The recent DNA-related discovery that revealed the ancient Canaanites survived, contrary to what is written in the Bible, has gotten people talking over the past few days. But with the coverage of this story expanding far beyond that of your typical scientific discovery, there have also been some critical voices suggesting that online media may have been trying to mislead people into thinking that the Bible was wrong.
In an attempt to vet the many reports that had come out at that time on the ancient Canaanites’ apparent survival, Evolution News & Science Today warned readers on Friday about looking too much into the stories, and getting duped into “slamming” the Bible. The publication also accused news outlets of “tendentiously (trying) to manipulate readers” into such action, hence its decision to write an opinion piece commenting on the Canaanite DNA study’s media coverage.
In its “About” page, Evolution News describes itself as a website that offers “original reporting and analysis” on science topics, primarily evolution, neuroscience, and bioethics. The publication also advertises its coverage of science’s impact on culture, as well as “conflicts over free speech and academic freedom” in science. Aside from these articles, Evolution News does fact-checks and critical pieces of media coverage of scientific issues, which is what the publication did with the Canaanite survival coverage of the past few days.
The Old Testament references Canaanite cities' destruction. But Canaanite DNA may live on in Lebanese people. https://t.co/6oQrnRuNHk
— Science News (@ScienceNews) July 27, 2017
After citing several publications which allegedly had misleading headlines regarding the recent study, and acknowledging the paper as a “solid” piece of research, Evolution News went straight to the point, noting that the Bible, contrary to what was written, did not make any mention of a complete wipeout of the Canaanite people. EN also criticized the writers of the articles it mentioned for being lacking in cultural literacy, and not doing their homework when it comes to the Bible.
“The Bible is detailed and unambiguous in relating that the Canaanites survived Joshua’s invasion,” wrote Evolution News‘ David Klinghoffer.
“So it’s no wonder they have living descendants. I’m not here to pass judgment on ancient Canaanites or ancient Israelites, on the Bible, Joshua, or anyone else. But come on, reporters, where’s your elementary cultural literacy, of which knowing a thing or two about the Bible is a key element?”
Terribly researched article. Bible says several times that Israel failed to destroy the Canaanites. https://t.co/IWpNCESec0
— Abraham Blondeau (@AbrahamBlondeau) July 28, 2017
To be precise, EN cited the first chapter of Judges, which details a list of places in Israel where the Canaanites survived after supposedly being wiped out.
Some of the publications listed by EN as having misleading headlines on how the Canaanites survived the annihilation written about in the Bible include U.K.-based news sites such as the Telegraph, the Independent, and the Daily Mail, and the well-known science and technology website Ars Technica.
The journal Science was another website Klinghoffer called out in his piece for Evolution News. While he acknowledged that the journal did update its original article with an editor’s correction, Klinghoffer opined that Science should have made it clear in the title that the Canaanites “definitely survived, in large numbers.”
“The original headline? ‘Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites.’ It should be, ‘Ancient DNA confirms biblical account…'”
A look at the re-titled article from Science shows the title now reading as “Ancient DNA reveals fate of the mysterious Canaanites.”
Evolution News was not alone in its observations on the DNA study’s media coverage. “Progressive Christian” blog site Patheos was another publication that had some critical comments levied against well-known news sites writing about the Canaanites having survived the events written about in the Bible.
Similar to a report from the Inquisitr published earlier today, Patheos’ James McGrath pointed out that historians have made reference to the Canaanites, noting that the Phoenicians “were a Canaanite people.” Likewise, McGrath also wrote that the Bible is “very clear in places” that the people of Canaan weren’t fully wiped out.
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