Science Madness
Janet Coburn

Sigh! I wish I could disagree with you, Janet, but that would be denying the science of sociology. It’s no consolation to say that things are much the same here in Australia. For sure, there are lots of people concerned about the dumbing-down of scientific thought in mainstream media, but the louder and more influential voices of doubt seem to have the tiller for now.

A few years back one of our senior politicians (Joe Hockey, the then-federal Treasurer) was on a radio show lamenting the impact of clean energy production. “I drive to Canberra [our national capital and seat of government] to go to Parliament … and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive,” Mr Hockey said. “I think they’re a blight on the landscape.”

The interviewer, our country’s most listened-to shock-jock, responded with “correct!” This radio host–Alan Jones–has a vast cadre of listeners who hang on and believe his every word. If Alan agrees that wind farms are utterly offensive, then the “science” is settled! Strangely, though, when rural landowners were trying to prevent energy companies from fracking on their farming country, Mr Jones was the public face of many of the protests.

This science, the “real” kind, is opportunistic, it seems. The other science is there for us to be angry at. Until it’s needed for a medical breakthrough, a faster smartphone or a quicker way to watch “reality” TV, that is.

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