Weep for the New York Times

| 16 Comments | 2 TrackBacks

I read this article with stark disbelief. It's a pandering bit of fluff for Hovind's "Dinosaur Adventure Land"...in the freaking New York Times. There is a very brief quote from Eugenie Scott, but otherwise the whole think is one happy ad for Kent Hovind and creationism, and it even glosses over his tax evasion troubles. Don't like Disneyland because they talk about dinosaurs living millions of years ago? Take the kids to Kent Hovind's backyard instead, where they can play on the swings while fundamentalists do their best to keep them ignorant and stupid!

Just how low can the NY Times sink? Pretty low, as this article shows. I rant some more about it here, but it's well-nigh impossible to adequately express my outrage.

2 TrackBacks

Creationists vs. Disneyland from So You Want to be a Science Teacher... on May 1, 2004 11:51 AM

I always thought there was something a little creepy about Disneyland- I just didn't know it was the focus on evolutionary theory. Good thing we've got new theme parks popping up around the country that support creationist ideals. Now, I'm... Read More

Creationists vs. Disneyland from So You Want to be a Science Teacher... on May 1, 2004 11:53 AM

I always thought there was something a little creepy about Disneyland- I just didn't know it was the focus on evolutionary theory. Good thing we've got new theme parks popping up around the country that support creationist ideals (sarcasm doesn't... Read More

16 Comments

Perhaps they should build “Holocaust Denial Camp” and “Flat Earth Wonderland” right next to Hovind’s “Dinosaur Adventure Land”. Kids could get a tree-for-one pass and spend spring break wiping out the little they have learned the rest of the school year. The NYT will then be able to publish a non-judgmental, politically correct, culturally relativistic review in the Sunday Travel section, mentioning how good the local seafood restaurants are.

Pitiful. This is merely another example of how low a once-meaningul newspaper has fallen. The Daily Howler thumps them for this sort of thing about three times a week (www.dailyhowler.com).

Whether on the op-ed pages or elsewhere, the Times is notorious for giving “equal time” to poorly-reasoned, unsubstantiated nonsense - unless it fits the conventional Babbitry, in which case it’s the *only* story.

Their willingess to tell the readership what they want to believe hasn’t yet extended into the science pages - if only because those reporters generally know something about their subject matter.

The real question is how can one effectively counter such religious fanatic fictions, enabling the general public to see them as the absurd and destructive displays they are?

I am not sure that simple ridicule is particularly effective, since it can be too easily brushed aside and ignored. That said, a pointed comparison to an Nazi ‘Aryan superman’ holiday camp or Uncle Joe’s Gulag fun park, might work. Perhaps a recreation of a religious fundamentalist society, with hourly stonings for various transgressions, might be instructive (it might even make money).

Yeah and notice that the Times is all mushy and relativistic on the pro-religion side but not the other one. Wendy Kaminer wrote in the New Republic several years ago about their refusal to publish an atheist op-ed of hers as written because it was too - well, you know, too atheist.

Is anybody surprised discovering that NY Times is a rag? Try LA Times - NY Times compared to LA Times is an epitome of integrity and impartiality. Please name any major newspaper that is really championing truth and objectivity -you’ll have to look for it with a strong lantern in day time. I used to be a free lance commentator for Radio Liberty that broadcast in Russian to the USSR. The staff consisted of emigres, but the management of Americans, who could speak a less than rudimentary Russian, have never been to Russia but were 100% confident they knew everything about the USSR incomparably better than those miserable emigres who would not know the difference between various baseball clubs. And how they twisted our hands! They all came from the USA journalistic schools. The press in the USA is free but that freedom has a high cost attached to it and many newspapers feel they are free to lie, distort, slander, and pretend being honest and impartial.

This is the sort of thing that really worries me about all this …

“At Dinosaur Adventure Land, visitors can make their own Grand Canyon replica with sand and read a sign deriding textbooks for teaching that the Colorado River formed the canyon over millions of years: ‘This is clearly not possible. The top of the Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet higher than where the river enters the canyon! Rivers do not flow up hill!’ “

I’m assuming that the story’s author was trying to find a somewhat representative example of Hovind’s pamphlets that wasn’t obviously insane. If this was the best she could find, it boggles my mind more than ever that anyone takes any YEC propoganda seriously …

What got to me was this passage: “There are a lot of creationists that are really smart and debate the intellectuals, but the kids are bored after five minutes,” said Mr. Hovind, who looks boyish at 51 and talks fast. “You’re missing 98 percent of the population if you only go the intellectual route.”

Clearly he understands that to sell this idea he needs to go after the young, and the not so smart. How can he not realize that if something is only easily believed by children and fools it may be because it is nonsense?

My favorite: “Dan Johnson, an assistant manager of the park, said there were also creationism-themed cruises, with lectures on the subject amid swimming and shuffleboard.”

Wow! I can go on a cruise, play SHUFFLEBOARD all day, AND receive a creationist lecture!!! I can’t wait!

Let’s keep a little perspective. The NYT is, for its flaws, still the greatest newspaper in existence. Also, no paper gets even close to the good science journalism of its Science Times section.

Actually, it’s worse than that. There is a lot of pressure on news outlets to be “balanced” instead of pointing out the preponderance of the evidence (See Sharon Dunwoody’s (U. Wisconsin) work). This pusillanimous approach avoids having pressure groups shout at you, organize boycotts etc., but it leads to such nonsense as giving “equal time” to Hovind and his ilk.

Paul Gross, how about this one for your next project? It’s a pressure in/on the academy, too. Not to begrudge academic freedom for anyone, but there is also a requirement for reasoned argument and civil discourse.

To its credit, the New York Times retains as a columnist Paul Krugman, who has been fretting for years that the prevailing notion of journalistic objectivity would lead to headlines like, “Shape of the Earth: Views Differ”.

Well, it finally happened.

“Perhaps they should build “Holocaust Denial Camp” and “Flat Earth Wonderland” right next to Hovind’s “Dinosaur Adventure Land”.”

I note that when not peddling Creationism Hovind actually does have a line in promoting the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and such, as reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/inte[…].jsp?aid=205

Steve, not to derail the thread or anything, but as a person who once held the same opinion of the Times as you do now, please try this experiment: read www.dailyhowler.com and atrios.blogspot.com and www.dailykos.com for a few weeks (especially the first one I listed). Along with this site and a couple conservative or religious sites just for grins, you’ll soon find the Times largely irrelevant. I pick up the Arts section (for the crossword) and the Science Times (occasionally) in the recycle bin, on an as-needed basis.

Maybe this is just a really late April Fool’s joke. Or perhaps the NYT is trying to steal readership from The Onion. I refuse to believe that quote from the lady in paragraph two is not just made up.

Well, unless you can refute the scientific validity of the Bible, I would hesitate before I scoff. Search for the truth, and you will find it. I dare you.

The scientific validity of the bible was refuted getting on for 200 years ago. Do try and keep up.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on May 1, 2004 11:25 AM.

Wells as Scientist was the previous entry in this blog.

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