scientific facts

Mind Over Mass Media

Truro, Mass.

NEW forms of media have always caused moral panics: the printing press, newspapers, paperbacks and television were all once denounced as threats to their consumers’ brainpower and moral fiber.

So too with electronic technologies. PowerPoint, we’re told, is reducing discourse to bullet points. Search engines lower our intelligence, encouraging us to skim on the surface of knowledge rather than dive to its depths. Twitter is shrinking our attention spans.

The complicated history of simple scientific facts

Every now and then, the public gets a glimpse at what goes into the making of scientific consensus on an important question. No, we're not talking about the infamous climate change emails—we're talking about how science really comes to its conclusions, a process that involves a few hundred years of work.

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