Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Giving creationists the oxygen of publicity

Guardian 6/8/2006 - from here;

"In a world where any uninformed lunatic - not just journalists - can cast their inexpert ramblings into the blogosphere for anyone to read, scientists increasingly have a problem. Bogus scientific notions that fit with a favoured political credo spread like wildfire and scientists can do little to stem the tide. Climate change, MMR and intelligent design, to take just three examples, are all topics where the sea of falsehood can seem overwhelming.

The stakes are perhaps even higher with Kentucky's new-ish creation museum. In less than 2 months, the place had pulled in over 100,000 visitors, at $19.95 a throw or $1000 for life membership.
I haven't been, but its visitors are paying for a pretty flimsy grasp on reality. The hi-tech anamatronic exhibits, for example, show humans hanging out with dinosaurs.
The US Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology has denounced it as presenting, "visitors with a view of earth history that has been scientifically disproven for over a century." And the National Centre for Science Education (with the backing of over 800 scientists in surrounding states) has warned that, "students who accept this material as scientifically valid are unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level".
. . .

The LA Times was more blunt. Its editorial said:
"With the opening of the Creation Museum, young people will be getting another side of the story. Too bad it starts with 'Yabba-dabba-doo!'"
But here's the dilemma.
Statements of derision may serve little purpose other than to drive more visitors to the attraction and swell the coffers of Answers in Genesis, the loopy organisation that set it up. By trying to set the record straight are we simply playing into their hands? "

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