November 21, 2007

The Seoul Times: Krazy Korean Kreationists Misrepresent NOVA's "Judgment Day"

One of the ways in which I keep track of various Creationist nonsense is by maintaining a Google News account, and one of the sources that pops up most frequently on that account is The Seoul Times, a newspaper published in South Korea. As some may already be aware, South Korea has been a fertile ground for the efforts of Evangelistic fundamentalists, resulting recently in a Korean mission to Afghanistan. These missionaries were captured by the Taliban and had to be ransomed by their government. Long story short, stupidity isn't an inherent property of American fundamentalism but an emergent property of fundamentalism the world over.

Whenever The Seoul Times shows up in my newsreader, it's because they've published some article or column supporting Creationism. Typically, this will have been written by Babu Ranganathan, a fanatical science-denier whom this newspaper appears to have given a carte blanche forum to publish his ignorant screeds. In just the past month (since October 24), they've published at least four such articles by Ranganathan and, while I haven't kept count, I think they've published at least two dozen of his pieces in the last year. I've previously written a thorough debunking of Ranganathan's nonsense, and those interested can have a read at their leisure.

This morning, however, The Seoul Times deigned to publish a letter to the editor by Samuel Wiggenton that was appropriately critical of Ranganathan. In his letter, Mr. Wiggenton mentions the recent NOVA documentary, Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial:

A recent two-hour Nova documentary called "Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" accurately detailed the events of the case. I would recommend it to anyone interested in intelligent design movement. The link is posted below.

I am extremely disappointed that The Seoul Times would publish this kind of writing.

Strikingly, The Seoul Times did something very misleading based on Wiggenton's mention of the documentary; they ran a photograph on the page that they seem to be claiming is from Jugment Day, but it isn't. Instead, the photo appears to be taken from a program run on The Discovery Channel, and it depicts two men standing in a room with guns on the walls. The image included with this entry is a screen capture I made of the page including Wiggenton's letter and the image in question, which is captioned "Recent two-hour Nova documentary Judgement Day — Intelligent Design on Trial."

Considering the track record that this newspaper has had, particularly in its seeming love affair with Babu Ranganathan, I find it quite likely that this isn't a mistake but some sort of commentary about their view of Judgment Day, the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, those who speak out in favor of evolution in general, or perhaps all three. Is this to be taken as a threatening image, or is this something to cast aspersions upon those outside the Creationist "cdesign proponentsist" fold? Clearly, the image isn't from where the caption claims it to have originated.

I have tried before to find out who owns The Seoul Times and why they have the slant they have when it comes to issues of science and religion. I've been unsuccessful in those efforts, though. I think it would be interesting to find out more about who owns this paper and why their editorial policy is what it is. I suspect, though I cannot demonstrate, that it will turn out that some religious concern has a large stake in the publication.

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