Archive for January 20th, 2011

I’ve been used!

20 January 2011

By Juliana Adelman

In theory, there is nothing more exciting for the academic than to find that her work has actually been read by someone and even, gasp, cited!  It is less exciting, however, to discover it being mustered in the cause of intelligent design.  Someone in cyberspace has seized upon an article of mine as evidence that evolution never happened.  Mind you my article does not have much at all to do with evolution or intelligent design.  Instead it is about the importance of personality, reputation and media exposure in the consolidation of scientific opinion.  Nonetheless, since I do mention Darwin one time it was doubtless this that brought the article to the reader’s googling.  I am not going to provide a link to the website, but if you are curious you can google ‘Eozoon’ and it will come up.

The fact that my article is being used by a pro-creationist lobby is slightly disturbing, although I have to admit that the lobbiest in question clearly read and understood the article and used my ideas in a rather subtle and clever attack on scientific authority.  While most historians of science are neither creationists nor relativists, recent historiographical trends have offered ample ammunition for these groups to seize upon.  Historical narratives depicting a heroic quest for scientific truth are now limited to popular science.  Instead, we tell stories of how one idea gathered support at the expense of others offering diverse nonscientific causes including social, political and cultural needs. Read more