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We saw this show before, right? “Hiding” books about design in nature in the bookstore

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David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

In two previous posts (here and here) I’ve discussed the situation at B&N, where corporate policy apparently mandates shelving books by Meyer under “Christian Inspiration,” while putting Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion under Science. I’ve since had confirming reports from B&N customers as far afield as Durham, North Carolina; Pittsford, New York; and Silverdale, Washington.

Is there a 12-step program for compulsive re-shelving of pro-intelligent design books at your local Barnes & Noble?

No, there isn’t. There are just bookstores going under across North America, including B&Ns. More on that in a moment.

Longtime readers may recall Misshelver and At last! A MAN for Misshelver!, stories at Post-Darwinist and Uncommon Descent  respectively, that addressed earlier, lay-directed instances of reshelving books to suit one’s beliefs. Gone corporate now?

Re bookstores going under, in relation to this phenomenon: Recall the air traffic controller rule governing the behaviour of legacy mainstream media. In general, the more crucial one’s information is to a given population (think air traffic controller and pilots), the less you can monkey around with it. The less important your information is, the more you can just make it an opinionated rant. A drunk can shout anything he wants at the street lamp.

Same with bookstores. The less anyone needs them, the less they need to follow publisher guidelines about what a book’s subject is.

Now that anyone can go anywhere they want anytime on the Internet to buy any information they want, the solution is to just buy online and ignore the Misshelvers, corporate or otherwise. Use this Misshelving-free information instead (approx 3:30 EST):

Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt: 

Dawkins’s God Delusion:

See, there you have it! Meyer is religion and Dawkins is science! Or, no, wait, lemme check my notes here…

Aw, just let Barnes & Noble close.

O’Leary for News

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18 Replies to “We saw this show before, right? “Hiding” books about design in nature in the bookstore

  1. 1
    Edward says:

    Big Deal. Who buys books at B&N anymore.

  2. 2
    gmilling says:

    Whether or not we like it the courts have said that ID is religious. What is B&N supposed to do?

  3. 3
    News says:

    gmilling, this has nothing to do with courts. Publishers suggest categories, based on content, not courts. Why isn’t Amazon similarly bound?

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    gmilling, the “courts” have not declared ID to be religious. A single district court whose ruling is binding only in about 1/3 of Pennsylvania has made that ruling. For the other 49 2/3 states the issue has not been ruled on. More importantly, the Dover ruling is a “1983” case, and as such it is binding only on governments. Thus, even in the Middle District of PA, a B&N can stock the book anywhere it wants. So, to answer your question, B&N can do whatever the hell it wants; it is, after all, a private enterprise. But if it wants to maintain any sort of credibility, it should stock books in the appropriate shelves.

  5. 5
    ronvanwegen says:

    What is this “book” you speak of?

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    The book sellers are saying what the evolutionists say.
    ID/YEC is not science. its chistian/religious musings.
    Yet in reality the book folks are aggressively saying iD is not science since they know iD says it is and presents its arguments in a sciency way.
    so its propaganda. Of coarse the book sellers get agitation from evolutionists desperate to win their case by defining their opponents.
    iD is famous and dangerous because of its ideas and not because of its labels.

  7. 7
    gmilling says:

    Barry Arrington: //So, to answer your question, B&N can do whatever the hell it wants; it is, after all, a private enterprise. But if it wants to maintain any sort of credibility, it should stock books in the appropriate shelves.//

    But obviously B&N thinks that it can maintain more credibility by shelving ID books in the religion shelves rather than the science shelves. Or, more likely, it has discovered that it sells more ID books by placing them in the religion than in the science section. Do you seriously think that B&N, or any book store, is intentionally placing books that they want to sell in categories that they know will sell fewer books. Loosen the tinfoil hat.

  8. 8
    News says:

    gmilling at 7, then why didn’t Amazon do the same?

    Bricks and mortar book stores are not doing well (for unrelated reasons), and one outcome is that the business begins to be dominated by people who follow fads desperately, hoping something will click. As opposed to turnaround visionaries. Usually, nothing much clicks in that environment. But strange stuff happens.

