I really hope she’s available to go to a skeptic or atheist conference some time in the future – a great science communicator with a lot of insight. Check out the whole interview at Talking Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria – Senior Science Correspondent at Huffington Post:
Kylie: How do you avoid false equivalencies when doing science reporting? What sort of resources do you lean upon?
Cara: That’s a really good question. Honestly, it’s tough. For me, that’s one of the most important things that I do in my day-to-day; I don’t stand for false equivalencies. I try really hard not to make those errors myself. When it comes to science, oftentimes there’s a right answer and a wrong answer. Sometimes we don’t know. But when we talk about this side of the argument or that side of the argument, a lot of times what we’re actually talking about is science and anti-science, non-science, junk science, or pseudoscience.
And it’s very difficult for the casual reader of science to be able to tell the difference, because that’s the tricky and intelligent thing about pseudoscience peddlers. That’s why we call it pseudoscience, it sounds like science. It uses the same words. You can trick people that way, when a lot of times what we’re really looking at is self help books or quack medical things, alternatives to try and make money off of an unsuspecting public.
I’m actually really into the whole debunking side of things. I like to read strong skeptic magazines. I read Skeptic. I read Skeptical Inquirer. I’m really interested in reading things I hear about on “Point of Inquiry.” A lot of times, that will give me ideas for new stories. I like to figure out what seems mainstream but is actually totally bunk.
If I can do a story about that and inform just a few more people, then that’s fine. Sometimes it’s heavy, and sometimes it’s really tongue-in-cheek. I did a piece about whether or not redheads are really going extinct, because this kind of meme has been on the Internet for years. There are so many articles about it. And genetics doesn’t work that way. This recessive trait is not going to be bred out of the population. Don’t worry, redheads, you’re not going extinct!
You can read the whole interview at Curiouser and Curiouser and listen to the show (with even more contributors!) at One Hundred And Thirty Eight – On Science Engagement And Talking Nerdy To Me – With Bec Crew, Alex Brown And Cara Santa Maria.