Revelatory Evolution and Cosmological Creation Tales: when science is presented like a religion

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When you sit down to watch a science documentary you’re probably expecting to learn something about science. You might even be hoping to pick up a few facts to impress your colleagues at the office or your friends at the pub. However, along with these nuggets of knowledge, a science programme will also present an image of science. This image is a product of the way science is talked about in the show and suggests something more fundamental about how scientific knowledge is produced and the status or quality of this knowledge. My research has focused on these images or representations of science in non-fiction programmes, and I argue that in some programmes science is presented in a way which makes it look like a religion. Continue reading Revelatory Evolution and Cosmological Creation Tales: when science is presented like a religion

Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

If you can believe what you read, “FAKE NEWS” is everywhere these days. Shot onto the media scene like a lexical gag, the phrase was fired from the mouth of President Donald J. Trump as he confronted CNN reporter Jim Acosta during the then president-elect’s first press conference. Although the words are much older, Trump has certainly made the capitalisation his own. “FAKE NEWS!” The phrase itself comes stinking of Orwell’s ink, and when levelled it splits the media between those who goodthink and crimethink—between those who carry the party line, and those who don’t. However, this post isn’t concerned with presidential duckspeak, but rather the shape of the messages themselves—fake or not—which we receive via the media. Continue reading Fake news, media framing, and the case of Pope Francis’ ‘shocking’ comments on evolution

Persuasion in the Evolution Wars

Wikimedia Commons
By Tom Aechtner

I would like to think that I’m a rational person; an individual who logically considers my actions and attitudes.  For instance, it’s my hope that when faced with an advertising campaign I would thoroughly study every claim an advert might make, rather than being affected by flashy images or persuasive rhetoric.  My guess is that I’m not alone in thinking this about myself.

Many of us perceive ourselves to be sensible people who are not easily swayed by the guiles of persuasive techniques, such as those found in advertising pitches or political speeches.  The problem, however, is that decades of persuasion research has revealed we usually don’t have the ability or the motivation to diligently evaluate the many persuasive messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Continue reading Persuasion in the Evolution Wars

Is the Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science a creationist? – The monkey business revisited

Charles Darwin, as an ape. Source: Wellcome Images, Wellcome Library, London. (CC BY 4.0)

By Hans Henrik Hjermitslev

During July and August 2015 the Danish public witnessed a heated controversy on science and religion in the popular media. The reason for this was that two historians of religion, Michael Rothstein and Jens-André Herbener, accused the newly appointed Minister of Higher Education and Science, the Liberal MP Esben Lunde Larsen, of being a creationist and therefore unsuitable for the office. Continue reading Is the Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science a creationist? – The monkey business revisited