Don’t go down this road, BBC

I’m warning you. It’s a disaster waiting to build: when the newspapers start reporting creationist versions of stories without questioning them, without providing explanations of the fallacies, and without even bringing in authoritative scientific voices to knock their claims down, all you do is feed the confidence of the creationists. It’s even worse than “he said she said” journalism. That’s exactly what the BBC has done, though, with a piss poor story about attendees at Ken Ham’s preposterous creationist “museum”.

I’m going to be charitable and assume the author intended to hang the creationists with their own words; the quotes from the people going to the “museum” do make them sound like ignorant hicks. In particular, one pull quote — Why is Darwin buried with kings at Westminster Abbey? He’s not a king. — is a great big flashing idiot light, and will be especially noticeable in the UK (hint: they don’t just bury kings in Westminster…unless, of course, Isaac Newton and Herschel and Lyell and many other scientists were crowned when I wasn’t looking).

But still, look at the article as a creationist would. It’s going to go in a scrapbook or on a wall of reviews at the “museum”, and the gomers will stroll through, read it, and nod approvingly. Those quotes affirm their own beliefs; all they’ll see is that the BBC approvingly quoted sentiments they share. And there will be readers in England, even, who will be oblivious to the very understated sarcasm, and will be cheered further in their support of creationism. And other reporters will see that as a perfectly reasonable way to write a news story, and the plague of bland reporting will spread.

This part was simply disingenuous.

President and founder Ken Ham stayed resolutely silent about the fossil, called Darwinius masillae, which scientists believe was linked to an early human ancestor.

I’m sorry, but if you go to the Answers in Genesis web site, Darwinius masillae is featured top center in a big full color banner. To claim that Ham was resolute or silent is false: he’s been lying noisily and frantically about the fossil record.

Trust me, it’s been happening over here. Every article about creationism needs to eschew the subtleties and pound hard on the obvious, that creationism is bunk and its proponents are ignorant, because the creationists don’t get subtlety.