Saturday, January 20, 2007

Skeptic Magazine Not Quite Skeptical Enough [Serge]

I found this quite funny. Last week Michael Shermer's Skeptic Magazine published an article that claimed that the US Park Service at the Grand Canyon told their employees that they were not to tell visitors the age of the Grand Canyon. Here is the article in question, which starts like this:

If you thought that censoring talk about global warming and suppressing the free speech of government scientists was bad enough, last December the government reached a new low. According to documents released on Dec. 28, 2006 by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Bush administration appointees will not allow rangers at Grand Canyon National Park to mention that the earth is more than a few thousand years old.
When I read this I was far more skeptical than Skeptic magazine. It turns out that Shermer did pretty much nothing to verify this claim before he published it. Here is him eating some serious crow:

Unfortunately, in our eagerness to find additional examples of the inappropriate intrusion of religion in American public life (as if we actually needed more), we accepted this claim by PEER without calling the National Park Service (NPS) or the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) to check it.

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