This was sent on May 12, 2010. I retracted it the next day because it was so goddamned awful.
The StarPhoenix recently endorsed the view of “254 scientists” who wrote a letter to the journal Science lamenting the “general lack of public understanding about how science works” (SP editorial, May 12).
According to what the public sees in the media, this is how science works. First, a scientist posits a hypothesis and then attempts to prove or disprove it. If said hypothesis suggests that mankind might possibly destroy the earth, then non-scientist journalist will proclaim hypothesis as “fact”.
At this point, misanthropic zealots known as “environmentalists” take hypothesis-fact and sensationalize the worst-case scenario. Non-scientist journalists report this as “overwhelming public support”. This prompts non-scientist opportunists—“progressive politicians”—to funnel taxpayer money into research grants that support hypothesis-fact, thus completing the cycle.
The key to all of this is how these vested groups work together to promote the hypothesis-fact. For example, media reports refer to the phenomenon formerly known as “weather” as “further evidence of climate change.” Research that supports hypothesis-fact is more likely to be peer reviewed, while scientific journals are discouraged from publishing dissenting papers. Most tellingly, those who challenge the status quo of hypothesis-fact are not rebutted for their arguments, but instead are lumped together with anti-science groups such as “young-earth creationists”.
No, the public has a very good understanding of “how science works”. Perhaps it’s time that those 254 scientists—and this newspaper—hypothesize this. They might learn something useful for a change.
Yeah, I know. Not my best work.