Melissa Marshall On Science Communication (And On Pseudoscience At TED And At The Conversation)

Since today was a TEDxPerth day (went wonderfully!) and since there’s a very encouraging letter about challenging pseudoscience at TED conferences, I thought I’d post a very good talk on science communication that was featured at another TED:

…The consequence of bad science and health hoaxes are not trivial. As an example, Andrew Wakefield’s attempt to link autism and vaccines was exposed as a hoax last year. But while his work was being investigated, millions of children went without vaccines, and many contracted deadly illnesses as a result.

We take this seriously. – – an email sent to the TEDx community regarding our view on bad science/pseudoscience talks at TEDx events.

In my opinion, the scientists at TEDxPerth were fantastic and certainly spoke to their expertise – although I did notice that the presentation by Andrew Jaspan, of The Conversation, emphasised that their site seeks specialists to write for them and checks their qualifications. They want toGive experts a greater voice in shaping scientific, cultural and intellectual agendas by providing a trusted platform that values and promotes new thinking and evidence-based research,” amongst other things.

Here’s a live-blogging of the talk that Andrew Jaspan gave at TEDxPerth (I didn’t blog or Tweet much, since I’m still not well enough to be blogging regularly and I’d podcasted interviews earlier anyway!): Saving Journalism (The Conversation) by Charlie Gunningham.


The Conversation does list anti-vaccination supporter Judy Wilyman in their profiles. BUT, she has NOT written anything for the site as of yet.

Does signing onto The Conversation as a contributor mean automatic kudos as a reliable expert… even if you haven’t written anything for the site? Would people be upset if she wrote exclusively for The Conversation about issues other than vaccinations and community health?

Anyway. That’s for you to debate, if you like. Here’s Melissa Marshall:

Melissa Marshall brings a message to all scientists (from non-scientists): We’re fascinated by what you’re doing. So tell us about it — in a way we can understand. In just 4 minutes, she shares powerful tips on presenting complex scientific ideas to a general audience.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a former Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide. She regularly presents a news and current affairs show on RTRFM's The Mag (tune in on Tuesdays!).
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science. She files her nails while they drag the lake.