Science Reporting debate in London‏

18 Sept 2009

Hello there,
 
Here is some info about yesterday’s big London Debate at The Royal Institution :
 
Science reporting: is it good for you?
 
Science Minister Lord Drayson and Dr Ben Goldacre (author of Bad Science) had a debate about the state of science reporting in Britain.
 
Ben Goldacre & Lord Drayson
 
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/webcast.html
 
 It was  an encounter in July that sparked this public debate at The Royal Institution:
 
First:

“The days when science was blighted by a press interested only in “scare stories” are over, according to the Science Minister. Most coverage of science by the media is now balanced, accurate and engaging, Lord Drayson said.”
 
But he had opposition:
“Lord Drayson’s positive view was countered by John Martin, an expert in heart disease from University College London, who argued that the headlines and sensationalism in science journalism could have an “incredibly negative” effect.
He told of having to inform 160 people who had written to him in the hope of getting treatment that their expectations had been “raised inappropriately” by press accounts of his work.”
 
“Professor Martin argued that such sensationalism was the result of a “structural problem” in the media caused by profit motives driving the news agenda. He also accused some scientists of hyping their own stories to receive coverage.
“I think scientists are driven to overexaggerate the possibilities and their results in order to get limited funding,” he said.
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=407327
 
 
And here is the viewpoint of yesterday’s debate from a science reporter at New Scientist magazine, with Ben Goldacres’ reply.
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2009/09/science-reporting-is-it-good-f.html
 

 
I agree with Ben of course!
 
Fascinating stuff. It is about 1 1/2 hours long so maybe best seen on a quiet Sunday afternoon?

PS. A great book leading the debate about PC that is going on in the UK now.
 
The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain
by Anthony Browne – 2006 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Retreat-Reason-Political-Correctness-Corruption/dp/1903386500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254127721&sr=1-1
 The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain (Second Edition)
 
From one of the commenters:
“The effects of PC culture that is so strongly enforced by our media and government are clear when we see how individuals have to behave day to day to ensure they are not offending some group or other. Browne brings home his point when introducing hypocrisy in PC culture, misleading statistical evidence to support PC objectives and the new victim culture that is so evident in today’s society.”
 
Great Stuff! It is only 90 pages short 
 
Have a quiet evening this evening.
 
Best regards,
 
Brady

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