Category police | Bleader

Friday, August 3, 2007

Category police

Posted By on 08.03.07 at 07:15 AM

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The practice isn't new, but the blog is: Biologists Helping Bookstores, wherein "Ste" makes sure that pseudo-scientific tomes by Michael Behe (for example) are properly shelved under Religion and not under Science. (Hat tip to Whet.)

Comments there and at Marginal Revolution fall into several categories, among them:

* outraged bookstore employees, who point out that they have to reshelve the darn books, or else they can't find them when they're not where the computer says.

* amused bookstore employees, who figure they're paid by the hour, so whatever.

* smart bookstore employees, who point out that if Behe is found under Science, it may have nothing to do with bookstore policy -- it may well be because a fundamentalist "helpfully" reshelved it there.

The blog is amusing, a lesser example of the genre in which Dan Savage's account of his doorknob-licking exploit some years back is without peer. And as someone who once found Kierkegaard's Sickness Unto Death filed in the "Health and Wellness" section at a book sale, I can't help but sympathize.

But really. Most people don't go to bookstores. Of those who do, few care how books are shelved. Of those who care, few will notice this reshelving crusade. Of those who notice, few will get the point.

Is "Ste" also doing something actually helpful, like following U of C biologist Jerry Coyne on the public lecture circuit to do the hard work of explaining to folks why Behe and his ilk are not, in fact, offering a scientific hypothesis, mistaken or otherwise?

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