Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Non-journalism Meets Non-science

NPR had a great opportunity with the opening of the creation "museum." NPR could have interviewed scientists who would have laid out the overwhelming case that there is no science in this farce "museum" just as there is no science in the creation "science" movement. NPR could have contacted the NCSE for some experts and information, instead of turning things over to the woefully ill-informed Steve Inskeep and Barbara Bradley Hagerty.

This statement of Inskeep's is a stunner: "A scientist might argue, a conventional scientist might argue, he or she is looking at the evidence and following that evidence where it goes. Your starting point is that it’s already known that the world is only 5000 years old and that it was created in seven days and you must look at the evidence in a way that fits what you already take as true." Notice how Inkseep says, "A scientist might argue" but then corrects himself and says "a conventional scientist might argue." The implication is that "conventional scientists" are just one version of scientists, no more worthy of legitimacy than so-called creation-scientists!

Hagerty is no better - maybe even worse. She says that one of the literalists touring the facility "drove from Lancaster Pennsylvania to see evidence for what she already believes...that God made the universe in six days..." There's one problem here: there is NO EVIDENCE! Hagerty also states that "the vast majority of scientists say dinosaurs predated man by 65 million years." Like Inskeep, Hagerty is sadly confused. The fact is that ALL legitimate scientists agree that dinosaurs predate humans. Yes there may be a few who insist on the fiction of human coexistence with dinosaurs just as there may be a few scientists who think that the Apollo missions were faked or that the sun revolves around the earth. Vast majority implies that there is legitimate scientific debate about creationism - there isn't.

Of course this is all taking place within the context of an idiot President who hates scientific research and truthiness (as Colbert so aptly puts it.) It's sad to see NPR give these anti-rationalists a stage in which they are presented as one side of a reasonable debate.


Anonymous said...

Haggerty is a known tool. She's been doing faith=based reporting for a long time. NPR has gone to her before in the Dover, PA creation science mess, in defference to either Nina Totenberg, the legal correspondant, or to any scientist whatsoever. As far as I can tell, Haggerty is an expert on absolutely nothing.

Rande Neukam said...

Bingo -- your thoughts mirror the frustration I've had with NPR not only in their science coverage, but political coverage as well. The need to maintain equivalence (qualitative & quantitative) between neo-con and liberal positions -- whether we're talking flip/flop politics, dirty-tricks, terrorism, you-name-it -- has been astounding! This pursuit of enforced objectivity at the expense of critical, hard nosed, factual (or at least, value-impact) analysis -- that draws no conclusions -- masks the reality NPR purportedly reports on.