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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06 2014, @10:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06 2014, @10:50AM (#64802)

    The advancement of science depends upon marginal views. But oh well, Radio and TV and Internet have all been invented and BBC already uses them, so why should the BBC care about progress?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:15AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:15AM (#64807) Journal

      The advancement of science depends upon marginal views. But oh well, Radio and TV and Internet have all been invented and BBC already uses them, so why should the BBC care about progress?

      The BBC is not the place to advance science, that's what scientific journals are for. The BBC is there to inform the public. And if a marginal view is presented as anything else than a marginal view, it's misinformation.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:20AM

      by umafuckitt (20) on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:20AM (#64808)

      You are miss-representing the idea behind TFA and over-extrapolating a media issue to a scientific issue. The idea is to give less air time to media pundits who disagree with non-contentious scientific issues. So the hope, obviously, is we will not waste air-time with people telling us that Wifi causes cancer or that evolution is a myth. This is a BBC (media) initiative and it has nothing to do with the way the scientific establishment settles theories, or debates topics (marginal or otherwise). What the BBC chooses to air will not affect the advancement of science (unless they start arguing for decreased funding, etc).

      In addition to the above, it's far from being a universal truth that advancement of science depends on marginal views. A lot of very significant theories were readily accepted almost immediately. Examples include Newton's laws, Einstein's relativity and his work on the photoelectric effect, and the structure of DNA. Of course it's true that contentious theories, such as evolution was initially, have later turned out to be correct. But not all contentious theories are marginal (evolution wasn't, as there weren't many credible options). It's also true that some initially marginal theories, such as continental drift, have later turned out to be correct. However, the vast majority of marginal theories are crackpot or wrong. These bloopers are forgotten about and what we end up remembering is the lone crusading marginal theory that turned out to be correct. These outliers are important to keep in mind, as they temper hubris, but we need to remember that a theory being marginal does not convey upon it an increased likelihood of being correct.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:47AM (#64816)

        Wow, 273 words in response to 33 words. That's a 727.27% return on investment for such an obvious troll. Would you be available to participate in a study on gullibility?

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:53AM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Sunday July 06 2014, @11:53AM (#64818)

          The trolling wasn't on my mind when I responded. The "marginal theories drive science" line was on my mind. That is something that is often echoed (not by trolls) and isn't really correct. That's why I felt the comment warranted a response.

        • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:15PM

          by Horse With Stripes (577) on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:15PM (#64825)

          Wow, a 30 word troll to an informed and thoughtful response. No wonder trolling on the internet is so prevalent; it takes very little effort.

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by aiwarrior on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:46PM

            by aiwarrior (1812) on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:46PM (#64845) Journal

            Actually it is one of the wonders of sites like this one. The poster goes beyond the simple reply, he creates a a small text about a subject, that completely stands on his own.

            I for one enjoyed his effort and maybe you did too. He debunks a thesis with facts and arguments assembled in a way that should satisfy a philosopher - knowledge lover - just for the sake of it.

            Probably in your own social circle people take crackpot theories as so absurd that anybody defending them is regarded as being joking. Well, I invite you to search out for other circles, you will learn a lot. I would tell you where to start in my culture but I do not know yours.

            Cheers

            • (Score: 1) by Horse With Stripes on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:15PM

              by Horse With Stripes (577) on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:15PM (#64857)

              My post was regarding the 'troll' and post he was trolling. It had nothing to do with "crackpot theories", nor was it supporting the BBC's position, umafuckitt's position, or the subject of this story. If you're equating the quality of umafuckitt's post with agreeing with its content then maybe you need to search out other circles because frankly, you will learn a lot. Your assumptions about my position are simply that: assumptions.

              The inability to separate quality from content often results in "mod down - I disagree".

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by elgrantrolo on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:02PM

        by elgrantrolo (1903) on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:02PM (#64822) Journal

        The idea is to give less air time to media pundits who disagree with non-contentious scientific issues. So the hope, obviously, is we will not waste air-time with people telling us that Wifi causes cancer or that evolution is a myth.

        With Airtime being scarce and internet TV being apparently limitless, maybe the BBC could stop their existing work from being wasted. They can't prevent people from having weird ideas (no matter if good or stupid) and probably end up interviewing people whose contribution to any debate may not be that great. Instead of deleting stuff, they might as well use this kind of editorial criteria and store the X-file kind of stuff where it can be used later on. It is the respectful thing to do and would probably inspire new generations of comedians.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:49PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:49PM (#64847)

          I don't know that it's an either/or scenario. I do, however, know that when an authority figure or expert enters into a debate with crackpots, the crackpot position is given legitimacy and this strengths it in the eyes of public. I'm pretty sure there have even been studies on the effect. Thus, it seems pretty important that obviously stupid ideas are not given air time. Look what happened with the MMR/autism bullshit: kids actually died of preventable diseases as a consequence of scientifically illiterate reporters believing whatever they read and reporting it.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:18PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:18PM (#64965)

          "internet TV being apparently limitless"

          Unfortunately cameraman, editor, producer, stagehand, interviewer, and stage time is highly limited, unless they just start syndicating freely posted youtube rants as their own.

