Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quote Of The Day

P.Z. Myers for his properly skeptical view of this:
The Buffalo Beast has an interview with sadly delusional Harold Camping, the senile old man who is predicting the end of the world on the 21st. I say "Pshht!" and "Humbug!" — it's no big deal to get an interview with that loony attention hog on the 19th; I will be impressed with the fellow who gets the first interview on the 22nd.

Camping Meets The Beast
[link from original]

I'd be impressed, too, partly because it will probably take a lot of persistence.

It's perhaps emblematic of how our mainstream news has degenerated into the circus of competing scare stories and superstitious nonsense that it is today that we have even heard of Harold Camping. Richard Dawkins, a British scientist and former professor, asked the Washington Post recently why it would even bother covering such foolishness:
Why is a serious newspaper like the Washington Post giving space to a raving loon? I suppose the answer must be that, unlike the average loon, this one has managed to raise enough money to launch a radio station and pay for billboards.

Science explains the end Of The World
I think Dawkins' supposition is at least part of the explanation, but that's hardly the end of it. They also seem to be more interested in covering this sort of thing than they are interested in doing the kind of reporting we need them to do - actually investigating things, and then telling their readers what they find. This stuff is easy - just write down what the crazy guy says, or write down what's on his billboards, and print it.

It's pretty much how they cover politics, come to think of it.

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