April 19, 2008

Can't/Don't Touch the Ground

A friend and I were trying to explain the game "Can't Touch the Ground" to his son the other day, as we spent quite a bit of time playing this together as kids, we considered ourselves "hall of famers" so to speak.  So I was quite intrigued to see an online advertisement* yesterday showing a man leaping through the air under the headline "Don't Touch the Ground!".  Clicking through led me to this site advocating for land mine awareness.  Their hook is that they drafted a free runner to see if he could cross 50,000m2 of London landscape without touching the ground.  The video and map interface are pretty cool and worth checking out, but my real point is that my friend, my brother and I pretty much invented this whole thing when we were about 6 years old and somebody should really update that Wikipedia page.

* So, the advertisement was on this page at Scientific American's website.  I found the article because it had made its way up to the del.icio.us popular page and I'm always intrigued by anything with a slightly "religious" theme that does so - 99% of the time it is something along these lines or a neoatheist diatribe, which I guess is also along those lines - not surprising considering the constituency I guess.  Anywho, the article itself doesn't really excite me - it is pretty typical stuff pitting science vs. religion and in some places this one is more charitable than most towards religion, but what interested me was the title of the article.  "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense.  

Again, the article isn't surprising and in the interest of full disclosure I am a person of faith who has a firm belief in a creator God and when reading this and other pieces like it that faith is in no way threatened.  But, "creationist nonsense"?  I don't read Scientific American but I assume that it is a reputable periodical with a professional editorial board so since when has it become ok with the AP style guide that you characterize one side (either side) of a debate as "nonsense"?!  I would be equally appalled if a theological journal presented a similar but opposing viewpoint with a headline reading "15 Answers to Evolutionary Nonsense."  I would have expected a journal like Scientific American to be more interested in advancing civil discourse rather than petty cheap shots.  As you can see from the screen grab above the article was originally penned in June of 2002 but it made its way up to the del.icio.us popular page just yesterday - I assume it is being forwarded around in response to Ben Stein's new movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed - which from the early reviews that I've read doesn't seem to do any better job of advancing such discourse than Scientific American.  

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