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Monday, March 16, 2009

New Scientist pulls post for legal reasons?

A friend writes to draw my attention to New Humanist wondering what is happening at New Scientist:

Last week we had Turkey's leading science magazine being forced to spike a story on Darwin, but could we now have a similar story somewhat closer to home? The blogosphere is awash with news that the New Scientist have pulled a piece from their website entitled "How to Spot a Hidden Religious Agenda", in which their book reviews editor Amanda Gefter explains the key signs she looks out for when deciding if a "science" book is in fact a creationist tract. At the URL where the article was, all that remains is the message, "New Scientist has received a complaint about the contents of this story. It has temporarily been removed while we investigate. Apologies for any inconvenience", along with the 643 comments the article must have received before it was pulled.The Skepticism Examiner give details of what was in the article, including what must have been the opening paragraph:

The rest is" target="another">here.

Oddly, the blog post mentions me:
Some general sentiments are also red flags. Authors with religious motives make shameless appeals to common sense, from the staid - "There is nothing we can be more certain of than the reality of our sense of self" (James Le Fanu in Why Us?) - to the silly - "Yer granny was an ape!" (creationist blogger Denyse O'Leary). If common sense were a reliable guide, we wouldn't need science in the first place.

Well, I think Gefter should try a litttle common sense, and maybe she wouldn't be in this mess.

I presume that Gefter is annoyed with me for accurately describing New Scientist as the National Enquirer of pop science mags, principally based on this performance by herself.

For the record, I was not the one who complained, although I am not in fact a creationist in any meaningful sense of the word. People like Gefter typically just say whatever they want anyway; it's better not to get into it with them. I am pretty sure that, in any event, the blogosphere isn't really awash with a tsunami of news about this. These people all take themselves way too seriously.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:


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