A technical clarification re "New Scientist"

by Doug Mason 5 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    The following is not a criticism of the WTS. I am providing this for technical clarification and my expectation for accuracy.

    Endnotes 43 and 45 on page 27 of the WTS’s brochure, “The Origin of Life” refer to the New Scientist periodical of 30 May 2009.

    The text in the WTS’s brochure does not match the text of the New Scientist’s online article. Further investigation shows that the online text does not accurately replicate the text that appeared in print in the physical magazine. The WTS’s brochure matches the print version of New Scientist.

    In an email response dated 9 August 2019, New Scientist advised me:


    “Thank you for your observation, which has been passed to me. As an increasing proportion of publications do, we put news and comment articles online as soon as they are ready. We then cut them to fit the space available in print. Sometimes, as in the case you highlight, this involves rewriting, often to make the text denser and perhaps crisper - and always to fit a rectangular page.”


    So I asked Professor Beard, writer of the item in question, about the amendments to his text and the addition of artwork. In an email of 10 August 2019, Professor Beard responded:


    “My recollection is that both the online and print versions of my original piece were edited by the staff at New Scientist. The prose in the online version is closer to what I originally wrote, but even that version was edited. I think they were trying to emphasize the PR aspects of the episode in the print version of the magazine. The cladogram shown in the online version was produced by New Scientist and not by me. It has some serious problems, notably including the omission of tarsiers and showing ‘Ida’ and other adapiforms as being nested within lorises and lemurs rather than being outside the crown clade, as they should be.”


    Email me if you want to see the direct comparison of the online and print version of Professor Beard's opinion piece in the New Scientist.

    Professor Beard referred me to a contemporary 2009 article of his that appeared in “The American Scientist, Volume 97, September-October 2009, pages 410-413. It is available online at: https://www.americanscientist.org/article/the-weakest-link

    I hope that online text accurately reflects the print version. I have not checked.


  • iwantoutnow

    2 things!

    1. Out of all science based magazines, the New Scientist is the least reliable and has a pretty bad reputation in the science community.

    2. I my years of giving talks at District Assemblies where the WT OFTEN used quotes outside sources to prove ITS points, I found discrepancies and TOTAL misrepresentations almost on every occasion. It was one of the things that helped me see the WT is a cult.

  • tiki

    Intellectual dishonesty is a hallmark of the cult.

  • GetMeOutofHere

    Academic dishonesty disturbs me too. It completely discredits the organization. But then to point these things out would be frowned upon to say the least as fault finding / murmuring or even apostate thinking! We just want some honesty!

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    All journalistic articles including scientific ones are subject to the editing demands of the medium being used. If a news item or a subject comes up with which you are personally familiar or intimate with, in my experience it is quite usual to find discrepancies.

    Your clarification, Doug, has been helpful. It stresses the need to look at more than one information source, however well regarded. The same applies to the wonderful but not authoritative, Wikipedia.

    At the other end of the scale for information, the JW org ignores and avoids academic research altogether-- unless by chance it happens to agree with their point of view. Not a sensible or honest organisation.

  • Vidiot

    Once again, for the newbies, lurkers, and trolls...

    ...if you have to cheat to defend your beliefs, your beliefs don’t deserve to be defended.

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