Culture Naturalism

Dan Rather on standing up for science

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Dan Rather? Yes, at Scientific American:

The political press treats science as a niche issue. But I would argue that it is central to America’s military and economic might, that it shapes the health and welfare of our citizenry, and that our governmental support of the pure pursuit of knowledge through basic research is one of the defining symbols of American excellence. Science bolsters our global stature by its institutionalized respect for the truth, its evidence-based decision-making, and its willingness to accept differing opinions when the facts dictate them.

Wow. Like, wow.

Dan Rather perpetrated one of the biggest scandals in the history of modern American journalism when he knowingly accepted documents that were probable fakes (Rathergate), damaging his network, CBS, the careers of subordinates, and the reputation of mainstream media (apart from its fans in Hollywood). Why would anyone regard him as a dispenser of advice about how to handle evidence honestly?

But scientists need an ally in making their case, and that must come from an active and involved press. The press can build bridges between the scientific community, the public, and elected officials. It can raise awareness of important issues and put pressure on obfuscating politicians. This posture for the press has been its role throughout the history of our democracy, and it must extend to a robust coverage of science. If science fails to engage with the leadership and with the people, the press will share a large part of the responsibility. More.

Excuse me, but this is the man whose Rathergate “exploit” has been described, famously, as “fake but accurate.”

Rather should have stood up for serious journalism when it counted.

Had he stood up for journalism, instead of perpetrating Rathergate, he’d be a more credible witness now.

But what can SciAm be thinking, so brazenly fronting him like this?

It does not speak well for Scientific American that Rather is someone they would choose to speak for scientists.

Or… is a great deal of science out there “fake but accurate”? Starting to sound that way.

See also: Gloom or boom?: Prominent scientists on U.S. election It’s a symptom of internal decay in the science community, not external problems, that anyone cares what Richard Dawkins think at this point.

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4 Replies to “Dan Rather on standing up for science

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Yes Mr. Rather that is just what mainstream media needs to do. A now thoroughly discredited mainstream media peddling more of a psuedo-scientific political agenda.

    The Political Agenda Behind the Man-Made Global Warming Movement
    Excerpt: The public promotion of the man-made global warming theory has obviously been extremely political and ideological, not based on genuine rational science. Scare tactics, exaggerated or blatantly false news reports, and the vilification and marginalization of scientists who question man-made global warming are all indications of a political propaganda campaign.,,,
    http://ielts-yasi.englishlab.n.....agenda.htm

    Perhaps if mainstream media would have focused on the wholesale loss of good paying jobs for blue collar workers in America, instead of focusing on trying to advance a radical left wing agenda, (a radical agenda that was apparently more concerned about ‘gender neutral’ bathrooms in public schools than about the working man trying to support his family), then perhaps mainstream media would not have gotten the real issues that drove this past election so wrong. And perhaps mainstream media would not now be just as distrusted as the radical left wing politicians themselves are. Dishonest politicians that the mainstream media outlets are apparently hell bent on promoting no matter what it takes.

    Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low – September 14, 2016
    – Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history,
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/195.....w-low.aspx

    WikiLeaks Lays Bare Clinton’s Collusion With Mainstream Media
    http://www.telesurtv.net/engli.....-0030.html

  2. 2
    News says:

    As above, had he stood up for journalism, instead of perpetrating Rathergate, he’d be a more credible witness now. But what can SciAm be thinking, so brazenly fronting him like this?

  3. 3
    rvb8 says:

    “one of the biggest scandals in the history of modern American journalism.”

    Yeaaaah!

    That’s why I now rely solely on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and News for my world roundups and detailed analysis, of incredibly complex scientific data.

    The way science is presented on the net is another deep blow to the ‘lamestream’ (really?) media.

    If I can’t get my insightful dose from ‘ICR’, Biologos, or here, and Evolutionnews, It’d be like Soviet Russia all over again, you know? Hiding the truth from a well educated? population.

    However I’ve just finished reading a very long piece at NASA on the James Webb Space Telescope, and the aforementioned organizations don’t mention this fascinating achievement. Nor its purpose, to peer back in time to the origins of the universe. Apparently it will see back to a time when the universe was a meer 200,000 years old. Some science journalism on this would be nice.

    The NY Times and The Guardian however have; try and understand that mess up? Doh!

    I also like Sciencenews and Pandas, and Coyne’s site. Surprisingly they seem to actually know what they’re talking about, and absolutely refuse to quote mine.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, as to you citing Coyne so favorably as an expert on science, do you agree with him that he is, and that you are, neuronal illusions? If you do believe this, (as if there were a ‘you’ to believe anything), why in God’s green earth should I care one iota what atheists think about science or what atheists think about anything else?

    But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

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