Friday, August 24, 2012

surprise: media routinely misrepresents neuroscience research to further ideological agendas

Neurobonkers | A paper published today in the journal Neuron describes how the mainstream media (specifically the Daily Telegraph, Times, Daily Mail, Sun, Mirror and the Guardian) have tackled the topic of neuroscience over the past decade. The paper is a damning indictment of how the press use neuroscience as a tool with which to “portray themselves as dispassionate” whilst preaching their trademark prejudices. The paper describes how the Telegraph used research to wrongly “assert that productive female participation in both the labor market and family life is neurobiologically impossible”, while the Daily Mail miscellaneously linked “women to irrationality” (amongst countless other crimes) and the Times absurdly squealed “are gays dopamine junkies?”. The paper lists a labyrinth of logical fallacies which the media use to misrepresent neuroscience, repeatedly highlighting a tendency for:

“overextensions of research, with implications drawn far outside the original research context. This overextrapolation of research was not limited to idle speculation but sometimes extended to calls for concrete applications.”

The paper assessed the contents of nearly 3,000 articles involving neuroscience over the past decade to see which topics came up most. It’s not hard to see how the data is skewed by the media’s recent obsessions such as fish oil and narcotics. I’ve tossed the figures in to Manyeyes to make the information a little easier to digest:

4 comments:

umbrarchist said...

This goes along with something I have been thinking for years now.

European culture is a culture of LIARS. But it depends on the majority of them being dumb enough to believe the lies.

CNu said...

The governance structures of ALL hierarchical human cultures depend upon lying and the mass suspension of disbelief in order to persist. That's why there is no truly democratic governance. (Iceland is an interesting possible exception though, no?)

The reason I called out this particular article and always put a priority on any such related articles is because it delineates a uniquely dangerous form of lying, namely, lying under the guise of science. That's the essence of what the Nazi's were on about. It's Big Don's religion, and it's something that deserves relentless focus to eradicate because if lying contaminates the next generations of human scientific and technological development - genomic/nanotechnological - then there will be some potentially irreversible hell-to-pay.

umbrarchist said...

"lying under the guise of science"

That is what 9/11 is about. But it is grade school physics. It is a combination of hilarious and sickening. I call it the 9/11 Affair. I think it is related to the Galileo Affair. He did simple physics experiments and that is all that is required to determine that airliners could not destroy skyscrapers 2000 times their own mass.

Making a model to attempt to simulate a tower collapse would involve the square cube law which was first delineated by Galileo.

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