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Misleading science headline of the day

September 10, 2007

A couple weeks ago, Kim used the same post title I am above regarding an article about subsidence of the Mississippi River.

Today, I’m going to pick on ScienceDaily for this one:

Marine Team Finds Surprising Evidence Supporting A Great Biblical Flood

It’s an article about ongoing work in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions where evidence of ancient civilizations and their fates are being integrated with more and better environmental information. What was the climate like? Where was sea level? Etc. And the article actually talks about the vessel and the program in general more so than any specific results.

This headline is misleading on many accounts. Why is the evidence “surprising”? What does ‘biblical’ mean? Ideas and evidence about the breaching of the Bosphorus and flooding of the Black Sea have been around for some time. The one paragraph in the article that even mentions this (about halfway through) seems to me more like additional confirmation…not ‘surprising evidence’.

I am so frustrated with what is clearly some editor’s decision to change the title to something ‘punchier’ and ‘sexier’ to attract readers. Not only is it misleading to what the article is about, it is misleading regarding the state of the science of timing and nature of the significant environmental and physiographic changes our planet has seen since the last glacial maximum (~18,000 years ago).

I urge everyone to go out there and nit-pick and complain about other science news articles. If we don’t, who will? Besides, it’s a nice release if you’re frustrated with it.

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