Two Essays on Expelled, Dawkins, and PZ
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Two essays I wrote on Expelled are now in print and I have placed PDFs of the articles online. The first shorter essay appears at Skeptical Inquirer magazine and reviews the impact of the film at the state level, as it has shaped local news coverage and the legislative agenda. I conclude that as a strategic communication campaign, the film's impact has been greatly underestimated.
The second longer essay appears at the Kean Review, a new arts and ideas journal sold at Barnes & Noble and other larger bookstores. In this essay I review the impact of the film but also anchor Expelled in the context of the decade-long framing wars over intelligent design.
In both essays, I draw attention to the confusing messages that scientist pundits such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers continue to send to the wider American public. By combining their attacks on religion with their defense of evolution, they blur the lines between science, religion, and atheism, providing fodder to creationists who claim that evolution is part of a larger atheist agenda. These confusing messages are only likely to be amplified next year during the anniversary celebration of Charles Darwin, as Dawkins goes on a publicity tour for his new book and Myers is reported to also have a book in the works.
Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.
- Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
- The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
- What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
The so-called FAANG companies have lost more than $700 billion in market value since October.
- The shares of major tech companies were performing exceptionally well earlier this year, but those gains got nearly erased on Monday.
- Overvaluation, the U.S.-China trade war and recent privacy concerns surrounding tech companies are among the reasons for the drops.
- Apple and Facebook have been hit the hardest in recent weeks, thanks in part to a few major reports from news outlets.
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