New (anti) Scientist?

I’ve been a long time reader of New Scientist and generally enjoy it’s coverage (despite the occasional somewhat dubiously sensationalist headlines) but recently I’ve seen a strange and altogether mystifying trend.

Several of the issues recently have had either articles or editorials that seem to take a rather anti-science (or anti-scientist) view. This seems especially prevelent with regards to the recent supposed ‘scandals’ in climate science and the alleged ‘cover up’ of anti-climate change data.

In a recent editorial NS alluded to the popular idea that “greens and environmental scientists are authoritarian tree-huggers who value nature above people”. The gist of the editorial, and one that has been repeated in several other NS pieces is that scientists as a whole, and in particular environmental scientists don’t ‘sell themselves’ well enough to the mass media and are often seem elitist and impenetrable to the average person.

For one thing, the vast majority of environmentalists seem to have the exact opposite view. The reason they are so worried about environmental change is precisely because they value people and their continued existence in to the future so much. If they didn’t care so much they wouldn’t really give a damn what happened to the world.

Secondly, it’s not really part of a scientist’s “job decription” to popularise science and they’re not usually very good at it. Some are and thank goodness for those blessed with those skils. But the people who’s real job is to explain science to the general public are science popularisation publications and shows. Just like New Scientist .

It seems rather hypocritical of a media outlet designed to popularise science to be criticising scientists for not doing their job for them.



* indicates required

My Books