Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Wm Shrewsbury » Dec 30, 2008 3:59 pm

Sorry to be brief here - typing on my phone...

Not knee-jerk @ all since we have been discussing this for 2+ weeks at the office. Simply the best course of action based on what the NSS is. We cannot be all things to all people.

Martha - Kelli will be glad to take your email or phone order. Operators are standing by! :)

More later when I get to a real keyboard...
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby hewhocaves » Dec 30, 2008 4:15 pm

mgmills wrote: :devil: Just curious . . . is the OVP now going to be reviewing all books in the bookstore to be sure they don't offend any members and is the bookstore manager going to have to get all purchases approved before ordering books to sell?


Martha,

Please don't misrepresent the opposing point of view. In my original post (and in most other people's posts) the complaint was that book pretended to be a science book. Because the NSS advocates both science and education I and others considered it inappropriate to the fundamental goals of our organization. The lack of good science done by the book is its flaw, not its religious point of view.

No one has, for example, taken issue with Chris Nicola's book on Priest Grotto - a book with religious themes. In fact it is lauded as a well-researched effort which illuminates an until-now unknown portion of recent history.

Again it is the quality of the creationist work which makes it unsuitable for our organization. And yes, I think it would be prudent for the bookstore to have someone review a book before deciding to purchase them for resale. The NSS only has so much to invest in its bookstore. Necessity dictates that the books which we elect to sell be representative of our interests and goals as an organization.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby mgmills » Dec 30, 2008 4:26 pm

jaa45993 wrote:I just really hate censorship. Maybe I have a problem with authority. Don't take it personal and don't feel like you have to change anything on my account. On this format it is really hard to have a decent conversation, without people misconstruing things. I agree with John (dang, it happened twice in one day! ) that discussions work better around a campfire.


:?: You hate censorship but yet you favor "censorship" of what NSS members can read by not selling a book contrary to your beliefs at the bookstore. :?:

I'm sure that isn't what you really meant but shows how discussions here can get a bit crazy.

I hate censorhip also. That is why I think the NSS should continue to offer the book. Yes, I saw Wm's arguement about removing the book because of what the NSS represents but I still don't buy it. . . just my stubborn headedness. I'm not convinced that selling a book means you support/approve the content.


:campfire: :beer30: I'm ready for that.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby graveleye » Dec 30, 2008 4:32 pm

mgmills wrote:
:?: You hate censorship but yet you favor "censorship" of what NSS members can read by not selling a book contrary to your beliefs at the bookstore. :?:



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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby mgmills » Dec 30, 2008 4:41 pm

hewhocaves wrote:
mgmills wrote: :devil: Just curious . . . is the OVP now going to be reviewing all books in the bookstore to be sure they don't offend any members and is the bookstore manager going to have to get all purchases approved before ordering books to sell?


Martha,

Please don't misrepresent the opposing point of view. In my original post (and in most other people's posts) the complaint was that book pretended to be a science book. Because the NSS advocates both science and education I and others considered it inappropriate to the fundamental goals of our organization. The lack of good science done by the book is its flaw, not its religious point of view.

No one has, for example, taken issue with Chris Nicola's book on Priest Grotto - a book with religious themes. In fact it is lauded as a well-researched effort which illuminates an until-now unknown portion of recent history.

Again it is the quality of the creationist work which makes it unsuitable for our organization. And yes, I think it would be prudent for the bookstore to have someone review a book before deciding to purchase them for resale. The NSS only has so much to invest in its bookstore. Necessity dictates that the books which we elect to sell be representative of our interests and goals as an organization.



John, I guess you didn't get meaning of the emoticon I used :devil: - maybe I should have inserted the :sarcasm: instead.

If you read my first post on this topic you will note that I agreed the book needed to be "re-described" in the advertising to indicate what it really is!
I don't/didn't have a problem with the fact that it isn't science. Simple solution move it to another category in the inventory. (I almost stated that in my first post but since someone else had suggested that I decided to save the words.)

As for reviewing books before purchasing. . . it has been stated several times that the book was reviewed in the NSS News in November. The books were requested by members, ordered and sold so quickly more were ordered. To me that is good management of the bookstore.

However, Wm has spoken and has made a decision. He is the OVP so it is his decision. :kewl:
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Dec 30, 2008 4:51 pm

mgmills
:?: You hate censorship but yet you favor "censorship" of what NSS members can read by not selling a book contrary to your beliefs at the bookstore. :?:

I'm sure that isn't what you really meant but shows how discussions here can get a bit crazy.



At the risk of being redundant, it seems I must further clarify.

