It would seem New Scientist magazine recently decided to sacrifice credibility in the field of research. Journalistic research, anyway.
In their recent article titled, "Science heroes and villains of 2008," New Scientist has taken the liberty of naming some noteworthy individuals in the field. As their opening salvo states (emphasis mine):
The collective brain of New Scientist has come up with 8 scientist heroes of the year and people to look out for in 2009, 3 non-scientists who deserve special mention - and two possible bad guys.
Apparently, the collective brain has recently slipped into a vegetative state.
Of the three non-scientists who deserve special mention, one is Philip Munger, an editor of the Progressive Alaska blog, guest of Air America radio broadcasts, and Daily Kos loon. His contribution to science that earns him the status of hero? Claiming that Sarah Palin once told him that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. Ah, my hero. Einstein, Newton, Hawking... and Munger, of course!
New Scientist outlines Munger's credentials as a noteworthy scientific force:
Philip Munger, a music teacher and blogger in a Wasilla, Alaska, high school, did his bit for science in September. Munger confirmed that Sarah Palin, then the US Republican nominee for vice-president, believed that dinosaurs and humans coexisted 6000 years ago. Plenty of scientists offered their advice to the presidential candidates, but we nominate Munger for doing his bit to counter creationism.
Confirmed? What exactly did New Scientist uncover as confirmation that no else has been able to thus far?
The truth is that neither Munger, New Scientist, nor any other pseudo-intellectual that makes this claim has confirmed anything other than that they are willing to spread ridiculous rumors to attract readers.
While most of the informed public realizes that the debate about Sarah Palin's belief in the coexistence of dinosaurs and humans has long been put to rest, New Scientist instead revives the non-issue by rewarding some far left kook for a baseless claim he made regarding a decade old alleged conversation - a statement that nobody else has ever heard Palin make. Very scientific.
His claim certainly withstands the burden of scientific proof that one would expect from a magazine called New Scientist.
Munger's scientific breakthrough was a result of an LA Times article by the oft delusional Stephen Braun, a mainstay of the Palin-bashing section of the newspaper. A look through Braun's archives shows a borderline infatuation with Governor Palin, an infatuation which was quite frequent leading up to this year's election, but has since stopped altogether. It's all in the timing, I suppose.
The Braun article cites Munger as a reliable source, but his claim is no more reliable than the collection of fake quotes from Governor Palin that circulated earlier in the year. Information that only a dolt like Matt Damon could take seriously, and that one would hope New Scientist would quickly brush off as liberal insanity.
Surprisingly enough, one of the other three special mentions for science hero of 2008? President-elect Barack Obama. Perhaps New Scientist is hoping to be nominated as a Bias Hero of 2008?