how to read between the lines

Recently the journalist Amanda Gefter wrote an article for New Scientist on how to recognise ‘science’ books with a hidden (anti-evolutionary) agenda. While that’s still available in the print version, the journal has now removed the on-line version – apparently, due to a complaint or complaints from readers. This strikes me as more than a tad hypocritical, since the NS cover ‘Darwin was wrong’ attracted considerable negative commentary & complaint (I wrote to the editors myself on that one) but remains with us. However, the web is a place where nothing, once posted, ever really disappears (scary thought! and all the more reason to take care with what you post there). So you can find the text of Amanda’s article here.

2 thoughts on “how to read between the lines”

  • I remember this article and found it quite interesting. I would take a guess that the official reason it was removed from online was for the naming and shaming of authors in her article, however it was most certainly helped largely by individuals being offended.
    I see what you mean with NS’s bias on retracting articles but this is clearly due to the ammunity from criticism any religious based theories still seem to carry (even within the scientific community). The article on Darwin I don’t think should be retracted it should be open to the same critiquing Amanda should have been free to express, saying that though NS should have known better using a phrase such as ‘Darwin was wrong’ (although I’m sure it sold magazines), it will be heavily quoted in future creationist literature.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    I agree – the Darwin article shouldn’t have been retracted – but perhaps the title should have been! The article itself was fairly innocuous & didn’t actually add much to the discussion. None of the points it made were particularly novel or contentious, but the title gave entirely the wrong impression. What really annoyed me in the Gefter case was that the editors completely ignored (or in some cases dissed) the complaints about the Darwin headline, but rolled over & said ‘woof’ in the face of a complaint about Amanda’s article. (One wonders what they – &/or the complainants – will do about the multitude of places where you can now find that article on-line.)

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