Bioethics, media bias, public policy, research, technology

>"Exaggerated resistance" (Or how not to report science)

Scientific American gives us several reasons to “resist” the information in its pages this month, the August, 2007 issue. Unfortunately, only the Table of Contents is free, but the problem is in the titles given “news” stories themselves.

Under the title, “Roots of Science Hatred,” on page 29 we learn that people learn to trust their own experiences, causing us to have “exaggerated resistance” to scientific reports:

For instance, because objects fall down if not held up, kids may have trouble accepting
the world is round, reasoning that things on the other side should naturally fall off.
Intuitive notions concerning psychology also lead children to see everything as designed for some reason—for example, a cloud’s purpose might be to rain—which can lead to opposition to evolution. In reportingtheir work in the May 18 Science, the researchers also note that when both adults and kids obtain knowledge from others, they judge claims based on how much they trust the source of an assertion. It suggests that science will meet exaggerated resistance in societies where alternative views are championed by trustworthy authorities, such as political or religious figures. —Charles Q. Choi
(emphasis is mine)

Yeah, and the exaggeration is all on our part, and due to “hate,” “religion,” and “politics,” right?

Since SA can’t be engaging in politics, then only someone inclined to hate science would notice the problem with the following headline on page 32: “SciAm Perspectives: Worse Than Gasoline: Liquid coal would produce roughly twice the global warming emissions of gasoline.” Couldn’t they have used the more correct and less political term, “green house gasses?”

Yes, I’ll admit to being a human-caused-global-climate-change skeptic. I remember the ’60’s and early ’70’s, when we humans were told that we were the cause of global cooling. I believe it had something to do with clouds blocking the sun’s radiation from warming the earth. I’m watching and waiting, although I’ve always believed in keeping my little micro-climate as clean as possible..

However, for a review of the current “consensus” on global climate change, those of you with access to SA can read “The Physical Science behind CLIMATE CHANGE” (all caps in the original), beginning on page 64.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


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