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Posted Mon Aug 10th, 2009 4:29am Post subject: the NY Times and Thin Science

The NY Times printed what could generally be called a very soft science article about womens sexual actions/reactions. It's poor journalism because it's poor research but, and this isn't the writers fault really, it's an article based on very poor science.

Here's a serious critique of the article that points out some of the flaws of what's presented:

I like how the writer points out that more and more, when a researcher is quoted in an article with a science slant, the journalist has to build them into 'characters' of some kind. IOW, it's less about reporting the science and data and more about the person. Anyway...

And here's a funny critique of it:

These were sent to me. I was going to, at first, say that these links "might be interesting to the female forum members.." but realized if I did that it might be considered sexist of me.

For me, the Times article is a good example of what gets put forth as scientific fact to the general populus who often do not know the difference between good and bad science. I'm not sure, yet, why bad science is so much more popular with folks but it's not a new phenom, that's for sure.

What do you folks think the problem is? Is it that writing a science article is too difficult for most journalists? Or is that the people who pay the journalists have decided the public's not really interested in the facts of a thing? Or is it that the public wants science presented like their favorite video game/tv show/music/cell phone app/sport etc etc? Also, if scientists have a hard time being objective while in the act of *doing* science - will it be even harder for a journalist to divorce their own hang ups or bigotries from the facts if the science doesn't support their personal mindset/experience? Do you think the average reader out there has the ability to know when they're being snowed or led astray IF the article is 'talking science' or do you think most readers unconsciously decide *before* they've read the article that they are not capable of thinking at or above the level of 'scientists', and so then just blindly accept what is said to them by this group?

Really? Wow.

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