Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Denyse Hears Lawrence Krauss

 
Denyse O'Leary is in Sudbury attending the Canadian Science Writers Conference. One of the speakers was Lawrence Krauss&mdahs;who is speaking in Toronto tomorrow evening.

Here's how Denyse reports on what she heard [Science writing: There are not - repeat, NOT - two sides to the story].
Dr. Krauss went on to say that there is an innate tension between journalism and science. The problem is, “journalists think there are two sides to every story.” According to him, this is not true: “Most times, one side is simply wrong.”

Oh well, that’s all right then. Having been informed that one side is simply wrong, the journalist can forget about getting a range of opinion and simply act as a shill for the approved view.

The beauty of that strategy is that if there are problems with the approved view, the journalist is guaranteed never to find out, so she will always be sure she and her sources are right.

Dr. Krauss later conceded that “The editors are the bad guys.” Yes, indeed, in the sense that editors often come up with additional people for us writers to interview, people who offer additional perspectives. They, like us, see most stories as having many sides, not just one, so they are guilty of multiple sins, and we are complicit (when we are doing our job, that is).
The problem with Denyse O'Leary is that she hears but doesn't listen. Krauss said that "most times, one side is simply wrong." He also said that journalists and editors don't get this, they almost always pretend that there are two sides to every story.

Denyse then proves his point.


11 comments :

  1. I guess that explains why she can't come to the obvious conclusion about Adnan Oktar.

    Of course, Denyse is being disingenuous. Her past writings leave no doubt that she believes one side is right (Christianity, and some form of ID/Cism compatible with it). All this blather about "range of opinion" and "many sides" is just special pleading to get a non-critical hearing for her favorite brand of nonsense.

    Funny how absolutists go all po-mo relativist when it suits them -- there are no facts, only narratives!

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  2. Journalists should present all sides of a story, but they should not present all sides of a story as though they are equally meritorious. Rather, they are supposed to present all sides of a story objectively, as they are. That means if one camp has a really crappy story, it needs to be presented so readers can see how crappy it is.

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  3. I find it silly to claim that journalists should present ALL sides of a story.

    That would mean that every time they report on a shuttle launch they should present the idea that the earth is flat, as the flat earth society holds, the idea that we live inside a sphere and not on a sphere, as others claim, that nothing can exceed the speed of sound as others etc.

    Even presenting the ideas as bad, journalists can never present ALL sides, simply because there are always much more than two sides two every story.

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  4. Um... last time I heard, we have a free press and freedom of speech. That means they can report just about any damn thing they want, short of libel or obscenity. That means Fox News can exist.

    Sure, you can tell them what you think they ought to report, but they don't have to listen.

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  5. Dear Anonymous Troll (are you the same Anonymous who always seems to be around here?): No where does Larry say that journalists cannot write whatever they damn well please, and editors publish it. But free speech also means that we the public get to point out when they're being frackin' incompetent -- even negligent -- at their job. Like when they write rubbish which is easily shown to be counterfactual, or assume a false equivalence between defensible claims and arrant nonsense.

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  6. Since when did being anonymous and/or disagreeing with the masses qualify as being a troll?

    Good thing that every now and then somebody points out the idiocy rampant in this blog.

    Another Anonymous (and a hard-core PhD biologist so don't try shoving your I'm-a-scientist-and-so-I'm-better-than-you-crap this way)

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  7. Ironically I think the creationist debate is one where presenting more sides could be of some benefit. The ideal public creationism-evolution debate format should not be one where the listeners are presented with a simple choice between a dichotomy of naturalism versus protestant creationism. It should be one where scientific naturalism is but a single choice against many forms of creationism (protestant, islamic, hindu, scandinavian, greek, chinese, animistic, FSM, etc). The major problem with the creationism debate is that it exposes the fact that so little of the public believes in or even understands the scientific method as a means of determining the most likely solution to questions with many possible answers.

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  8. Since when did being anonymous and/or disagreeing with the masses qualify as being a troll?EK did not use either of those points to conclude that there was in fact an anonymous troll. You should have read beyond the first sentence of their post, then maybe you could reply to the substantive issues that were raised. Of course, trolls don't usually do this.

    Good thing that every now and then somebody points out the idiocy rampant in this blog.Yes, Thank You EK.

    Another Anonymous (and a hard-core PhD biologist so don't try shoving your I'm-a-scientist-and-so-I'm-better-than-you-crap this way)How to identify a lame-ass non-scientist? They say Im a "hard-core PhD biologist, so" there!

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  9. Very little of this blog is substantive. I think that was the point, Lorax. Lots of rapid-fire fluff.

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  10. Very little of this blog is substantive. I think that was the point, Lorax. Lots of rapid-fire fluff.Well, that sounds like an excellent description of the two Anonymous comments -- barely even pertinent to the material they appear to be replying to. Come to think of it, that describes your comment, too. Seems to be a kind of functional illiteracy going around among the trolls these days.

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  11. Its even more certain than "Most times one side is simply wrong."

    Wolfgang Pauli is said to have once remarked about a crackpot physics theory, "Its not right, its not even wrong." I think that's a better description of what often is characterized as the two sides of a scientific story.

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