I do not favor censorship of what NSS members can read. I do support pulling the book from the science section of the bookstore website of an organization that claims to be scientific. They are two different things. NSS members can and should read whatever they want. We as an organization with a mission statement should be more careful how we market what we sell.

Martha, I know you understand this. I just wasn't sure if everyone else in the :cavechat: world would get it.

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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby mgmills » Dec 30, 2008 5:26 pm

Wm Shrewsbury wrote:Sorry to be brief here - typing on my phone...

Not knee-jerk @ all since we have been discussing this for 2+ weeks at the office. Simply the best course of action based on what the NSS is. We cannot be all things to all people.

Martha - Kelli will be glad to take your email or phone order. Operators are standing by! :)

More later when I get to a real keyboard...


I have placed my order (sorry SCCi). Kelli says it's on the way to me. . . :banana_yay:

I still don't see why the book just couldn't have been moved to another category and the description re-written so people would know what they were getting but you are the "boss" so no point :beatinghorse:
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 30, 2008 7:07 pm

I admit i'm a bit miffed but I'll try to be mostly nice.

We have and do carry a wide range of cave related material representing multiple views and of varying degrees of quality with regard to scientific method. We should do that. We allow vendors to sell microshaving gear and host presentations on the technique at Convention...does that mean the NSS endorses it? Selling a book in the bookstore doesnt endorse it, it means we provide access to cave related media..period. We should do that. IMHO this action to drop a requested book so abruptly because its science wasn't good enough for some is utterly ridiculous....especially considering that whether we agree with his conclusions or not, the author has a far more solid scientific background in karst science than most of us. A PHD, scores of peer reviewed articles, and real world working experiance in the field. Not to be blunt...but what were the cave/karst credentials of those who deemed the book "non-science" ?

With deference to mr. shrewsbury...it was 2 weeks of discussion among the office staff based on a negative email? AFTER it was multiple requests for the book that got it on our shelves in the 1st place that resulted in your decision to drop it?...coincidently to a very active 24hr old thread. And now the book that had "used up" its demand at 5 is still being requested...huh :doh:

I haven't read the book, probably wont. Of course the same seems true for most of the posters! so I won't clog the thread by debating how we who wont read it became arbiters of the books merit to be sold over those who ASKED for it.

I'm glad to see the OVP so "responsive". If I get enough complainers to email in the next 24hrs can we get our money back for Great X to fund the office/bookstore/museum? This certainly isn't a property in any danger from development! Is there a permit system to know how many different people have actually been to great X in the last 2 years? it's demand is probably mostly used up and I'll never go there so lets drop it from the inventory...

what I am aghast at is that once again we see a knee-jerk...errr 2 week internal contemplation.. result in a book being dropped that 1) was cave related 2) selling and 3) had been (and is still) being REQUESTED by members. How many copies of Cave Geology (which I own) sold in this same time period..yes I want to know.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Wm Shrewsbury » Dec 30, 2008 8:40 pm

To all concerned parties, since it is too lengthy to go back and quote each sentence from each post...

The book has been on the bookstore list since late November. The books sold quickly at first, those being those that were requested. Now they haven't sold (except the one to Martha, and Kelli thanks you!). The whole point of removing it from the bookstore was relevance.

I don't give a hoot about religion versus science. What I do care about is relevance to the our NSS Constitution. The NSS is made up of a lot of different individuals with twice that many viewpoints about everything. We ALL, however, have caving in common - that is our common thread.

The comment of "science isn't good enough for some" is totally out of line. This book isn't science by science's basic definition. Too many court rooms, too many school laws and rules struck down indicate that while the bulk of the US believes in religion (in one form or another) they, in the end, do not define a creationistic viewpoint as science. The internet if full of the same discussion that is now going on here. If millions of people can't agree on it, we certainly aren't.

The decision to drop the book was actually not made by myself, but by one of our members who is a steady church goer. They indicated that while the book was an interesting read, it was not what our "library" of books were about. I asked our bookstore manager to keep the book up until at least 1/1, and even then would not care if it took a couple of extra weeks before it was remembered that it was to be removed. In short, it was a laid-back decision that though it was about caves, it did not fit in with the other wealth of knowledge that the NSS has obtained over the decades. We are based on science, and thus we should stick to what we profess to know. Dropping it today instead of two days from now was a simple matter - by the time we wrote up a better description and posted it, it would be removed anyway.

Should we have kept it and simply posted a better description? Perhaps. Now that 6 out of 12,000 (0.05%) have ordered it the NY best-sellers list may have to be revised. We are here to serve our member's needs. We are also here to uphold the principles of the NSS and its Constitution. Carrying this book does not, as others have pointed out, mean that we condone the content. We are not content censors. We are, however, stewards of our organization, as well as our public image by other organizations.

