Crazy, Bad Science and Science Reporting

Guess what? There’s a new theory of everything. You know, the theory of everything: a theory that is able to unite the four fundamental forces (the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity) and explain the workings and relationships of matter and energy. That one. The one that the most brilliant scientists (physicists, by and large) of recent history have slogged over without consensus. Well, a biochemist from Case Western Reserve University has solved the whole damn thing, and then some. The “story” (read: press release) was “broken” (read: posted verbatim, without critically evaluating the study’s merit) by Case Western’s press office. This is part of an ongoing problem in the world of science reporting. I’m not sure if science reporting in most media has ever been great, or even good, but since media outlets have cut positions for one reason or another, science reporting has gotten abysmally bad. Why? Science reporting has suffered because now the task has fallen to reporters with no science background whatsoever. I would attest, though, that a lack of science background is only part of the problem: you don’t need to be a scientist to think critically I have written about this before.

For more complete coverage of the new theory of everything, head over to Ars Technica.


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