DN Reader David O’Hare passed along a tip to me yesterday to try googling: “What happened to the dinosaurs”. Here is the surprising and highly misguided result:
The top result is from Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham‘s fundamentalist, anti-science, Christian group who believes that dinosaurs existed with humans and they are really a means to fool children into accepting SCIENCE over the Bible. (How I wish I didn’t have to keep mentioning this guy over and over and calling attention to his Creationist agenda and utter absurdity, but he’s like stink on a skunk, he won’t go away.) I asked Google via Tweet to explain what was going on here. (I don’t expect an answer.) This entry is OBVIOUSLY incorrect and should not even be showing up high in search results. My social media posts got some range thanks to retweets from high-impact twitterers like Michael McKean (Better Call Saul, This is Spinal Tap) and Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins, political cartoonist). So, it appears many people provided feedback to Google and repeated my opinion that it’s NOT a good idea for an information site to promote nonsense. This clearly appears to be PROMOTION.
Many people, including myself, thought that it was a search algorithm fail (Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base used by Google to enhance its search engine’s search results with semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources), a paid ad, or a hack. Merseyside Skeptics posted a Facebook status about it noting that Google has been using “a technology that attempts to give you the answer you’re looking for, even before you’ve clicked on a search result. Sometimes, however, this software can go wrong.” Indeed.
Note that Ken Ham wrote a book called “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs”. It’s not new. How did it appear as the answer to this query? And why now? And for how long has this been going on?
Google should probably consider quality control on the search results or at least, note that many people have responded to this obviously blunder as being really problematic. Is religious propaganda really a good answer for ANY query on Google? I think not. I should hope Google would not continue to promote anti-science; it’s not great for one’s image, I’d say.
Want to know the BEST answers about dinosaurs by people who actually studied them? Go here.
Also, in case you are wondering what REALLY happened. Here is a good answer from Karen Westphal.