Two weeks may not be a long time, nor even the 6 weeks from when it was from first available to now, but if this discussion had started 6 weeks ago (or even 2 weeks) several of those on this very thread would feel that we don't respond or take too long. You can't have it both ways - we either think this through and make a decision, or take a knee-jerk reaction and do something without input. We prefer to think it through and implement it, even though we know that we can't please everyone.

As for how many books of any title sell, we (Kelli, Stephanie or myself) can look that up if you truly want to know. Like any book, the first week or two any new book out will have them selling "like hotcakes". As an example, "Vertical Bill" sold 57 copies in it's first week, not counting those sold to other vendors for their bookstores. If it sells, we keep selling it. If it doesn't, we discount it or send them back to the vendor (if possible).

Kelli won't be sending the books back for a couple of weeks yet. After that she will refer them to Amazon via the SCCi link.

Sorry we are unable to please everyone, but we will continue to try and please most. Feel free to PM or email me if you want a more direct Q&A about specific points. I'm off until the 5th so you'll get a reasonably fast response, and I promise not to think about it and confer with over 20 others for the next 2 weeks!

Off to other matters, such as how the museum is getting along...
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 30, 2008 8:45 pm

graveleye wrote:
mgmills wrote:
:?: You hate censorship but yet you favor "censorship" of what NSS members can read by not selling a book contrary to your beliefs at the bookstore. :?:



Irony is ironic.

It is indeed ironic... now we gotta be PC about everything, making sure that nothing offends nobody. Sheesh.




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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 30, 2008 9:20 pm

"If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything."....Country Song I can't remember now.

So when will the other fiction, fantasy, childrens, and other non scientific books we carry be dropped as not fitting in with our Constitution?

I agree completely that this isn't about religion or science but WHY this book was dropped and how. You say a single member decided the book didn't "fit" (despite saying it was interesting!) and sales (like other books) had dropped off from the initial offering....hardly a convincing argument

I also agree you can't have it both ways. If the NSS Bookstore is about science then apply that standard uniformly to ALL our holdings...which will no doubt hurt sales since not everyone cherishes (or can pay $100+) their Epigean Fishes like I do. Otherwise, I tend to think that any cave book that is described as an "interesting read", requested by members, and written by someone with a background and interest in Karst would "fit" in our bookstore for a more reasonable period. I've sometimes read some stuff in the Journal that I hesitate to call science too, but at least they published it so I could decide for myself!

P.S. I really am interested in the number of Cave Geology copies sold in December.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby mgmills » Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm

Wm Shrewsbury wrote:The decision to drop the book was actually not made by myself, but by one of our members who is a steady church goer. They indicated that while the book was an interesting read, it was not what our "library" of books were about.


:yikes: why should one person decide for everyone? So much for CaverScott's theory that you were responding to the discussion here. :grin:

Wm Shrewsbury wrote:In short, it was a laid-back decision that though it was about caves, it did not fit in with the other wealth of knowledge that the NSS has obtained over the decades. We are based on science, and thus we should stick to what we profess to know.


Science is one part of the mission of the NSS. Also, I doubt that all the books carried by the NSS Bookstore support the science part of our mission.


Wm Shrewsbury wrote: Carrying this book does not, as others have pointed out, mean that we condone the content. We are not content censors.


If this is true why did the NSS remove the book based on the recommendation of one person? Well, I guess now with this discussion there are a few more wanting it removed but my count comes to less than a dozen of the 12,000 members.

OK, I'm done with this topic. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. I'm off work and going to celebrate with a bunch of cavers around a campfire.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby BrianC » Dec 31, 2008 9:38 am

Wm wrote
Sorry we are unable to please everyone,

I think we can please all the NSS members! unfortunately when it comes to science there are to many theories!
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Dec 31, 2008 10:01 am

BrianC wrote:Wm wrote
Sorry we are unable to please everyone,

I think we can please all the NSS members! unfortunately when it comes to science there are to many theories!
Yeah but the real trick is... how to please everyone without stepping on any toes.
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Re: Since When does the NSS sell Creationist Literature?

Postby BrianC » Dec 31, 2008 10:11 am

Ralph E. Powers wrote:
BrianC wrote:Wm wrote
Sorry we are unable to please everyone,

I think we can please all the NSS members! unfortunately when it comes to science there are to many theories!
Yeah but the real trick is... how to please everyone without stepping on any toes.

I truly believe that science should have learned by now that since theories always change, having an open mind keeps a happy fellowship!
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