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Nature tries to referee Horgan vs. the Skeptics

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Readers may recall that unusually thoughtful science writer John Horgan recently told “Skeptics” Scientific American to do something useful with their lives. (Bash Bigfoot less, pop science more.)

The Skeptics, of course, protested that soft targets are fun. (The multiverse can be science even if unfalsifiable…)

The exchange identified the issue clearly. The Skeptical science communicators are mainly looking for confirmation of their theories from science; Horgan wants them to report on actual science.

In Nature (which owns Scientific American), Chris Woolston writes,

Horgan wrote that for sceptics to really have an impact, they need to tackle the “dubious and even harmful claims promoted by major scientists and institutions”.

For example, Horgan argues that sceptics should expose the harm that excessive cancer screening can have. “Americans are over-tested, over-treated and over-charged,” he wrote. He added that sceptics should take a hard look at geneticists who claim to have found a “gay gene” or an “ intelligence gene” or any other simplistic explanation for a complex trait.

His stance met with quick criticism online.More.

They didn’t like that? You don’t say!

If Big Screen or Big Gay needs a certain result, Big Skeptic exists to give it to them. And Airhead TV exists to publicize the claims. There, we just saved everyone a lot of trouble by explaining it clearly.

See also: What has materialism done for science? Introducing “Science Fictions”

There’s a gene for that… or is there?

and

Comcast runs MSNBC to ward off attacks by progressive politicians? In today’s media climate, that would just be smart business.

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