Yesterday, the news cycle covered Conor Lenihan’s proposed launch of a book on creationism. The science minister began by defending the gig as a favour to a friend, then the story went away when the invitation was withdrawn.
This afternoon Sean Moncrieff interviewed the author, John J May.
Among the tweets in response to the show were some of mine, one of which prompted Moncrieff to accuse me of censorship.
There’s probably a Latin label for the logical fallacy which confuses criticism with censorship, but we’ll let that pass.
Instead, I want to address the second half of Sean’s tweet. Sean says I don’t get to define what the issue is.
Maybe. But I do know what’s not at issue. Evolution.
Darwin published Origin of Species 151 years ago. Since then, the theory of evolution has been subjected to a battery of tests by scientists.
Guess what? So far, it’s passed with flying colours. And those scientists are motivated. Prove Darwin was wrong, you get a Nobel prize and everlasting fame.
So no Sean, some crackpot clinging to a bronze age fable isn’t news. But I submit the science minister of a “smart economy” endorsing his ramblings is an issue.
Very well put — unfortunately the ‘wacko’ factor of John J May seemed to be prioritised by the media over any real examination of the government’s attitude towards science, or of the standard of science communication and understanding in this country.
An idea I’ve had: I think one of the last media redoubts of quackery are local papers, and I’m thinking of starting some sort of campaign on my blog to highlight clear examples of pseudoscience in local papers. I suspect it won’t be hard to find examples.
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