Learning Technology jottings at Goldsmiths

Thoughts and deeds

Ben Goldacre on Newsnight: online social networking fears

leave a comment »

The fear is that online social networking – twitter, facebook etc – may ‘rewire’ the brain. The debunker of bad science Ben Goldacre came on Newsnight to criticise the research findings

As well as sigh, smile indulgently and other signs of superiority.

But isn’t all scientific research based on speculation? You find your question and set out to answer it. Shouldn’t we blame the Daily Mail for the misunderstanding – the straw man Ben Goldacre seemed to be addressing himself to.

“It is my view that Professor Greenfield has been abusing her position as a professor, and head of the Royal Institution, for many years now, using these roles to give weight to her speculations and prejudices in a way that is entirely inappropriate. Sometimes it’s cannabis.”

This isn’t about her work is it, it’s about the media representation of her work? You can hear her talking about her work at a recent presentation – she’s careful, I think. Although occasionally provocative. This is OK, isn’t it?  At any rate, he doesn’t quote from her work, just the media coverage. So when he says “weight” here I think he is referring to the media, and not liking the way Susan Greenfield is being quoted (or what she’s saying, for that matter). Times like this I wish Ben Goldacre also ran a ‘Good Science’ column, to take her work and tell it right… Her work is good, isn’t it.

Susan Greenfield “abusing her position”? That’s a serious allegation. Does he mean she should be sacked?

I was glad that Arik Sigman squeaked in at the end with a mention of the research into editing speed of early-years TV programmes, and their effects on concentration.

No disrespect to Ben Goldacre intended. He’s a bit of a hero as far as I’m concerned.

Written by Mira Vogel

February 27, 2009 at 11:00

Posted in social networking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: