A Representative Example of Intellectual Dishonesty in the pathlights.com Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia (1997)
The pathlights.com Creation-Evolution Encyclopedia may very well have the dubious honor of being the worst piece of creationist literature ever written. In this paper, I will examine a passage representative of the lack of integrity and low intellectual caliber demonstrated throughout the Encyclopedia as a whole.
In The Origin of Matter - 1, we find the following statement:
The Encyclopedia dismisses Gamow as a science fiction writer because of his popularizations of science such as the by all accounts excellent Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland (1957. New York: Cambridge), without mentioning the following interesting facts (drawn from a paper by science writer John Gribbin):
That's some science-fiction writer.
So why did the Encyclopedia editors fail to mention the facts listed above? Why did they suggest that Gamow was a mere science fiction writer rather than a top-notch physicist, and that he conveyed his ideas entirely through cartoons rather than through peer-reviewed technical papers? I can think of only two possible explanations: either the editors did not bother to perform the rudimentary research necessary to establish the listed facts (it took me five minutes with AltaVista to find Gribbin's paper), or else they chose to deliberately suppress the above facts, perhaps incorrectly reasoning that lies of omission are not lies. Either way, their actions (or lack thereof) reflect severe intellectual dishonesty on their part, especially since their omissions tarnish the reputation of a physicist who has made noted contributions to the advancement of science.
I would like to thank Bill Schultz for helpful feedback on this article, and John Gribbin for his article on Gamow. Also special thanks to Roger Scott and Mike Hopkins for bringing to my attention two embarrassing errors I made in an earlier version of this paper.
Copyright © 2002, Mark I. Vuletic. All rights reserved.
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