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this is what you shall do:: Okay, We Give Up

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Okay, We Give Up

I had this long discussion last week with my mother, who in passing said that the whole idea of creationism was starting to make real sense to her. After I picked up the coffee mug that I dropped on the floor, I struggled to find words to explain to her that the Biblical Creation story was myth, a tale used to convey, through the oral tradition of the apocrophy, how our world came about. That similar stories exist in nearly every pre biblical culture because mankind as a species has a strong desire to understand its world . I asked her if she indeed believed in the science that brought about carbon 14 data which works to prove the age of our world. I asked her about the dinosaurs fossil beds in her home county of Moffat County, Colorado and if she believed those fossilized remains pre dated the existance of man.. She said she did. How then can she explain creationism, equating man's existance on the planet, coming to be "whole and unevolved." Struggling, she said that is where it gets confusing, but she hoped to learn more if futher bible study classes. Sigh. The whole discucussion reminded me of this tidbit from the April Scientific American: In which the editors announce that they have finally given in to their critics' demands and will no longer continue their politically biased reporting on issues such as global warming and evolution. Formerly proud members of the reality-based community, Scientific American now enters a new realm - the world of fair and balanced reporting. (via Dailykos) (a satire) "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 they lack scienfically 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 blindly to building an anti-ICBM defense system that can't work as promised, that will waste tens of billions 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 discussions 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 EDITIORS We're sorry.