    Incidentally, I used to write for a booksellers’ trade mag and have watched this transformation over the years. Amazon doesn’t need to try to manipulate what its customers are supposed to think they want. That is one of the social advantages of a free Internet.

  9. 9
    gmilling says:

    News: //”gmilling at 7, then why didn’t Amazon do the same?”//

    I just found Darwin’s Doubt under the Christianity category in Amazon. So, what was your point?

  10. 10
    tjguy says:

    gmilling @7

    But obviously B&N thinks that it can maintain more credibility by shelving ID books in the religion shelves rather than the science shelves. Or, more likely, it has discovered that it sells more ID books by placing them in the religion than in the science section.

    I don’t know about the credibility thing – that is nothing more than your opinion. It is not obvious at all.

    It could also be that the store owners are pro evolution and don’t want to give Meyers books any semblance of being scientific.

    However, of all three options – and there are probably more – I think your idea that possibly they found they can sell more books that way – might have some merit.

    The fact that most IDers are people of faith is well known and nothing to be ashamed of. And the fact that ID does not have a good reputation among evolutionists is also well known so perhaps they thought they could sell more books in the way they did it.

    Unfortunately, it might give some the impression that ID = religion, but that would be simplistic. No one who reads Meyer’s book is going to get the idea that it is a religious book.

    Still, you might be right.

  11. 11
    gmilling says:

    Tjguy, yes that was my point. Trying to ascribe some ideological stance on the way a book store categorizes books is just a tinfoil hat crazy conspiracy theory, just as the idea that there is a conspiracy by scientists to suppress any research that casts doubt on evolution.

    A book store is in business to sell as many books as they can. They don’t care what the book is about. If they are so opposed to religion, why do they have a big section on religion? Maybe the simple answer is that religion books sell.

    Inappropriately playing the victim (or martyr) just makes the person look foolish. As an example, just look at Gordon’s victim rants whenever anyone uses his real name, which he makes readily available on his own web site.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    gmilling:

    Whether or not we like it the courts have said that ID is religious.

    No, they have not. ONE very mistaken judge baldly declared that ID cannot separate itself from religion but that is only his uneducated opinion.

    BTW there is a conspiracy against people who argue against evolutionism.

  13. 13
    gmilling says:

    Joe: //”BTW there is a conspiracy against people who argue against evolutionism.”//

    Evidence please. Nobody is arguing that scientific theories do not develop an inertia or momentum that is difficult to break through. But this is the result of the amassing of overwhelming evidence, not a conspiracy.

    There are many examples of papers being published and not being immediate embraced. Plate tectonics and dinosaur killing asteroids being just two. Scientific journals will publish ID papers if they are supported with plausible (not irrefutable) evidence and open avenues for further testing and predictions.

    Both Dembski and Behe have presented concepts in their books that would probably be accepted in scientific journals (Behe’s chloroquine resistance mutations, for example) but they have chosen to go the non peer reviewed book option. Why is that?

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    gmilling, The evidence is all over the place and evolutionism is not a scientific theory.

    BTW the dinos were dead before the impact, otherwise their fossils would be in and above the K-T boundary. And there isn’t anything that supports unguided evolution in scientific journals. Why is that?

  15. 15
    gmilling says:

    Joe: //”gmilling, The evidence is all over the place and evolutionism is not a scientific theory.”//

    Examples please. And you saying that there is no theory of evolution does not make it so. Please do better.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Your inability to reference the alleged theory of evolution is good enough for me. As a matter of fact no one seems to be able to reference it. I would say that is evidence for my claim.

    Richard Sternberg and Ann Gauger are two examples. And if Behe didn’t have tenure he would be another. However there is Gonzalez and Hedin.

    And there still isn’t anything that supports unguided evolution in scientific journals. Why is that?

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Why do we say that there isn’t any theory of evolution?

    Because no one seems to be able to find it so people can read what it actually says.

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Why do we say that there isn’t any theory of evolution?

    Because there are multiple theories of evolution which often contradict one another and no overarching theory that unifies them all.

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