New York Times Finds Science Blogs "Class-War Claptrap"
While we often are correcting mistakes and misinformation in news reports about intelligent design and evolution, it's encouraging to know that solid, thoughtful pieces are still being produced. This story from The New York Times is making the rounds, causing Denyse O'Leary to wonder, "Have the Times people actually started connecting with the public again?"
The surprising article by Virginia Heffernan examines the strange microcosm that is Science Blogs, where, as Bruce Chapman put it, she finds "not science, but self-referencial sophomoric pranks, vitriol and cavil." Her acute analysis:
Hammering away at an ideology, substituting stridency for contemplation, pummeling its enemies in absentia: ScienceBlogs has become Fox News for the religion-baiting, peak-oil crowd. Though Myers and other science bloggers boast that they can be jerky in the service of anti-charlatanism, that's not what's bothersome about them. What's bothersome is that the site is misleading. It's not science by scientists, not even remotely; it's science blogging by science bloggers. And science blogging, apparently, is a form of redundant and effortfully incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word "science" and from occasional invocations of "peer-reviewed" thises and thats.
It doesn't take special sight to see that what's happening over at Science Blogs is actually science abuse -- claiming to speak with the authority of Science-with-a-capital-S when they're really rhetoricians devoted to a "polarizing hatefest" (her words, not mine). That more moderate voices (at NYT!) are waking up to this is a very good sign.