Paul Raeburn over at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker has a somewhat more temperate– but still scathing– response to the awful Daniel Sarewitz piece Slate ran yesterday, and these Heralded Pages frothed on a bit about:
Sarewitz reasons by insinuation, not with evidence or data. If he thinks it’s causation, he should make his case–and cite some evidence to support it. He doesn’t bother. He tries to taint scientists merely by asking a loaded question. Sarewitz might also ask the males among them when they stopped beating their wives.
Can Sarewitz show that scientists’ political beliefs affect their findings, which is what he is alleging? No. Again, he insinuates, but does not even try to back up the claim. Instead, he writes, “…Could it be that disagreements over climate change are essentially political—and that science is just carried along for the ride?” Well, it could be, I suppose. But is it? Sarewitz doesn’t bother to say.
Another instance: Sarewitz says “survey data show that the scientific community enjoys the trust of 90 percent of Americans—more than for any other institution, including the Supreme Court and the military. Yet this exceptional status could well be forfeit in the escalating fervor of national politics.” Could it be? I suppose so. But where’s the evidence? Mr. Sarewitz? Hello? Hello?
Upon due, prayerful, consideration, the Maybe attached to the end of the title of the Sarewitz rant run yesterday was unnecessarily hyperbolic: While extremely crappy, Sarewitz doesn’t even come close to Saletan on Race, or Gregg Easterbrook on… anything.