Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Problems Of Science In Mainstream Media

The major problem I have with science reporting (and there are more than a few issues!) is that they treat everything as "new". New study confirms/finds/discovers the following EXCLUSIVE. Except the following had been proved a million times before and it really shouldn't come as a surprise.

Take this news story: Homosexual behaviour widespread in animals according to new study. Anyone with a vague interest in science will know this is not a new thing!!! It goes on to suggest the study has found evolutionary advantages to homosexual behaviour, which the article treats as a revelation. Sorry guys, this too is OLD news.

I mean really if you have half a brain you'd think "Hmm... all these gay animals, it can't just be random." It's not. Each species involved has got to that point for various reasons. In a few it'll have no advantages, but in most it will and the advantage will be individually tailored to the species involved (like gay black swans, who find a female, breed with her, then drive her away and bring up the chick. With two males looking after the chick it has a higher likelihood of survival hence the evolutionary benefits). It's a no brainer. There's even a very extensive study published in 2006 on the evolution of homosexuality (here).

If only studies were reported with this in mind.

Maybe it's because I spend hours listening to sceptic/science podcasts every week, but the state of science reporting is something to be sad about (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Ben Goldacre)

This blogger works for nothing but the joy of writing but always appreciates things bought from his wishlist

No comments: