Editors at The Federalist kindly agreed to publish and essay of mine. Long-time readers will
find be familiar with the basic arguments. Some of the characters, however, are new. From the introduction:
Last summer, Virginia Heffernan wrote a short essay explaining her preference for technology over science, her problems with evolutionary psychology, and why she has “never found a more compelling story of our origins than the ones that involve God.” The response to “Why I am a creationist” was, as TheNew York Times put it, swift and harsh. Numerous journalists attacked her, with this Twitter exchange perhaps the most prominent example.
Now that a year has passed and the media circus has ended, we can re-examine the issue more calmly. Why does rejecting evolution get so much attention from mainstream journalists? At the time, Laura Helmuth at Slate and Hamilton Nolan at Gawker offered one typical response: Heffernan’s writing couldn’t be trusted because she is a creationist. Heffernan’s “dedication to facts is somewhat in question.”
Later on I argue that Helmuth and Nolan were remiss in ignoring Heffernan’s accomplishments:
Perhaps Helmuth and Nolan’s most egregious oversight was ignoring the data right in front of them: Heffernan was already an accomplished journalist! Early in her career, the Columbia Journalism Review listed her among its “Ten Young Editors to Watch.” She has worked at The New Yorker, served as an editor at Harper’s, and has written for both TheNew York Times and Slate. On top of all that, she has both a master’s and PhD from Harvard University. Heffernan’s mere existence negates Helmuth and Nolan’s arguments. Helmuth herself noted that Heffernan is a “talented writer.” So shouldn’t people consider her talent and accomplishments before judging her? If creationism was so dangerous, how has she succeeded so mightily?
Check it out and let me know what you think.