go outside and check.
That's the wise advice of my friend and co-author, Wesley Elsberry.
It seems particularly apt this week, with yet another outbreak of creationist misrepresentation:
- Over at Uncommon Descent, William Dembski claims, citing Michael Asher, that "The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming." Only problem is, the American Physical Society has done nothing of the sort. Instead, the APS's Forum on Physics & Society has published an issue with two opposing articles, one in favor of the human-caused global warming theory and one attempting to cast doubt on it. The latter article was written by Christopher Monckton, a man with apparently no scientific training who has a history of statements of debatable veracity.
Even Asher himself has been forced to concede that his description of the Forum on Physics & Society's issue was incorrect, admitting in an update at the bottom in a much smaller typeface that "After publication of this story, the APS responded with a statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large."
- Next, at The Panda's Thumb, Nick Matzke points out that Casey Luskin gets nearly everything wrong when describing the Alternberg meeting. Luskin claims the NCSE opposed the meeting for political reasons (false; it didn't oppose it at all) and that Rutgers philosopher Jerry Fodor was one of the Alternberg 16 (false, as one can easily check here). Even more importantly, Luskin imagines the meeting as some sort of significant challenge to the theory of evolution, when in fact the participants claim just the opposite.
- Finally, I've been contacted by some cretin named Bill Crofut, who proclaims himself a "an unlettered Traditional Roman Catholic, militant young-Earth Biblical creationist and geocentrist". Crofut proffered a quote by Birch and Ehrlich from a 1967 Nature article as evidence against evolution. Only problem is, the quote was stripped of context and is a well-known quote mine. When confronted with the evidence of his misrepresentation, Crofut told me he was "a son of Satan".
I don't think creationists are always dishonest, but (1) they uncritically accept anything that supports their view instead of examining it critically and (2) they are not particularly concerned with making sure that their sources are correct.