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We Give In To Creationism

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From the editorial page of April's Scientific American. :)

Okay, We Give Up

There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense, and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it. Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that's a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That's what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn't get bogged down in details.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because of a lack of scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

Get ready for a new Scientific American. No more discussions of how science should inform policy. If the government commits to blindly building an anti-ICBM defense system, that can't work as promised, that will waste tens of millions of taxpayers' dollars and imperil national security, you won't hear about it from us. If studies suggest that the administration's antipollution measures would actually increase the dangerous particulates that people breathe during the next two decades, that's not our concern. No more discussion of how policies affect science either - so what if the budget for the National Science Foundation is slashed? This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools' Day.

THE EDITORS [email protected]

Edited by Moose
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And for every one article they do on real science they will also do stories on environmentalism and attacking President Bush for his not abiding my their nonsense "science". Maybe they should take their "April Fools Day" editorial a little more serious.

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Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because of a lack of scientifically credible arguments or facts.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the prevalent mindset in journalism these days. I suspect that you wouldn't have to look too hard to find a similar statement in an Op-Ed piece of a newspaper that wasn't being sarcastic.

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What I meant is SciAm really does do this. They might be sarcacstic about say creationism, but in the next breath they fully sponsor nonsense like environmentalism. So this could really be their statement meant in sarcasm or not, they really do this stuff. That's what makes this so funny.

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Well, if they find it scientifically credible, they should do this. I don't agree with environmentalism, but I wouldn't expect an environmentalist magazine to give any creedence to the non-environmentalist side. If they support environmentalism, then it makes sense that they argue for it. However, you've gotta admit that, wrong though it may be, environmentalism makes more scientific sense than Creationism.

Edited by Moose
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Not really, and they are not an "environmental" magazine, but a general science magazine. It's funny though, they had this on this months (March '05) cover-- Did Humans Stop an Iceage? 8,000 Years of Global Warming (emphasis mine) with a picture of the Earth in a partially melting ice cube. Brought to you by the same people who in the 1970's said we were heading towards a new ice age. What do you find more scientific about that? That self-proclaimed "scientists" find "evidence" of this when not long ago they found evidence of the exact opposite! It's not hard to find "evidence" for a thing that you "believe" exists because a poor premises in your "thinking".

Edited by Rational_One
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Wizard's First Rule at work in reality. For those who don't know Wizard's First Rule it is posted below.

People are stupid…People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it is all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet are confident they can, and so are all the more easier to fool.

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While listening to the radio this morning, WXDX in Pittsburgh, the host of the show, who is an Atheist, was talking about how in certain states of the south an IMAX presentation about volcanoes won't be shown because of it having a link to evolution. This link is in a miro organism found in volcanoes that are found in humans, or something like that. The reason they won't show it is due to Creationism and I can only assume not wanting to hurt the "sensibilities" of these people :)

Edited by Richard Roark
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  • 2 weeks later...

And of course the "fair and balanced" comment was almost certainly a not-so-subtle stab at Fox News. The "best-selling novelist" bit might have any number of meanings, but I'd bet they had Michael Crichton in mind.

And if that were true, would it be a stretch if I were to speculate that the editorial's author was displaying a bit of psychological projection--that perhaps in mounting his attack on the religionists, some dark, unexamined recess of his conscience drove him to lash out in defense of his own faith against an author that dares to name environmentalist mythology as the religion that it is?

Well, it's a nice theory isn't it.

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