Yesterday, we raised the point that science journalists–those conversant with analysis–are needed in areas other than science. Friday, the NY Times, in a story about the attempt to outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks due to the mistaken belief that fetuses feel pain at this point*, has a very important paragraph:
Most scientists and medical associations say that perception of pain is impossible without brain developments that occur well after 20 weeks.
So what’s the problem? This is the nineteenth paragraph in a 27 paragraph story (and the 879th word in a 1,199 word article). Unlike the lede, which describes the fetal pain argument as based on “disputed scientific theories”, there is no scientific dispute. Or a controversy (to use a phrase).
I can’t help but think that someone with a science journalism background would have said, “Holy shit, here we go again!” Because this is exactly the same kind of garbage coverage that surrounded the evolution non-troversy.
Because you can do all the political ramifications and personal coverage you want, and at the end of it all, you’re left with nothing but a bullshit and refuted ‘hypothesis’.
Get thee to a science editor.