Sunday Sermon: Growing a pair

New Scientist’s book editor, Amanda Gefter (right), writes an article on spotting religious agendas in books about science. It has some nice tips on red-flag terms like “scientific materialism” and “Darwinism” that tend to indicate the author is probably promoting some creationist or “Intelligent Design” or other anti-evolutionary nonsense.

Then they get an angry letter from the lawyer for one of the authors mentioned in the article (James Le Fanu, whose “Why Us?” was specifically called out by name).

So they pull the article, then  later restore it, without explaining the details or reasoning behind either decision. I’m guessing what happened was the lawyer wanted to play it safe by complying with the request (lawyers are hired to keep you out of trouble, and there’s no downside for them if you play it too safe), and eventually someone figured out that it was an empty threat.

I mean, what’s the guy going to do, sue them for defamation? For claiming he’s got a religious agenda? That would mean claiming that having a religious agenda is such a bad thing that to accuse someone of it is an act of defamation. And I’m guessing this guy doesn’t actually see a religious agenda as a bad thing. Hence the mention of his book in the first place.

At any rate, it’s nice to see reason and intelligence prevailing in the end, even if it took a more circuitous path than I would have preferred.

(Amanda Gefter pic via

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: