Further to New Coynage: E.O. Wilson calls Richard Dawkins a “journalist”, Hank Campbell’s science site sheds some light on the sheer depth of the insult here:
The only people concerned about fewer science journalism jobs were those in the science journalism community and those at the unethical schools that sold specialized journalism classes – Columbia’s two-year program in “Environmental Journalism” for a whopping $80,000 comes to mind. Scientists said science journalists did a terrible job and the public clearly didn’t want simplified science, that is why media bosses knew they could cut the departments without any backlash from their customers. It doesn’t take a specialist to write Scare Journalism and Miracle Vegetable Of The Week stories and science journalists had stopped being trusted guides for the public. Instead, they primarily defended science or were cheerleaders – which is the kiss of death in real journalism.
Yes. For your own sakes, science writers, Lose the pom poms. Leave the loudhailer at home. That said, Campbell notes,
Ouch. Not even a scientist, simply a journalist. That is even worse than being dismissed as a teaching professor.
Dawkins was gracious in his response, a gift he sometimes has in bursts. Wilson was referring to ‘the selfish gene’ and kin selection. Dawkins simply said Wilson was wrong in his non-belief. More.
This clearly feels like a moment of Darwinism in decline. They don’t seem to mind trashing each other in public now. Doubtless, some will appear in the combox below to say it is not so. And we’ll listen.
Incidentally, Campbell adds,
Science culture has changed a lot since the days of Gould and Sagan. It used to be the place for mavericks to pursue uncomfortable truths but now the ultimate endorsement is instead mainstream validation – working for the government, or blogging for a large corporation or being on television.
So future generations will likely be kinder to Dawkins than his peers have been. TV has become our history, as the saying goes. And that means Wilson could end up being a footnote.
Maybe. Campbell should follow up on the significance of what he just said.
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