          "would probably inspire new generations of comedians."

          We have CSPAN and FOX News for that.

    • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:05PM

      by SpockLogic (2762) on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:05PM (#64854)

      I can't wait to read the vociferous condemnation of this policy by the members of the Flat Earth Society.

      --
      Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
  • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Dunbal on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:13PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Sunday July 06 2014, @12:13PM (#64824)

    From the mainstream media? ROFL. Wouldn't it be funny if they applied this effort to try to appear impartial to I dunno, ACTUAL NEWS? It's clear there's a concerted effort to muddle, misdirect and turn black into white and day into night, and it's not only at the BBC. Division is, after all, political power.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by jb on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:07PM

    by jb (338) on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:07PM (#64837)

    The whole point of editorial guidelines on impartiality is that nobody can be trusted to determine unilaterally what is or isn't contentious, so the safest course is to allow each school of thought to speak for themselves and let the viewers make up their own minds.

    It wouldn't be so bad if it were a commercial network, but the BBC is a state broadcaster. When the Government gets to decide what the people are or aren't allowed to be told is contentious, we'll have a far greater problem than the one described in the report.

    Also, when someone credibly criticises "non-contentious" science, that's actual news and makes for good viewing, particularly is the criticiser is prepared to debate another expert in the field live on air, whereas someone merely reiterating the conventional wisdom is hardly compelling viewing...

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by wonkey_monkey on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:56PM

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:56PM (#64850) Homepage

      so the safest course is to allow each school of thought to speak for themselves and let the viewers make up their own minds.

      That may be the "safest" course of action - whatever you mean by "safe" - but it would quickly get pretty tiresome if, for every point Brian Cox makes in a documentary, the program then has to spend five times as long airing all of the opposing views.

      You wouldn't be able to get further than "the dinosaurs lived hundreds of millions of years ago" in a single hour.

      but the BBC is a state broadcaster. When the Government gets to decide what the people are or aren't allowed to be told is contentious

      The BBC isn't run by the government any more than any of the commercial broadcasters are.

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
      • (Score: 0) by Jiro on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:27PM

        by Jiro (3176) on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:27PM (#64908)

        The BBC is run by the government. It's paid by a tax on TVs. Private companies don't get to do that--imagine that you were not permitted to buy a burger at McDonalds unless you also paid some money to Burger King.

        The government may not be directly deciding what it says at this exact moment, but they can change that any time they want.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:59PM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:59PM (#64917) Journal

          Rubbish - the BBC is run by the BBC Trust [wikipedia.org] which is are responsible for ensuring that the tax-payer - NOT the Government - get value for money. The BBC frequently has documentaries, news reports and other items which are NOT in the Governments interest.

          I suspect that, from time to time, the Government wishes it had more control over the BBC!

          --
          It's always my fault...
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:31PM

      by theluggage (1797) on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:31PM (#64861)

      The whole point of editorial guidelines on impartiality

      This isn't about impartiality. This is about avoiding "bias by balance" where an over-rigid insistence on always presenting an opposing view means that, if you interview someone who says that two plus two is four, you have to scour the world to find someone who disagrees. Go read TFA: this is about the BBC inviting celebrity pundits and bloggers to argue with qualified scientists because they couldn't find any qualified scientists with opposing views.

      It wouldn't be so bad if it were a commercial network, but the BBC is a state broadcaster.

      So you'd rather let that nice Mr Murdoch decide what you are or aren't allowed to be told?

      Personally, I'm more worried about media-run states [bbc.co.uk] than state-run-media.

      Here we are debating a publicly available report on BBC policy. If the BBC wasn't a state broadcaster, subject to public scrutiny, a directive from the Big Cheese on who to interview would have been 'commercially sensitive information' and we'd be none the wiser.

      The BBC has many, many flaws, but at least we get to know what they are. With commercial media, we have to wait until one of them gets sent to jail [bbc.co.uk].

      • (Score: 1) by Jiro on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:39PM

        by Jiro (3176) on Sunday July 06 2014, @06:39PM (#64912)

        You do realize you just gave links to two BBC stories to support the idea that the BBC is better than other broadcasters? What next, will you quote the head of the NSA to explain why the NSA is really doing good work?

        Obviously it's going to be in the BBC's best interest to publish stories which make private broadcasters out to look bad, especially if the BBC can forcibly collect money from people who have no choice but to pay the BBC if they want to watch the private broadcasters.

        (And don't reply by saying "that really happened". The question is one of emphasis and bias. I'm sure the head of the NSA could name some good things that the NSA did that really happened--it's just that while true, dwelling on those would give a misleading overall picture of the NSA.)

        • (Score: 2) by theluggage on Sunday July 06 2014, @10:24PM

          by theluggage (1797) on Sunday July 06 2014, @10:24PM (#64982)

          You do realize you just gave links to two BBC stories to support the idea that the BBC is better than other broadcasters?

