How well is science reported?

We are presently in the midst of a furor over the evolutionary beginnings of religious thought thanks to misreporting of a scientist’s views in last week’s Sunday papers. It is also a well known bugbear of scientists that journalists look for the easy bits and the soundbites to take from a presentation, ignoring the scientific method and all those boring bits like weighing up of different theories to see which one fits best the new data, or whether the model agrees with observation or whatever. Interesting then that Lord Drayson (a particular bugbear of mine as he is a former businessman who has often treated UK science as nothing more than the R&D department of UK plc) chose this moment to step in and call science reporting accurate, fair and balanced.

Ben Goldacre, who makes much of efforts to expose bad science reporting hit back and now the two are scheduled to hold a debate on the subject. 390 of the 400 tickets have already been snapped up, but the final ten are available through a twitter competition. Tweet your comments on this story to @timeshighered and you may be in with a chance to win.

The debate will be at the Royal Institution at 7pm on the 16th of September. It will be broadcast live here and the video will be put online soon after.


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