Slate Criticizes Heartland Science While Calling Penguins 'Mammals'

Slate Criticizes Heartland Science While Calling Penguins 'Mammals'
December 12, 2013

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

The liberal media outlet Slate embarrassed itself Tuesday by publishing an article referring to penguins as mammals, while simultaneously criticizing the Heartland Institute’s scientific writings.

In an article titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” Slate claimed the traditional incarnation of Santa Claus as “an old white male” brings “insecurity and shame” to nonwhite kids. To solve the asserted problem, Slate argued Santa Claus should hereafter take the form of a penguin, which Slate asserted is a mammal.

According to Slate, it is time to let the “universally beloved waddling mammal” take over from the old white man the chore of handing out Christmas presents.

Responding to an army of outraged readers – presumably Kindergartners – Slate thereafter discovered penguins are actually birds rather than mammals and corrected its article.

Slate’s equal part appalling, equal part comical belief that penguins are mammals calls to mind a Christmas Eve moment in my household several years ago. My wife and I spread out a map of the world and asked our two daughters where they thought Santa might be.

“I think Santa is in Turkey,” said my older daughter, then five years old.

“I think Santa is in Ham,” said my younger daughter, then four years old.

“Ham?!! Ham isn’t a country!” exclaimed my outraged five-year-old daughter.

My four-year-old daughter may not have known at the time that Ham is not a country, but even she would have been able to tell you that penguins are birds.

Which brings us back to Slate. On the very same day that Slate scientifically soiled itself by proclaiming penguins are mammals, Slate published an article criticizing the Heartland Institute on scientific matters.

Last month I published an article at Forbes.com noting that a recent survey showed only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause. Scientists have verified that my article was accurate. Nevertheless, upset that I did not make all sorts of caveats and excuses to hide the lack of scientific consensus, Slate – on the very same day that it claimed penguins are mammals – published a lengthy article attempting to smear the Heartland Institute on matters of science.

Well, we can all have our different scientific opinions, but we can’t all have our different scientific facts.

Only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause.

And at least the Heartland Institute knows that penguins are birds.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)