          So... did you expect me to link to one of the commercial sites I'd just slagged off? Although, now that you mention it, I did Google and surprisingly it didn't throw up any links to The Sun, The Sunday Times or Sky News (merely a glitch on Google, I'm sure). Just for completeness here's [independent.co.uk] a link from a news source other than the BBC.

          What next, will you quote the head of the NSA to explain why the NSA is really doing good work?

          Perhaps you could point out which bit of either of those stories involved the BBC promoting itself?

          Meanwhile here [bbc.co.uk] is the BBC dutifully reporting on one of its own fuckups. If this sort of thing had happened in a multinational media corporation, do you think they'd run stories on it (or is the private sector just infallible) ?

          • (Score: 1) by Jiro on Wednesday July 09 2014, @02:36AM

            by Jiro (3176) on Wednesday July 09 2014, @02:36AM (#66320)

            Although, now that you mention it, I did Google and surprisingly it didn't throw up any links to The Sun, The Sunday Times or Sky News (merely a glitch on Google, I'm sure).

            That's not a glitch on Google, that's because those sources don't have the incentive to over-emphasize such stories that the BBC does.

            Perhaps you could point out which bit of either of those stories involved the BBC promoting itself?

            It's a story about a private broadcaster doing bad things. You even used it yourself to show that private broadcasters do bad things. You seriously can't see how publicizing such a story benefits a state-owned broadcaster?

            Meanwhile here is the BBC dutifully reporting on one of its own fuckups. If this sort of thing had happened in a multinational media corporation, do you think they'd run stories on it (or is the private sector just infallible) ?

            Read carefully one of the related story titles. "BBC boss sacked over failed project". In other words, this is typical internal politics: now that they have a new boss, they publish things that make the old boss look bad. I would be very unsurrpised at a private company that, after firing its CEO or in the middle of an internal struggle whether to fire its CEO, publishes something saying how bad it is to be run by that CEO.

    • (Score: 2) by khakipuce on Monday July 07 2014, @12:06PM

      by khakipuce (233) on Monday July 07 2014, @12:06PM (#65184)

      Several years ago the BBC commissioned a report by prof. Steve Jones on this subject and he gave a nice example of the issue. Suppose mathematicians discover that 2+2=4, the journos would get on someone from the number 5 preservation society to argue that 2+2=5 and at the end of the debate the journo would conclude that the answer is somewhere between 4 and 5.

      Some things are facts, the BBC (or the government if you are that paranoid) is not going to stop reporting things that are contentious but it is going to separate facts from debatable analysis. It is also going to dig deeper in to what motivates people to argue for a particular case, which may well be nothing to do with science. In fact we sometimes see scientists debating with government representatives.

  • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:16PM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Sunday July 06 2014, @01:16PM (#64841) Journal
    Conflict is at the heart of any good story, and so in search of a good story, journalists resort to "cranks" to build that conflict.

    Also, anyone who doesn't agree with this post is probably controlled by the Mind Zombies of Lithius 9 through an interstellar relay run by Bigfoot inside the pyramids.
    --
    - fractious political commentary goes here -
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by maxwell demon on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:28PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday July 06 2014, @02:28PM (#64859) Journal

      Also, anyone who doesn't agree with this post is probably controlled by the Mind Zombies of Lithius 9 through an interstellar relay run by Bigfoot inside the pyramids.

      Well, that's obviously nonsense. First, it should be general knowledge that there are only Lithius 1 to Lithius 8; if there's no Lithius 9, then how could there be Mind Zombies of Lithius 9?

      Also, it is known that Mind Zombies never control anything or anyone, they are controlled. It's the Mind Vampires who control people. Especially they control Mind Zombies.

      Moreover, it is an established fact that mind control doesn't work over relays, the mind control rays have to be applied directly.

      Also, Bigfoot would never operate a relay of anything. Bigfoot is completely technophobe. Moreover, Bigfoot would never enter a pyramid, the pyramidic energy field would kill Bigfoot. Not to mention that it would also destroy any relay of whatever type if anyone tried to build it inside a pyramid.

      Now of course it cannot be an accident that you spread so much misinformation about mind control, so it's evident that you are controlled by the Mind Vampires of Magnesius 3.

      SCNR :-)

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Sunday July 06 2014, @04:07PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Sunday July 06 2014, @04:07PM (#64880)

        Well yeah. That's what Bigfoot and his Lithian cohorts want you to think!

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:15PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:15PM (#64963)

        " First, it should be general knowledge that there are only Lithius 1 to Lithius 8; if there's no Lithius 9, then how could there be Mind Zombies of Lithius 9?"

        GD scientists. Fine, Kuiper belt object / trans-Neptunian object / dwarf planet / Plutoid number 9. Close enough for government work.

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:28PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 06 2014, @09:28PM (#64967) Journal

    Dara O'brian has a funny bit he does about the required Balance views on TV programming.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDYba0m6ztE [youtube.com]

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.