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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dumbing down

I was listening to Ben Goldacre talking on Start the Week -- I don't know when it was broadcast, I was listening to it via the BBC's excellent podcast on iTunes, and he made a comment that pandered directly to my own prejudices. He said something along the lines of "the public get such rubbish reporting of scientific and technical issues because the media is made up of arts graduates".

Sorry, I just googled and found out that it was the episode broadcast on 19th January 2009:

DR BEN GOLDACRE attacks the media’s bad science reporting, claiming that it is a blot on the intellectual and economic landscape of this country. He believes that the lack of scientific knowledge amongst editors breeds cynicism, health scares and fashionable diagnoses.

[From BBC - Radio 4 - Start the Week]

I wonder, though, if it is actually worth trying to battle the education system and popular culture in order to educate the public any more? Perhaps a better strategy might be to tell them that there are UFOs and that crystal healing is real, and get them to behave in a better way. So instead of saying "you should get your kids the MMR because there is no scientific evidence to link it with autism, and because kids have started to die from measles again" we should tell them that pixies want them to get vaccinated, or whatever.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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