The narrowing of public discourse

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had the chance to blog as much as I would have liked.  Next week I’ll continue reviewing the Hernnstein-Smith book.  I’ll also start trying to discuss the narrowing of public discourse in science debates.  That is, certain beliefs and viewpoints are automatically neglected, marginalized, or demonized.  I was largely inspired by Glenn Greenwald and Conor Friedersdorf (see “Who are the real crazies in our political culture?”  and the piece in Newsweek).

While both of them discussed foreign policy and the war on drugs, I will try to stick to science as much as possible.  I know this this tact avoids the topics most people would actually find interesting.  But I promised myself that I wouldn’t let this blog become a forum for my political rants.  I hope the inclusion of the uber-liberal Greenwald balances my previous reference to the conservative Daniel Larison.


  1. We want political rants! We want political rants! Just kidding. I greatly respect your commitment to stay on the issue. People tend to enjoy either the validation or arousing repulsion that they get from political rants, but unfortunately this often makes such content a mere form of entertainment. Hence the appeal of cable news, where news content has been replaced by political rants (i.e. Fox) or water cooler banter (i.e. CNN). I’ve started to wonder if the information explosion brought about by technology (cable, internet) has actually hurt the functioning of democracy. I think that both a free AND responsible media are key for effective democracy. We have the former for sure, but do we still have the latter? This actually comes back to how science is presented and interpreted. Anyway this is not my blog, so I’ll stop. All the best.

    1. Thanks for the comment! And you’re welcome to your rants on my blog. I agree that the information explosion may have hurt democratic functioning, but I’m not sure if anything can be done about it. As for how science is presented and interpreted, I’m doing my very small part to try fix that.

      Hope all is well.

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