More journalist’s myths about science
Ruby Hamad in the Sydney Morning Herald (here) decides to spread a swarm of wrong ideas about how science works. There’s the old furphy of implying that science is just another religion, together with the one about science always getting things wrong because later science contradicts earlier findings.
I particularly like this line:
So often has this been repeated by certain scientists, it has seeped into the popular consciousness to be accepted as cold, hard fact.
My feeling is that the “seeping” of fringe scientific ideas into the popular consciousness is mainly due to scientifically-illiterate media which try to sensationalise them regardless of their lack of acceptance by the mainstream scientific community.
Update 2013/07/31: Several of the commenters on this post have expressed interest in an award for scientifically-illiterate journalism. It seems there’s an existing award, The Orwellian Prize, run by Dorothy Bishop, that comes very close to this idea. Here’s an article from Times Higher Education about the context that stimulated the prize: Trial by error.
And a very pertinent recent article from The Conversation: Journalism teaches the public about science, but who’s teaching the journalists?