22 janvier 2007

The Alchemy of Science-Abusers: Turning Black Into Gray

Ira R. Allen

Science-abusers on the extremist side of the political spectrum too often play upon journalists' reverence for getting both sides of a story – even when two sides don't exist.

Such a case occurred recently when the Reuters news agency flatly declared in a story about the cause of global warming that while most scientists believe human activity is the cause, "That does not mean there is a consensus."

Yes, there is a consensus, and even corporate polluters and the Bush Administration agree.

An entire book, "The Republican War On Science" was devoted to this topic, and the current New Republic (Jan. 29) has an illuminating article on how evidence-deniers – in this case economic ideologues – never come up with better evidence but instead try to make black seem gray. (The article is subscription-only; feel free to e-mail cfah@cfah.org for an individual copy.)

Thank to the Knight Science Journalism Tracker for revealing this latest example.

Parmi les multiples exemples de ces abus, on relève les 'polémiques' sur le réchauffement climatique et le 'dessein intelligent' (appelé "créationnisme en tenue de soirée"). Dans le domaine historique, nous avons les révisionnistes et négationnistes. Dans un registre connexe, le cas des conspirationnistes et de Thierry Meyssan vient à l'esprit. Tous ces exemples résultent de l'introduction de croyances politico-religieuses dans des domaines où l'observation et l'investigation scientifique devraient rester la règle de base.

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