Was "How to spot a hidden religious agenda" article libelous?
New Scientist has received a legal complaint about the contents of this story. At the advice of our lawyer it has temporarily been removed while we investigate. Apologies for any inconvenience.
A copy of the original article is here.
My analysis of the article:
IMO it is libelous to negatively stereotype publications solely on the basis of words or terms that they contain. The article implies that one could do a computerized word search of a publication and if any of the taboo words are found, conclude that the publication has a "hidden religious agenda." Indeed, a publication containing words or terms listed in the article may actually be pro-Darwinist and/or anti-religious. IMO the article would be OK if it were titled "How to spot a possible (not "hidden") religious agenda" and if the contents were consistent with that title (the contents are not now consistent with that title). Anyway, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black -- a lot of pro-Darwinist publications have religious agendas.
Also, the article has a serious factual error:
As creationists in the US continue to lose court battles over attempts to have intelligent design taught as science in federally funded schools, their strategy has been forced to... well, evolve.
"Continue" to lose court battles? There was only one court case about ID: Kitzmiller v. Dover. And ID was not actually taught in the Dover Area school district -- there was just a one-minute evolution-disclaimer statement that informed the students that ID books were available in the school library.