Pharyngula

Salon sucks

Salon has just published their report on Ken Ham’s creation “museum”, by author Gordy Slack, who has just released a book on the Dover trial. I haven’t read the book, although it was on my list to pick up this summer. No more. This was an awful bit of dreck, and I don’t think I could stomach reading a whole book written this way.

It’s dead, credulous reporting. Slack simply blandly reports the contents of the “museum,” and doesn’t offer a single word of criticism, and doesn’t even try to evaluate the accuracy of the claims. The protesters outside the gates are briefly mentioned, but otherwise the article just calls the place “beautiful”, and the words of Ken Ham and Mark Looy and various gullible visitors are unquestioningly quoted to praise it all. Sure, dinosaurs and people lived together; all the predators lived on fruit and vegetables; all the geology on the planet was carved by a single great worldwide flood 4000 years ago. Read it, and you get the impression that having an edifice dedicated to the proposition that all of physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and biology are wrong is perfectly reasonable, and the weirdos are the geeks standing in the rain outside complaining.

I thought the New York Times article was bad…but Salon has sunk to new depths of insipidity. I’ve been a subscriber to Salon since they first started, but this settles it for me—I won’t be resubscribing. This article wasn’t even expressing the usual phony “balance”—it’s biased in favor of creationism all the way through.

For shame, Salon.

Comments

  1. #1 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    Gordy Slack??

    more like Gordy Hack.

    still, it seems obvious to me that he was specifically instructed not to put any criticisms at ALL into the piece.

    even the “fair handed” articles at least talked about the criticisms of YEC.

    since he’s NOT a YEC, the only logical explanation is that someone TOLD him to write the article strictly as an expostion on the museum itself, with no judgements as to its authenticity whatsoever.

  2. #2 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    hmm, just to clarify, I too think Salon sucks for obviously requesting and then publishing an article of this type; I just don’t think it necessarily reflects on Slack’s writing skills.

    It does, however, reflect on his ethics.

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    the only way I could imagine any reporter with a lick of critical faculties allowing this to go through is if AiG had demanded the right to veto any criticism in it in return for giving the writer advanced access.

    that seems quite plausible.

  4. #4 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    …still, the more i think about it, nothing excuses Salon, no matter what.

    If Salon itself negotiated that kind of contract with AIG, then they damned themselves.

    If it was Slacker (man, he must hate his last name), then Salon is still at fault for accepting the article for publication as is.

    yeah, just no getting around it. this is bad journalism no matter how you slice it.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    Is there anybody hanging around here who knows somebody on the editorial staff of Salon, or who knows Slacker personally, and can find out if there indeed was some kind of contract?

    that would be very juicy.

    think how much mileage could be made of that??

    that would be ten times better than any retraction/addendum salon could publish, or Slacker could write.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    May 31, 2007

    none:

    very old, oft recirculated and regurgitated little diddy.

    still kinda funny, even after the ten thousandth time.

  7. #7 CalGeorge
    May 31, 2007

    Gordy Slack has been at this for a while. A 1997 Mother Jones article begins this way:

    How has religion held up under the scrutiny of modern science? Not well, according to evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who believes the only reason religion is still with us at all is not because it has inherent worth but because it’s as catching and incurable as any virus (see “Religion Is a Virus”). Others beg to differ.

    It’s all downhill from there.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1997/11/slack.html?welcome=true

    Hey, God.
    I’m Gordy Slack.
    I’m a hack.
    And I got your back.

  8. #8 Brownian
    May 31, 2007

    His point is that this museum is where almost half of Americans would feel at home. This is horrifying, but Slack assumes his readers are intelligent enough to absorb that fact. The last line captures how many, many Americans feel; “I don’t know if this story is truer than Darwin’s theory, but I do know it’s better.”

    PZ Meyers represents a disturbing trend among natural humanists (of which I’m aligned) that if they don’t see their views spelled out boldly in neon, they throw a tantrum.

    And the almost half of Americans that would feel at home in this museum would feel just as ‘at home’ with this article, since it certainly challenges none of their beliefs. Perhaps they’re having a similar debate on creationist sites about how Slack subtly endorses creationism with this piece, and how clever it was for him to put one over on all the godless Salon readers.

    Given the understanding of science in North America these days, I’m afraid bold neon is way too subtle.

  9. #9 Ichthyic
    June 1, 2007

    is to allow the thing speak for itself–put it out there sans polarizing polemics and let people see what it really is.

    and if that technique had any evidence of success in the US, GW would not have been re-elected.

    some might think the defenders of this article haven’t gotten out much in the last 25 years.

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    June 1, 2007

    Fool! Have you never considered that the people knew exactly what Bush is and wanted him?

    well considered, and rejected, er, “fool”.

    look at his current approval ratings.

    has he really changed to warrant such low approval ratings, or is the zombie US finally starting to wake up to his idiocy?

    if he hasn’t changed, then I think americans are realizing that they didn’t purchase the product they thought they did, now did they.

    give it up, already, your rhetoric is lost on this one.

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    June 1, 2007

    If it were somehow going well, where do you think it would be?

    who knows?

    all we have is the data in front of us.

    are YOU sure that it’s ALL about the war?

    besides which, the war wasn’t really going all that well when he got re-elected, either.

    no osama, for one example.

    which goes back to my point again. regardless of what bush was selling, people aren’t buying now, and most happily admit that they were deceived when interviewed. I don’t see folks saying anything about “i hate bush because the war is going badly” (except the people who hated bush for getting us in the war to begin with, and they of course didn’t vote for him).

    you?

    Are you SURE you want to take the position that most americans aren’t simply dumbasses who don’t take the time to investigate their choices thoroughly enough to begin with?

    You REALLY want to take up the position that all americans are well-reasoned and that subtle irony tends to work just fine to make a point with them?

    you want to do that, on this blog…

    hmm.

    like I said earlier, and now phrase as a question:

    get out much?

    OTOH, you just like to argue to argue, so I don’t really see the point of continuing.

    have the last word on this one, if you wish.

  12. #12 Alex
    June 23, 2008

    None of them.

  13. #13 Arnosium Upinarum
    June 26, 2008

    Caledonian? (in # 133, “Fool! Have you never considered that the people knew exactly what Bush is and wanted him?”):

    Hell, Cal, not even Bush knows what he is. What can you possibly be saying? That people WANTED something they were completely clueless about?

    Or is your idea of “knowing” restricted to image? Actually, I might be tempted to agree that the latter may be diagnostic of the way many Americans judge character and wherewithal.

    It’s easy to forget during the time you are away that behind all the bluster is a fool of the first order. Thanks for the reminding.

    As for the “interpretation” by several others here, that the Slack article in Salon is somehow fashionably satirical or just a lame attempt at one, I must suppress my gorge rising up at the notion.

    Read anything else by Slack for a clue to the pattern. If it wasn’t for his shallow cognition and writing ability, one might perhaps charitably allow he’s a Master of Equivocation. Unfortunately, even in the craft of bullshit, he’s no expert.

    Sucks just plain sucks.

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    January 2, 2010

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