Science vs Journalism

Science produces a whole host of theories which are slowly refined to produce a consensus. Journalism (especially the tabloid type) looks for the story most likely to attract attention (sell newspapers).

Most routine scientific work does not get reported as it produces nothing sensational. E.g. that global warming may increase yields of wheat, but the quality will be poorer. What does get reported is a thought-provoking new theory or bit of research that hasn’t yet been rigorously examined by other scientists and refined to remove the dross, for example one of the most read stories on the BBC website today is about how we would cope if we suffered a zombie attack !

With climate change the scientific process is still very young so there is a lot stuff that has been refined away that is still relatively new. This tends to get used by the sceptics to reinforce their view even though the scientific community has moved on.

Sceptics/conspiracy theories make better news than a “everyone generally agrees” story so get more media attention.

A look at the Flat Earth Society’s web page is a good example of how a seemingly good argument can be made of half truths and old theories.

David Larkin
Countryside Ranger

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