TIME Magazine’s idea of “editing”…

As my sleep-deprived brain was running through its final tasks before directing my body to place my head on the nearest pillow, I accidentally clicked on a wrong interent link and am happy that I did for the little discovery that resulted.

Credit where credit is due: The discrepancy I will discuss here was pointed out by Tom Gilson who writes a blog called “Thinking Christian.”

It seems that TIME Magazine is doing a “TIME 100” issue and asked Michael Behe (noted anti-Darwinist, Intelligent Design theorist, and author of Darwin’s Black Box) to write an entry about Richard Dawkins (noted High Priest of Darwinism, amateur philosopher, and author of The God Delusion) for the magazine.  Well, the piece Michael Behe actually wrote can be read here.  The TIME Magazine perversion of what he wrote can be read here.

Wow.  It really is like night and day.  The TIME editors even went so far as to put words in Behe’s mouth, like having Behe say that the central idea of the God Delusion book is “deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself…”  Yes, he or she actually threw the words “like myself” in there under Michael Behe’s name when Behe wrote nothing of the sort!  The thought expressed in that sentence isn’t even implied in Behe’s writing — the editor apparently just made it up out of whole cloth!

Un. Be. Lievable.

I won’t pretend to know all of the traditional and accepted conventions of the editorial process, but I know when something stinks.  The little article in TIME says “by Michael Behe” but compare the two for yourself — the TIME version and what Behe actually wrote — and I think you will agree with me that claiming Michael Behe wrote that piece in TIME is far too close to breaking Exodus 20:16 for comfort.  That piece doesn’t seem simply edited for space — it looks edited for content and meaning.  I think Gilson makes the point well in his entry (without all of my rambling, to boot).

I hope I don’t sound like I’m harping too much on something like this.  But as someone who puts his thoughts out there for others to read electronically knowing that what I write is at the mercy of someone else’s “creative” cutting and pasting, the idea of someone using parts of what I say to write his own column with 60% to 70% his own words and ideas and then slapping my name on the final product is a bit unnerving.  And to see it done in a “respectable” magazine like TIME, all the more so.  Maybe that is a legitimate piece of editing (c’mon you editors out there — help me out and educate me!).  Even so, I personally find it spooky.

4 thoughts on “TIME Magazine’s idea of “editing”…

  1. I have been both published author and published editor, and I say there is absolutely no excuse for such a thing. None. If you’re in the right on an issue, you don’t need to score points off your opponents by quoting then inaccurately and/or out of context.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mr. Wheeler.

    It just seems to me that the TIME “editor” actually crafted not only entire sentences and passages out of whole cloth, but even the tone and sentiment. I mean, were you to print out the piece published by TIME and highlight in red all the parts that are completely original to the TIME version and which do not appear in any form in Mr. Behe’s original submission, it would be really stunning. More than “editing,” it would be as if someone were attaching your name to entire dialogues, opinions, and conversations that, in actuality, you had absolutely no part of or attachment to whatsoever.

    Really, I found it amazing.

  3. What you’ve just described is not editing — it’s propaganda, if not worse.

    Are the evolutionists — and their media toadys, such as TIME and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC — really that desperate to hold on to their “metaphysical research program”? That’s what a curator of the British Museum, himself a committed evolutionist, has called evolutionary thinking. He routinely has asked his fellow evolutionists: do we have the slightest idea how biological evolution works? He routinely has pointed out: no one has ever been able to test the concept. (I’d have to dig into my books to remember his name, and I’m not even sure he’s employed there now; a fast search has failed to reveal him. But creationists like to quote him as the rare bird he is: a committed, yet honest evolutionist.)

  4. Infinity

    Unbelievable. I have a lot of respect for Michael Behe (he’s my science hero!), so that really frustrates me. And worse, they even took away his fantastic writing style and replaced it with insipidness.

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