The name Valerie Tarico rings a bell with me; I suspect I’ve heard her name around secular or atheist meetings. And yes, her website confirms that she’s a secularist:
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She completed her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington. . . .
As a writer Valerie tackles the intersection between religious belief, psychology and politics, with a growing focus on women’s issues and contraceptive technologies that she thinks are upstream game changers for a broad range of challenges that humanity faces.
Valerie is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, and Deas and Other Imaginings: 10 Spiritual Folktales for Children. She currently writes for the Alternet, and occasionally for Huffington Post and Truthout.
According to the Daily Wire, Tarico wrote an article for Salon called “Why is the Bible so badly written?”, and, after it was up for a while, there was sufficient pushback from readers that the piece was pulled. Here’s the evidence from Twitter, plus you can see the vestigial remnants of the piece on this page, with its URL and title remaining. Otherwise, the page is blank.
Thank you for your feedback. We heard you. Upon further review, we determined that this article, which was republished to Salon from a partner website, did not meet our editorial standards.
— Salon (@Salon) February 8, 2018
Why was the article pulled? Well, it’s still up on Alternet in what appears to be its original form (I’ve also archived it here), and I’m not sure why it didn’t meet Salon’s abysmally low “editorial standards”. There are parts of it that aren’t written particularly well, but they’re no worse than the fare you usually get at Salon.
No, the article was pulled because it points out something that every rational person knows: the Bible is a human-made document; contradicts itself (e.g., the conflicting two creation stories as well as the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection); is subject to translation errors (e.g, Mary being a “virgin”); is poorly written and tedious (something I’ve always maintained, contra Dawkins; and was cobbled together over hundreds of years, with the Gospels that we have being a selection from a greater number.
Her most damning accusation is that there’s no evidence that the Bible was dictated by God (or written by Moses et al.). Her argument that God would have produced more beautiful language is a bit weak, but this part, a version of Carl Sagan’s critique, is telling:
As a modern person reading the Bible, one can’t help but think about how the pages might have been better filled. Could none of this have been pared away? Couldn’t the writers have made room instead for a few short sentences that might have changed history: Wash your hands after you poop.Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to.Witchcraft isn’t real. Slavery is forbidden. We are all God’s chosen people.
At the end, Tarico made a fatal mistake: she compares the Bible to her friend’s collection of pigs, which, like my own collection of penguins, was a grab-bag of various effigies given by friends and acquired at thrift shops. As she says, “The texts of the Bible are a bit of a pig collection.” Oy! Pigs! She should have used another simile, for that one—and the rest of the article—brought out the termites. Here are a few objections reproduced by The Daily Wire:
Your article decrying a "badly written" book can't even bother to quote or cite any scholarly evangelical definitions or defenders of inerrancy or inspiration.
— Andrew Stroud (@AndrewStroud92) February 8, 2018
Was this article written by a fifteen year old who just discovered atheism?
— 🃏 Eric M Hamilton 📚 (@ericmhamilton) February 8, 2018
Frontiers in Theology By 12-Year-Olds
— Michael Gebert (@skyfullofbacon) February 8, 2018
It goes on. Have a look at Tarico’s piece, which would surely be enlightening to Biblical literalists with an open mind (is that an oxymoron?) who didn’t know the evidence for its human origins. Tarico’s is not the greatest piece in the world, but it’s no worse than most of the stuff on Salon (and is better than some); but it was apparently deep-sixed because it criticized the Holy Bible.
Salon, of course, has a deep history of damning atheists (including indicting us for sexual malfeasance), going after Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, and so on. It’s no surprise that they’d excise an article revealing that the Bible isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
The only issue is why The Daily Wire revealed this. The site is a right-wing venue run by an orthodox Jew, Ben Shapiro. The editors are surely sympathetic to at least the Old Testament, but Tarico goes after that, too. All of their articles have an ideological agenda, and I suspect that what they’re doing is simply gloating about Salon having removed Tarico’s piece.