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This headline brings up pictures of Nazis ransacking bookshops during the Third Reich and throwing books onto fires.

But, no, it was just a bit of fanciful hysteria in an email I received from the Discovery Institute, the creationist/intelligent design “think tank” in Seattle, USA. And of course they had to blame Darwin! The actual headline was “Vandalizing Bookstores and Censoring Books in the Name of Darwin.”

This was their unbalanced reaction to a blogger who reported re-shelving  creationist books he found in the science section of his local bookshop into the religion section. I guess there are also offended Christians who re-shelve Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion from the religion to science shelves as well. There are certainly some who place religious pamphlets in copies of atheist books.

What a lot of hysteria about nothing. Their claim is silly: “his actions constitute censorship, pure and simple. Barton is trying to hide books he doesn’t like in order to prevent others from being exposed to views with which he disagrees. Indeed, he is apparently so insecure about the ability of Darwinists like Dawkins to make their case that he thinks he has the duty to vandalize private bookstores in order to keep the books of Darwin’s critics away from the public. Barton’s activities are not only juvenile, they may well be illegal.”

Just imagine the poor policemen who has to listen to that complaint!

Personally, I find bookshops shelve their books haphazardly anyway. I always have difficulty finding the books I am looking for. As for voluntary re-shelving – I must admit to hiding Eve’s Bite whenever I see it no matter the shelf (sorry, Ian, just joking). But why bother re-shelving. This is the way I see it:

  1. If creationist books are wrongly placed in the science section this should reduce sales as creationists usually don’t visit that section. They would sell better in the religion section. Just imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you were forced into the religion section when looking for a science book. Many science people would give up looking before that resorted to that.
  2. It’s not as if a non-creationist is going to buy the book while perusing possible science purchases. Unless they really want to anyway to use as a reference.
  3. If creationists are forced unwittingly into looking at shelves of science books in their desire to find a specific creationist book that can be only a good thing, surely.

So I say live and let live. It will all work out well in the end.

Mind you, it is fun watching the Discovery Institute foam at the mouth.

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