CNN and the War on Science

Anderson Cooper, star of CNN

Anderson Cooper, star of CNN

As a great many of my colleagues have pointed out, CNN is regressing to the Middle Ages of journalism by eliminating all of science from the public discourse, forever. My thoughts on this are as follows:

This is excellent for science.

CNN’s decision, which goes against the grain, is a warning shot across the bow of science saying basically, “Look, you’re not relevant, you’re boring, you’re obscurantist; much of what you say isn’t even true.” I believe that CNN’s decision marks the beginning of a Küngian paradigm shift. The only question I have to ask is, what took so long? We’ve had these contemporary equivalents of witchcraft spouting their dribble all over the press in recent years. First it was that godawful NOVA series, then that New Age mockery of reason What the Bleep do We Know?, and then Brian Greene’s two propaganda publications. One has to thank one’s lucky stars tha such saviors as Peter Woit and Bill Dembski have arisen in recent years. But they aren’t enough without popular pressure. As Noam Chomsky recently noted, progress is won from below, not given from above. And this is historically confirmed by such LaRouchian works as A People’s History of Science, which you can read about here, here, and here.

Basically, what Küng, Hung, Hempel, and others have shown, is that science requires outside pressure in order to progress. Internal consistency is not enough. The trick is overcoming what Chomsky has in another context called “community norms” (cf. Chomsky, New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind, 142 ff). Chad Orzel wants to suggest that scientists make progress by yelling at each other. And notice that he fails to cite the “book” he is supposedly reading. Well what Orzel (and, giving him the benefit of the doubt – his book) fails to realize is that the shouting must come from outside.

And indeed this is what Blitzer, Cooper, and the rest have done for us. They have given an ultimatum to science, much like Congress has given an ultimatum to the auto industry. Except there is no one to bail out the scientists but themselves. The one area where perhaps Orzel is correct is in the Creation/ID/Evolution three-way mud-wrestling match, where the latter of the three regularly resorts to ad hominem, and often tacitly admits doing so.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Everyone from Whitehead to Reichenbach would be pleased with this development; so then should contemporary scientists be.


8 thoughts on “CNN and the War on Science

  1. After pawing through your blog a bit, I’ve come to the conclusion that you have a brain that is used to being worked everyday. I applaude you.

    Now I must know what you dislike about Greene and What the Bleep? To my chagrin- I have discovered that a blogger who seems to have a brain- also reprimands two media sources I have taken a liking to over the years. This likely means that the Art Teacher (me) is the one who needs more knowledge to work with from the Science Guy (you) in regards to this topic.

    Can you oblige me?

  2. I was contemplating a reply when Brian Greene jumped out of your blog and made me spill my beer (at least that’s my story, and part of it is true). In any case the cleanup has spoiled my thought process for the evening, and so I must resort to ad hominem; what a bunch of total kneebiters over at CNN.

    PS: Nice blog snow. I’ll have to figure out how you did that.

  3. Danny boy,

    The blog snow is easy. Just go to “appearance” from your dashboard, and it’s in extras. If I recall correctly it only lasts till January. It’s a special seasonal feature.


  4. Alas, I am ensconced in Blogger and cast my eye enviously at WordPress.

    I did find JavaScript for it though, and perhaps I can install it for myself.

  5. Is it actually Thomas Samuel Kuhn you mean when you talk about the paradigm shift? I don’t know about Küng though…

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