As politics go, we’re surprised so many readers expect us or any publication to provide “balance,” which reflects a belief in the fallacy that there are two equally valid sides to every story. You see this in the debate over global warming and evolution. Thousands of scientists stand on one side of the issue, recognizing that global warming is a problem and that evolution is firmly established, while only a few detractors stand on the other.

That’s a statement I can applaud. Guess where it is from? Pharyngula! Not PZ himself, of course. But he says a reader sent in the quote from “this month’s Playboy”.

Of course, it could just be a nasty rumour. I couldn’t find anything on Google. And I can’t get the magazine here.1 But I did find something choice that makes me think it could just be true, that Playboy's editorial stance is a lot more principled than almost any other source of news.

One of the winners of the Playboy Foundation's Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award for 2006 is a teacher who campaigned to preserve science education.

Patricia Princehouse, Ph.D. (Education): The leader of Ohio Citizens for Science who, seeing a profound and rising challenge to the separation of church and state in American schools, organized a successful coalition to preserve science education in Ohio’s public schools.

Princehouse gave a good acceptance speech, which I just read in The Nation. It resonated with me, not least for deeply personal reasons that I may go into some other time. For now, I liked one of the reasons she gave when asked why she is so focused on evolution and science education, rather than on something like general literacy.

If we allow certain special-interest religious groups to co-opt the public school science classroom, to use it as a vehicle for converting children to religious views their parents don’t hold, if we allow them to spout outright lies about the nature and content of science, what do we really have left? If you can lie about science and get away with it, you can lie about anything.

Yup! Lies! Go, Dr Princehouse. Go Playboy.

2022-08-14: Ohio Citizens for Science seems to have gone extinct. Patricia Princehouse has not. Not entirely.

  1. 2022-08-14: The only other places I found the quote had it directly from PZ, so if anyone has access to back issues of Playboy, please stand the story up, as it were. 

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