Breaking News: Science Disproves the Bible
Briefly, traditional media worldwide swallowed the claim that the Bible said the Canaanites were wiped out. No one apparently knew that the opposite is the case, or cared, in any event.
A study in genomic sciences that was on most counts not newsworthy has made big headlines in recent days, both in the media’s initial declarations and in the ensuing reaction. The cynic in me suspects that the whole thing was predictable from the very get-go.
No one need be a cynic today to predict that. Woodward and Bernstein are retired, okay? Today’s soon-to-be-let-go hack often has a huge load of angst and grievances against the nature of things, without the talent to express it well. He’d be working somewhere else if he did.
Of course, these claims are wrong. It’s explicit in the Bible that the Israelites did not take Sidon. It’s also plain that they didn’t even wipe out the Canaanites in the territories they did conquer—sometimes this was a failure, and sometimes this was actually divinely-approved, as in the case of Rahab and her family (I would argue for other cases, but let’s leave that aside for now). Most people recognize the difference between a command and the narrative of the performance of the command, and some reporters oddly overlooked this distinction. So, showing that modern-day Lebanese descend from “Canaanites” is hardly a problem for the Bible!
There can be no doubt that the headline writers, and many of the reporters, got it wrong—and that they could easily have saved themselves the egg-on-the-face experience by asking someone who reads the Bible. I will leave it to the journalists’ profession to improve how they do these things. Others (preferably journalists themselves) can explore why this was so easy a trope to resort to; I’d like to explore something else.More.
Good for Collins to explore something else where he is an undoubted expert. As a lifetime news hack, I can only say, keep abreast of the basic reason we cannot now trust traditional media sources: They were once gatekeepers of news and in the age of the internet, masses of information worldwide is available via a few keystrokes. They are Dobbin the cart horse in the age of the van.
The real threat, however, is from the social media companies who make information available — or maybe not. I recommend Milo Yiannopoulos’s book Dangerous, to give some sense of the issues. Doubtless, others will be along shortly. Just make sure you can hear about them.
See also: Why much science reporting is on the way out, along with the traditional media that support it
‘Dangerous’: Milo Yiannopoulos delights to provoke: The book by the gay conservative provocateur is not nearly as Dangerous as the social media world he exposes.