A Potential Example of Quote Mining

I was reading the 2 July 2005 issue of New Scientist a couple of days ago, and the Editorial was talking about the big bang and potential problems with the theory. The second paragraph is pretty ominous:

Yet there remains something disquieting about this model. It contains a huge array of variables that can be changed pretty much at will. So flexible is it that some claim the model can be stretched to fit any observation. It also makes the highly unsatisfying prediction that only 4 per cent of all matter is accounted for by ordinary, familiar atoms. The rest is made up of utterly mysterious forms of dark matter and dark energy.

Wow! Sounds like that big old Big Bang theory is just shot full of holes, doesn't it? But the first sentence to the third paragraph is even more telling:

Cosmologists' unease is increasing following a host of recent observations that are testing the standard model and, arguably, finding it wanting.

Oh my lord! The whole thing is in shambles! But wait, there's more near the end of the editorial:

This may all sound like bad news for cosmology - an indication that it is falling apart. Nothing could be further from the truth. These are exciting times, bursting with ideas that will be put tot he test by the next generation of data-gathering instruments.

Oh...you mean, the scientists are actually gathering data and refining their theories, rather than jumping to the God-who-is-always-in-the-gaps approach? Well, read the last paragraph:

Cosmology has moved on from the realm of theological speculation. It is well and truly an experimental science, complete with its own turmoil of testable theories. It as entered a golden age.

Crud. Nothing to see here, move along.

But this scenario is something that happens all the time in the world of creationists (both in YEC and ID circles). It's called quote-mining. They pick out key phrases from science magazines and books to make it sound like evolution is in crisis, or the theories of cosmology are in dire straits. For good examples of this technique, click here and here. I'm waiting for them to use this New Scientist Editorial as irrefutable proof that science is in disarray and that the Genesis story is the only way to go.

Of course, while YECers and IDers are so worried about real science, real science moves on and finds not just one new large-sized object beyond Nepture, but two (click here and here for the details). Now that's amazing!

* Posted at 07.30.2005 09:37:17 AM CST | Link *

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