PEEK

BBC Spreads Creationism Myths

A BBC article takes the creationist "museum" way too seriously.

I'm warning you. It's a disaster waiting to build: when the newspapers start reporting creationist versions of stories without questioning them, without providing explanations of the fallacies, and without even bringing in authoritative scientific voices to knock their claims down, all you do is feed the confidence of the creationists. It's even worse than "he said she said" journalism. That's exactly what the BBC has done, though, with a piss poor story about attendees at Ken Ham's preposterous creationist "museum".

I'm going to be charitable and assume the author intended to hang the creationists with their own words; the quotes from the people going to the "museum" do make them sound like ignorant hicks. In particular, one pull quote — Why is Darwin buried with kings at Westminster Abbey? He's not a king. — is a great big flashing idiot light, and will be especially noticeable in the UK (hint: they don't just bury kings in Westminster…unless, of course, Isaac Newton and Herschel and Lyell and many other scientists were crowned when I wasn't looking).

But still, look at the article as a creationist would. It's going to go in a scrapbook or on a wall of reviews at the "museum", and the gomers will stroll through, read it, and nod approvingly. Those quotes affirm their own beliefs; all they'll see is that the BBC approvingly quoted sentiments they share. And there will be readers in England, even, who will be oblivious to the very understated sarcasm, and will be cheered further in their support of creationism. And other reporters will see that as a perfectly reasonable way to write a news story, and the plague of bland reporting will spread.

PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He runs the science blog, Pharyngula.
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