Damian Thompson: I’ll have a swipe at lefties based on nothing other than my own suspicions while pretending to look at creationism
Creationists. What to do with them? Ignore them? Tell them off? Say they're wrong? Damian Thompson has an interesting take - he doesn't care for creationists, but there's a particular type of creationist he thinks is really bad (extreme!), and he reckons certain newspapers give this particular type of creationist an easy ride at the expense of other creationists - based on no evidence other than his own presumptions - even though these certain newspapers actually report on them, while his own paper doesn't. Confused? You will be.
The Telegraph writer opines here about... well, what is the point of the story? At first glance it appears to be about creationism causing a problem by interfering with science. But is that really the case?
Extreme Creationists have been given the use of a lecture hall at University College, London, to preach against evolutionary science. Tomorrow’s event has been organised by the college’s Islamic Society as part of “Islamic Awareness Week”. Is that why UCL doesn’t have a problem with it?
I don't know, is it? You're the journalist. Did you ask them? Or do you just want to create a leftie-PC whiff about the affair? And 'extreme' creationists - what is your measure of 'extreme'? I think all creationists are, by their nature, extreme.
Saturday’s Guardian carried a brief report of the story, but adopted the muted tone it reserves for Muslim assaults on scholarship.
Aha. Here comes the real focus of the article. Guardian = bad = it won't slag off Muslims as much as it should because it's PC and scared. Based on... well nothing other than what Damian Thompson says really.
If these had been Christian Creationists the paper would have gone bananas. Yet the Istanbul-based organisation giving the lecture holds sinister views, and is increasingly powerful in the developing world.
Would the Guardian have gone 'bananas' against Christian wingnuts more than Muslim wingnuts? Really? Why does he think that? Or is he just trying to suggest that lefties are uncomfortable talking about some Muslims' foolishness and dogma because they're worried about Muslims? I'd like to see evidence of that because that would certainly be craven, and I would speak out about it as much as anyone else. Just because you're on the left, it doesn't mean you automatically think everything the Guardian does is great. Far from it. Show me the bias, and I'll mention it here.
I can only speak for myself, for now. I think Muslims who ignore and dismiss Darwin are just as stupid as Christians who do. Is that all right with you, Damian? Or do I have to bring it up every time I talk about creationism and religion, in case you get the wrong end of the stick because of what newspaper I might read (or not read)? If I ever talk about Muslim creationists, should I say 'But oh by the way, they're just as bad as Christian ones'? Would you like that? Must I do that?
A compare/contrast between his own spectacularly brilliant newspaper and The Guardian's take on the story, then?
Oh, hang on a minute. Funnily enough, I can't seem to find where the Telegraph did report on this event. That's odd, given that Thompson tells the Guardian off for actually reporting it, but not being as scathing about Muslims as he thinks they would be about Christians. Yet his own employer couldn't be bothered to report it at all - or, if they did, they forgot to upload it to the web. So which one really is dealing with the topic - the newspaper that covered it, or the one that didn't?
For the creationist movement, it must have seemed the most miraculous of coups. The British venue for an assault on the theory of evolution was none other than a prestigious hall bearing Charles Darwin's name, built on the grounds of his former London home.
'Assault' on evolution. Blimey, they're really pulling their punches, Damian! They're practically abluting, facing east and praying with this story!
The speakers, Oktar Babuna and Ali Sadun, represent Harun Yahya, a creationist organisation which claims there was no Stone Age, that God taught parrots to talk and that Darwinism is the root of all terrorism and must be eliminated.
Mm, well I think that's called 'journalism' Damian. You see, in a column like yours, or a blog like mine, you can say things that are opinion. In a news story, which this what that Guardian piece is, you're supposed to let the facts speak for themselves. That's kind of the idea. What would you prefer - for the hack to write "The speakers represent a wrong creationist organisation that wrongly claims there was no Stone Age, wrongly claims that God taught parrots to talk and wrong claim that Darwinism is the root of all terrorism". Is that more along the lines of what you think news reporters should do? Or would that be incredibly patronising for the reader?
However, while looking back in the archive for where the Telegraph had covered the UCL event (and failing to fnid it), I do find 'Darwin's Deadly Legacy'. In which Thompson says:
Let me just say this. The notion that Darwin inspired Hitler is very big in Creationist circles just now. Islamic Creationist circles, that is. In fact, if you visit my local Islamic bookstore, you can find a whole row of books arguing that very point. They’re on the shelf next to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In the current article:
One of the main themes of my book ********* PLUG REMOVED is the spread of Islamic Creationism. Guardian and Independent readers are comfortable with the notion that Creationism is the preserve of swivel-eyed American fundamentalist Christians. They are much less comfortable with the reality that Islam is the main engine of Creationism in the world today.
As a Guardian and Independent reader, as well as a Mail, Express, Sun and occasionally Telegraph (though the standard of columnists there is shite) reader, might I just say, Damian my love, that you're talking utter, utter, utter dogshit there. I don't think in the slightest that it's the Christian Right who dominate creationism. Why would I? Why should I? Why does my choice of newspaper tell you what I think about creationism? Yes, there is Muslim creationism. And Australian aboriginal creationism, and classical Greek creationism. And all sorts of creation stories to explain the world. And yes, of the big faiths around today, Muslims are just as anti-science and stupid as Christians because they are human beings, and human beings can be pretty damned stupid when it comes to faith and devotion.
Some of them, I'm told, even believe the bollocks they read in the Telegraph. Look at your own commenters:
What you observe in the Guardian etc. is just ye plain olde racism -- most Guardian readers view brown people as either victims, drugdealers or 'freedom fighters', but never as logical people who can reason on scientific principles and who deserve to be opposed eruditely when they err, instead of their rubbish being hailed as 'natural wisdom'. That kind of rational scrutiny is reserved for white people only.
See, the thing about Guardian readers is, basically, they're racist.