Guardian, Spiegel, and Journalistic Accuracy

on November 18, 2006

The Guardian: So what's with all the dinosaurs? & Der Spiegel: Dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden

Two major European publications, Britain's The Guardian and Germany's Der Spiegel, published mocking articles on the Creation Museum this week. Stephen Bates, in Monday's Guardian article, quipped that the Creation Museum “may, quite possibly, be one of the weirdest museums in the world.” (Of course, we agree that the museum is unique!)

Bates then drifts off the trail of objectivity, saying the Creation Museum “will be the first institution in the world whose contents, with the exception of a few turtles swimming in an artificial pond, are entirely fake.” True, the Creation Museum won't have the real Garden of Eden, only an artificial representation (we can't adequately-with our fallible minds and means-represent a perfect place). And our dinosaurs are mostly sculptures by AiG artist Buddy Davis. Yet the museum will have real fossils in addition to the artwork and displays that help explain the biblical history of the world.

It is quite obvious Bates doesn't aim for a fair handling in his story:

Theological scholars may have noticed that there are, in fact, no dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible - and here lies the Creationists' first problem. Since there are undoubtedly dinosaur bones and since, according to the Creationists, the world is only 6,000 years old - a calculation devised by the 17th-century Bishop Ussher, counting back through the Bible to the Creation, a formula more or less accepted by the museum - dinosaurs must be shoehorned in somewhere, along with the Babylonians, Egyptians and the other ancient civilisations. As for the Grand Canyon - no problem: that was, of course, created in a few months by Noah's Flood.
The Bible does mention dinosaurs; it simply does not use the word “dinosaur,” which has been around for less than 200 years.

Bates' flippant tone has slipped him up, as the Bible does mention dinosaurs; it simply does not use the word “dinosaur,” which has been around for less than 200 years. And Bates' choice of verb-shoehorn-clearly displays his failure to grasp our point of view: dinosaurs don't need to be crammed into the Bible awkwardly; rather, the existence of dinosaurs is completely consistent with the Bible.

Similar, when Bates discusses the museum's planetarium, he comments that Dr. Jason Lisle says “The sun's distance from earth did not happen by chance,” which shows astronomical design. Yet Bates then smugly remarks, “There is much more in this vein, but not what God thought he was doing when he made Pluto, or why.” That's right, since the Bible doesn't explain why God made Pluto, it certainly can't be right!-or so Bates' closed-minded logic goes.

The Spiegel article does not start out much better: “In a museum whose motto is 'Prepare to Believe!' only the Neanderthals are nowhere to be seen.” (Our museum has limited space, of course; we deal with the topic of Neanderthal Man in many articles on our website.)

Interestingly, both articles make the error of reporting the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport as being in Ohio. We won't use just this to speculate on the depth of their research and accuracy of reporting, of course.

In another error, this quotation (parts of it, at least) is used in both articles:

There are no such things. Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they’ve found, what's the word? . . . they could have been deformed, diseased or something. I’ve seen people like that running round the streets of New York.

The problem is, the Guardian article credits the statement to Patrick Marsh; the Spiegel article credits it to Ken Ham. So much for accurate reporting.

Unfortunately, the damage done by these falsehood-filled, mocking articles will not be easy to repair-even though answers to their gibes are throughout our website. (For more on how the Bible explains dinosaurs [without any “shoehorning”], see Dinosaurs and the Bible.)

Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us.

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