Lesson in misinformation


What amazing information a child can find in the Sun Journal! In this case, it was misinformation, in the “Invention Mysteries: What inventions come from Iraq?” printed Feb. 22. Some examples:

• The so-called Dead Sea Scrolls were found on the West Bank of the Jordan River, bordering Israel, in 1947. Iraq had nothing to do with them. And do they represent an invention at all?

• Noah’s Ark was “probably” located in many places by local residents: Iraq has no better claim than Turkey, Iran and Armenia. To imply that the Ark’s resting place exists and has been found in Iraq is misleading to children and, frankly, ridiculous.

• The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were, if they existed as described by Strabo and other historians, a man-made and not a natural wonder. The “invention” that is likely to have made them possible is a chain pump or other device to raise the water of the Euphrates to the top of the gardens; but a pump is neither mentioned nor alluded to by the article. There’s no evidence of such a pump, of course, but neither is there any evidence of the Garden of Eden.

Paul Niemann’s careless fact-checking makes the article one to use in the classroom only with great caution, a healthy pinch of skepticism and an assignment to corroborate his claims. Perhaps he should spend more time on research and less on making jokes about flat tires.

Kathleen Lynch, Temple