Search Engine Ethics Bulletin: Google’s Not Perfect, And That’s Not Unethical

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD...

Adam and Eve being thrown out of Eden hit the dinosaurs HARD…

Late last month, someone discovered, probably in the wake of all the pre-release publicity for “Jurassic World,” that the search “What happened to the dinosaurs?” turned up this site as its top result. This is a fundamentalist Christian site that is hilarious in its misinformation and ignorance, along with the inevitable smugness that routinely accompanies this kind of stubborn immunity to fact and logic. Here’s my favorite passage:

Representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals, including the dinosaur kinds, went aboard Noah’s Ark. All those left outside the Ark died in the cataclysmic circumstances of the Flood, and many of their remains became fossils.

Boy, that must have been some boat. Today there was news of a controversy over whether the recently discovered “heaviest dinosaur” was only 40 tons rather than the earlier estimate of 65 tons. Since the beasts boarded the Ark two by two, this is  about 80 tons for just one species of dinosaur, Dreadnoutus, to go with 84 tons of Futalognkasaurus, 78 tons of Brachiosaurus, and 32 tons of Diplodocus, and that’s without the other 700 or so dinosaur species, which are estimated to be about a tenth of the actual total. Then Noah had to fit all the other animals on the ship…green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, he didn’t take along no unicorns.

But I digress.

Google was roundly condemned and ridiculed for this top search result. Like on this website:

Screen-Shot-2015-05-26-at-2.02.10-PM

Unfair. With the millions upon millions of search queries that Google handles, of course some of the results the Google algorithm spits out will be wrong. So what? Who is so dumb that they think the results are ranked according to accuracy? Children, you say? Here’s a helpful hint: don’t let children use the internet until they understand how to use the internet.

Anyway, the system worked: once a few bloggers started writing about how stupid the first result was, it wasn’t the first result any more.

_________________

Pointer: Fark

 

22 thoughts on “Search Engine Ethics Bulletin: Google’s Not Perfect, And That’s Not Unethical

  1. Admitting that I did not follow the link to the site, I have to renew my question (nearly 6 decades old at this point): Where did all that water come from (now that we understand the rain-evaporation-condensation cycle), but more importantly where did it go on Day 41?

    Could it be that the fundamentalists engaged in some SEO to get that top spot?

    • Thousands of brilliant people have asked exactly all of those kinds of questions. And there are dozens of possible answers. The most likely one being (in my opinion) that the flood was a localized one, and that the expression that the flood covered the entire “world” in its original linguistic and cultural context would not have been understood to mean all of planet earth.

      I don’t know what the logic is of asking “where did the water go from Day 4?” concerning a text that is, in very little detail, positing that God supernaturally ordered the Universe and planet Earth. That’s like asking, “how did Jesus walk on water, if we now know that people can’t do that because SCIENCE?”

    • Is this a subtle jab at the term “rested” taken from a serious misunderstanding of the term “rested” or do you understand what the term meant and are poking even deeper fun at the anti-Judeo-Christian snark-factories?

  2. Apparently the “misinformation and ignorance, along with the inevitable smugness that routinely accompanies this kind of stubborn immunity to fact and logic” on their website is not enough. It seems that they’re building a life sized ark replica too.

  3. “don’t let children use the internet until they understand how to use the internet.”

    Now now Jack, Don’t victim blame. We can’t possibly expect parents to be responsible for themselves, let alone their children.

  4. “Representatives of all the kinds of air-breathing land animals, including the dinosaur kinds, went aboard Noah’s Ark. All those left outside the Ark died in the cataclysmic circumstances of the Flood, and many of their remains became fossils.”

    How would they possibly be able to claim to know this? Checked my Bible again; didn’t see this information there.

    That said, this outrage is pretty selective. Just Google “ghosts” for heaven’s sake. The first page of results is filled with sites claiming to have documented evidence of them. I thought everyone knew that Google results were based on popularity/number of hits and not on accuracy.

        • I had a long, frustrating discussion once with a US Chamber of Commerce consultant who maintained that dinosaurs didn’t exist, and that that fossils were created by God to test our faith. Try arguing against that theory…I’ve never been the same.

          • Buddy, you have my sympathy. I have had that very same argument, with the wife of an engineer who had a DEGREE! It amazes me that anybody can be that smart and still be so abysmally ignorant. And you cannot assume rational thought in those people, or else, as you noted, you will be changed for life, and not in a good way.

  5. Possibly the site is visited often as part of computer search classes. Often they use examples of websites that are biased or unreliable. But finding sites that are biased and/or unreliable and also “safe” for children to view is sometimes difficult.

  6. I’m sure those that were deeply aggrieved by this thought the GW Bush “Miserable failure” Google bomb was a hoot.

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