WEF and intelligent design

I’ve certainly made bad editing mistakes in my time. I still cringe when I recall flipping the axes labels on a graph accompanying a Paul Krugman article (in his MIT academic, pre-columnist days). But I’ve just had a chance to read the draft program for Davos 2006, and one howler really stands out.

At least, I hope it’s an editing error.

There’s a planned session entitled “Chance, Necessity and God: The Fuss about Intelligent Design”. Here’s the program’s session description:

Religious conservatives have found a new way to promote the teaching of evolutionary theory in the US through the concept of “intelligent design”. Recent polls indicate that over 60% of Americans feel creationism should be taught alongside evolution.

1) Why are these efforts striking such a chord in the US?
2) Is the reaction of the scientific community overblown?
3) Does discussion about this “controversy” belong in the schools?

Now, this is from a draft program. But how could someone have typed that so-called intelligent design is a way to “promote” the teaching of evolutionary theory? Did they mean to write “destroy” and found “promote” was an okay substitute?

If this were just an internal World Economic Forum document, I wouldn’t write about it, and I almost surely wouldn’t have seen it. But it’s the draft program they send to major sponsors of Davos. (Of course, in Forum speak, no one is anything so tawdry as a sponsor. They are “strategic partners”.) The sneak peak of an early stage of the program is part of what your SFr500,000 gets you. I wonder if any of the strategic partners raised the alarm on this session.

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