A few weeks ago I wrote about Epigenetics at SEED. The article in SEED was written by a scientist who wants to change evolutionary theory in order to accommodate epigenetics. I pointed out that this was a poorly written article. One of the worst problems was the definition of epigenetics, which was broad enough to include the kitchen sink.
Abbie Smith picked up on this on her blog ERV. She agreed that the SEED article was not helpful [ew... epigenetics in SEED...].
Along comes someone named George Johnson. He interprets Abbie's criticism of the science, and mine, as a rant against science journalism. Well, he's right, even though in this case it's science journalism being written by a scientist. Apparently science journalists (I assume George Johnson is one) are very sensitive about criticism from scientists. Apparently science journalists are very good at what they do ... how dare scientists criticize what they write about science!!!
Watch George Johnson make a fool of himself on this bloggingheads video with John Horgan. Johnson reads my name from the ERV posting but it seems he didn't bother to read my posting. If George Johnson has the courage to show up here I'll be happy to explain to him why this particular SEED article is bad. He's welcome to read all my other criticisms of science journalism and and attempt to defend the science journalists.
Pay close attention to Johnson's comments when he reads the passage from Abbie's blog. It's clear that he doesn't know what chromatin is and he doesn't know what epigenetics is. On the other hand, he is certain that Nicholas Wade, who writes about molecular biology, is a great science writer. How would George Johnson know this? Johnson may be able to tell whether Nicholas Wade is a good writer but he sure isn't in a position to judge whether he's a good science writer since the most important thing about science writing is accuracy and Johnson knows nothing about molecular biology.
This may be one of the biggest problems with science writers. They can't tell the difference between science and writing. And they don't like it when scientists point this out to them.