24 de julho de 2011

Isto também é uma anomalia

Thomas Huxley , the British biologist who so vociferously, and effectively, defended Darwin's theory of natural selection in the 19th century, had a basic view of science. "It is simply common sense at its best – rigidly accurate in observation and merciless to fallacy in logic."

It is as neat a description as you can get and well worth remembering when considering how science is treated by the UK media and by the BBC in particular. Last week, a study, written by geneticist Steve Jones, warned that far too often the corporation had failed to appreciate the nature of science and to make a distinction "between well-established fact and opinion". In doing so, the corporation had given free publicity to marginal belief, he said.

Jones was referring to climate change deniers, anti-MMR activists, GM crop opponents and other fringe groups who have benefited from wide coverage despite the paucity of evidence that supports their beliefs. By contrast, scientists, as purveyors of common sense, have found themselves sidelined because producers wanted to create controversy and so skewed discussions to hide researchers' near unanimity of views in these fields. In this way, the British public has been misled into thinking there is a basic division among scientists over global warming or MMR.

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