Monday, February 15, 2010
Tempest, Meet Teacup!
There's been a mini-fracas (defined as: the Undiscovery Institute and other ID apologists having a cow about science supporters re-shelving creationist works from the "science" section of bookstores to the "religion" section). The "culprit" in this case was the inestimable Michael Barton of The Dispersal of Darwin and he has a summary, with links, of the whole giggle-fest.
I have to confess that I would not re-shelve books myself, unless the store's catalog showed that they were wrongly shelved in the first place, because it is often hard enough to find books I want to find, especially in the big chain stores, and I wouldn't want to make it harder for anyone who wants to read to find what they want to read, even if it is dreck. Ken Perrott at Open Parachute has a nice take on it:
[W]hy bother re-shelving. This is the way I see it:
1. If creationist books are wrongly placed in the science section this should reduce sales as creationists usually don't visit that section. They would sell better in the religion section. Just imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you were forced into the religion section when looking for a science book. Many science people would give up looking before that resorted to that.
2. It's not as if a non-creationist is going to buy the book while perusing possible science purchases. Unless they really want to anyway to use as a reference.
3. If creationists are forced unwittingly into looking at shelves of science books in their desire to find a specific creationist book that can be only a good thing, surely.
So I say live and let live. It will all work out well in the end.
Mind you, it is fun watching the Discovery Institute foam at the mouth.
Whether re-shelving results in a net good to that part of American society that can even find its way to a bookstore ... or recognize what it is selling ... is an open question.
But what isn't open to debate is that the DI and their fellow apologists are making fools of themselves ... even more than usual.
Where the books are shelved is now up to the publisher.
Personally, I'd like to see the religious books and the woo filed in the large red bin just outside the back of the building.
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