We can’t hear you, and we need to.
In 2008, Suzan Mazur published The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry That is, “Will the real theory of evolution please stand up?”
The book revealed what we all sensed, that many evolutionary biologists and colleagues in allied disciplines doubted that Darwinism (natural selection acting on random mutation) is the chief source of variation in life forms. In so doubting, they demonstrated a commitment to reason and evidence. But they didn’t thrill the many plods and timeservers who shove Darwinism at the public as “”evolution.”
Science journalism today usually means waving pom poms at “scienceyness.” So we naturally wondered who is actually providing a venue for a serious look at the evidence?
It turned out that much of Altenberg 16, largely interviews, could be read online at a independent publication, New Zealand’s Scoop.
Naturally, I was curious about the publication and its editor, Alastair Thompson. Mazur offers a look here:
I had the best start an American journalist could hope for over four decades ago, as a writer at Hearst Magazines. But by the late 1980s, I began looking to the British print media for more internationally savvy showcases, finding The Economist magazine particularly receptive to my stories. The editors at the old Economist understood the world, the magazine took lovely risks, its language was rich, its satirical art exhilarating, and I later developed a similar relationship with the Financial Times. But when those two publications entered the US market in a big way and had to accommodate a more conservative mainstream audience, I began to look further away for venues, for “fiercely independent” online venues. In 2004, I found what I was looking for in New Zealand’s Scoop Media, following an introduction to Alastair Thompson by Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari.
Alastair Thompson was fairly young at the time, with tremendous revolutionary zeal, sporting a blonde ponytail. While the ponytail is now gone, Alastair’s enthusiasm for raw truth in journalism persists.
It’s rare in publishing when a journalist finds an editor and publisher (we have never actually met) who is both hands-off content and will defend the writers he presents. Not only has Alastair showcased and syndicated my stories for a decade, he has personally run my stories in forums, like Democratic Underground – taking on the Darwin fundamentalists and other cultists, e.g.
It was Alastair who, in 2008, single-handedly generated an E-book from my assorted evolution stories featured on Scoop, a book that infuriated the science establishment because it went out in front of an emerging story about evolution paradigm shift. Commenting on the first article published: “Altenberg! The Woodstock of Evolution?” — Science magazine noted my reporting “reverberated throughout the evolutionary biology community.”
Then the science establishment began to imitate the reporting. The catchy title “Woodstock of evolution” was used — without attribution — by Nature magazine months later on its cover to promote its own story on Altenberg. Under public pressure, Nature was forced to run a “Correction” admitting first use by me in Scoop online. Nature would not acknowledge, however, that “the Altenberg 16” — which had become a famous term in science circles — was coined online in the same Scoop story.
I wish the science media had imitated her kind of coverage more. Many have just bought themselves bigger pom poms.
But that, in fairness, is probably what many “sciencey”-minded readers want. Genuine curiosity about how the world works is probably as rare as it has ever been, and seeking confirmation of what earns a safe living, with a chance to feel superior to one’s neighbours, is as common as ever.
Readers will recall that I’ve also been offering snippets from Mazur’s current book, The Origin of Life Circus, including this one: “Origin of life: Highlights of Suzan Mazur’s interview with researcher Corrado Spadafora”
Anyway, one might bookmark Mazur at Scoop. Or as some of us like to say, find out what’s going on while it is still safe to know.
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