Robin Ince On Experts (Not Windbags)

Robin Ince writes (and you should read the whole thing) – If you want my opinion, what we need are experts, not windbags:

We can be so busy in an onanistic orgy of our own opinions that we scarcely find time to look away from our reflection in the bile to read anything or anyone else.

Everyone knows they are correct now. However crazed your idea might be, somewhere within the internet lies someone in a similar cellar who agrees with you. We are all entirely right. We are all entirely wrong. Points of views unhindered by any evidence save the scraps that suit you.

…I want to see more experts. I want more facts. I want to see more people who cannot just tell me what opinion they have, but can convincingly answer why they hold it too. It is not intellectual fascism to consider people who know things to be more knowledgeable than those who don’t. We all have the right to our opinion, but we don’t have the right to stop people laughing at it.

…I am no longer right enough about anything, I am only trying to be less wrong.

In a slighly related segue – a number of articles on the loss of science writers in Australia that was recently tweeted by Natasha Mitchell that I want to hang onto and you may like to check out too:

THE PROBLEM WITH SCIENCE REPORTING – Radio National podcast with Richard Aedy. Australian journalism isn’t covering science based stories very well.  And these include disease, obesity, climate change, natural disasters and the Murray-Darling. But increasingly science is being ghettoised into the sensational or the quirky, as fewer genuine specialists remain in journalism and understaffed newsrooms struggle to keep up.

THE PITFALLS OF HEALTH NEWS – JOURNALISTS, RESEARCH JOURNALS AND THE SCIENTIFIC PROCESS – another podcast over on the ABC site. To fast or not to fast? Should we eat carbs after 6pm? What lifestyle activities will reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease? The media is full of news of the latest (and every changing) health research, with peer-reviewed academic journals the chief source of such stories. But are we getting the interesting and amazing at the expense something more accurate but more ambiguous and unsexy? And who is to blame? Journalists, journals or scientists themselves?

Finally, over at Croaky: From the perfect job to an endangered species: the demise of science journalism and why it matters:

…When a story takes off, though, political journalists generally muscle in. That’s fine. They’re an intelligent and capable bunch. But the result can be superficial. It’s the equivalent of sending me to cover internal Cabinet disputes or Coalition policy shifts. I’d get the obvious points but miss the context and complexity. Important issues and implications would go unreported


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