often presented side by side with blatant advocacy of liberal or even heretical theologies which BioLogos people tended to favor. One had to realize that when one was reading Applegate or Giberson or Falk one was going to get more mushy subjectivity than objectivity, as compared with, say, some of the articles of Venema which stuck to technical aspects of genetics.
So it’s not surprising if some columns on EN are more of the passionate, rah-rah type than the cool, detached, analytical type. If one doesn’t like that kind of writing, one can just skip those articles after the first few sentences. Or one can choose not to read articles by writers whom one knows to be more rhetorical than substantial.
I haven’t read the column about the Tour debate, and don’t even know who wrote it, but I gather Faizal thinks it’s of the rah-rah type. Well, maybe it is. Who cares? I never check the opinions voiced on EN before making an evaluation of anything. My own views I state here, and I don’t particularly care if some columnist on EN disagrees with me.
I stated my views on Tour and the debate already. I said that Tour is a world-class chemist who knows a lot about chemical reactions, and at least some of his knowledge about chemical reactions is pertinent to some claims about the origin of life. I’ve also said he is guilty of rhetorical excess in saying researchers are “clueless”. I’ve also said he showed impatience and lack of control in the second part of the debate with Farina, and that he should have guarded against that. I’ve also said he was unwise to hold a live debate with Farina, knowing what Farina was like. I’ve also said that for a debate to be serious, it would have to be against an active researcher in the field, not a self-appointed science fanboy like Farina. Those are my views about Tour and the debate. If anyone on EN said anything in conflict with those views, there is nothing I can do about it, and I’m certainly not going to lose any sleep over it.
You can certainly trust Discovery to give an accurate definition of ID and of how it differs from creationism (since it’s their term, they know what they mean by it), and you can certainly trust Discovery to give an accurate statement of its own current policies regarding schools and curriculum (i.e., no creationism taught in schools, no mandating of ID in the schools, teach evolution and all scientific theories critically). You can also trust that the large number of papers and articles housed on the site, written by DI Fellows, represent the true views of those DI Fellows (at least, at the time the articles were written). But if you’re expecting clinical objectivity in EN’s coverage of the latest debates, and of the latest “science and culture” stories, with no PR element, your expectations will be disappointed. They are no more clinically objective than a New York Times editorial praising the policies of Biden, or, since I’m talking to the Canadian Faizal, than a Toronto Star editorial praising the policies of Trudeau. You don’t read editorials expecting to get a wholly fair treatment of a subject, and you shouldn’t read what amount to editorials on the EN site with that expectation either.