Creationists Can be So Funny

There was a time, not so long ago, when you could “Google” the terms “Greg Laden” and “Idiot” and get, well, besides the several thousand hits about me being an idiot and stuff, an Amazon.com page for “The Idiot’s Guide to Human Prehistory by Greg Laden”

This is a book I never wrote. But the publishers wanted me to. However, there were complications. The first complication was that I found out (from an excellent source) that the owner of the company had “a problem” with evolution, and I came to believe it was likely that certain things would be changed prior to publication. In particular, the word “evolution” was not going to appear in the title. And so on….


I negotiated with the editor about this for some time, and was eventually assured, and I believed this, that there would be no hanky panky with the E-thing. However, there was another problem. The editors had a completion date in mind, but the negotiations took many weeks, so when I was ready to sign, the original publishing date was only a few weeks away. When I inquired as to what the new deadline for finishing the manuscript would be, I was told that the original schedule must be maintained. So I blew them off.

Of course, what this meant was that they had to find a new writer (this ended up being Robert J. Meier), but the book came out at least a year after the oringally planned date. So this idiotic idea of not giving the writer more than a few weeks to write a book did indeed backfire on the editor. The book ended up without the word “Evolution” in the title, and is probably more what they wanted: A prehistory book, not a human evolution book. I have not read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Human Prehistory myself, so I can’t tell you anything more about it. But K. Kris Hirst has read it, and you can read a review here.

Anyway, thanks to a link at John McKay’s blog, we are made aware of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design (Complete Idiot’s Guide to). Here is a picture of it:
i-11224df4bff877944c8b2d8976287f61-idiot_id.jpg

I have not read this book either, even though it has been out for a year or so according to the copyright date. I searched around for about two minutes for reviews but did not find anything worth looking at.

Has anyone read it?

Anyway, here’s something interesting. While Googling “Idiot” and “Greg Laden” does not get you to any version of this book, Googling “Complete Idiot” and “Greg Laden” gets you to an Amazon page for Meier’s book that has a huge error on it. Instead of giving the bio for Meier as the author, it says this:

About the Author
Greg Laden, Ph.D., teaches human evolution and paleoarcheology as an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Laden has worked at many field sites in Africa researching fossil evidence of early human existence, and helped maintain human prehistory collections at the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard. He and his work have been featured in the New York Times and on local television networks in the Boston area.

I can assure you that I did not write that bio. It is sort of accurate (I was never a curator at the Peabody, though I did work there in various capacities). Also, I never heard of “paleoarchaeology.” Have you?

To be honest, I prefer Dummy’s

Comments

  1. #1 Anne Gilbert
    December 7, 2007

    I have read The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Human Prehistory< ?i>, and it’s not bad. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. You can pick this book up in just about any bookstore, if you’re interested. You don’t have to go through Amazon.com. And I’m sorry to hear you didn’t write it, but that’s the way things go. As for The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Intelligent Design< , I haven’t read that, nor do I intend to waste my time and money, both of which are precious. But I’ve seen it in bookstores. Hint: When I first saw it, I thought it was some kind of joke.
    Anne G

  2. #2 G Felis
    December 7, 2007

    I will avoid the incredibly obvious jokes about The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Intelligent Design and just point out the merely obvious: See the academic qualifications of the primary author for the real basis of “Intelligent Design Theory” – example #97,459,070 and counting of why anyone who says ID is science must be either a transparent liar or a fool who believes transparent lies.

  3. #3 HP
    December 8, 2007

    For what it’s worth, I was one of the editors of the original Idiot’s Guides, back when the imprint was still published out of Indianapolis and the titles exclusively dealt with computers and home technology.

    There was a lot of heated discussion at the time about whether we wanted to go head-to-head with IDG’s Dummies series, but the decision came down from the top and we tried to make the best of it. One of my unofficial jobs was writing humorous titles and sidebars, and punching up the text when it got too dry. That was fun.

    I’m still particularly proud of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Computer Jargon, which I copyedited when it was still called The Plain-English Computer Dictionary. That was a good book. It may still be in print, but I don’t know that any of my work survives.

    When the books started to sell well, the parent company moved the imprint to New York and put a whole different crowd in charge. So I know nothing about those people and their motivations, except that some friends and colleagues who did good work had the rug yanked out from under them.