Folks, a lot of confusion about stuff like climate change, evolution, and a whole bunch of other scientific issues lately!
This article discusses how equal time is not really appropriate for a clearly false or uninformed position!
The metaphor that a coin has two sides is a powerful one, and the temptation to look at both sides of an issue is naturally strong. But the metaphor also assumes an equal weighting, and that both sides present the same space for discussion.
When an issue is genuinely controversial, the burden of proof is shared between opposing views. When a view is not mainstream, say that scientists are engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the public, the burden of proof sits with those promoting that view.
In such cases, as Christopher Hitchens succinctly put it: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
Attempting to dishonestly shift the burden of proof is a common device in the push to have young earth creationism taught in science classrooms.
The idea of “teaching both sides” or that students should be allowed to make up their own minds seems again like a recourse to the most basic ideas of a liberal education, but is in reality an attempt to bypass expert consensus, to offload the burden of proof rather than own it.
The fact is, that for issues such as creationism, vaccination and that climate change is occurring and is a function of human activity, it’s not about journalists suppressing views, it’s about quality control of information.
A classic means of muddying the waters is to employ straw man arguments, in which the point at issue is changed to one more easily defended or better suited to a particular interest. Politicians are adept at doing this, dodging hard questions with statements like “the real issue is” or “what’s important to people is”.
Deniers of climate science often change the issue from global warming to whether or not consensus is grounds for acceptance (it alone is not, of course), or focus on whether a particular person is credible rather than discuss the literature at large.
The anti-vaccine lobby talks about “choice” rather than efficacy of health care. Young earth creationists talk about the right to express all views rather than engage with the science. Politicians talk about anything except the question they were asked.
The third imperative, therefore, is to be very clear as to what the article or interview is about and stick to that topic. Moving off topic negates the presence of the experts (the desired effect) and gives unsubstantiated claims prominence.
The best method of dealing with cranks, conspiracy theorists, ideologues and those with a vested interest in a particular outcome is the best method for science reporting in general:
• insist on expertise
• recognise where the burden of proof sits
• stay focused on the point at issue.
If the media sticks to these three simple rules when covering science issues, impartiality and balance can be justifiably asserted.
(This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Follow all of the Expert Voices issues and debates — and become part of the discussion — on Facebook, Twitter and Google +. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on Live Science.)

asshole trophy
Well, well, talk about yer “ASSHOLES OF THE WEEK!” Looters Stole Cash, Credit Cards, and Jewelry from Flight MH17!
The crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which went down yesterday afternoon after being shot with a missile, is now being looted.
This is not only causing issues for the investigation, but also for the families of the victims on board, who will now not be able to recover the lost property of the 298 dead passengers and crew.

After the crash, investigators were unable to get to the site quickly and rope it off to preserve evidence. This allowed armed separatists and locals to essentially raid the scene.
lead_largeAs for what they took, wallets and credit cards were a favorite.
A photojournalist at the scene said, “There isn’t a single cellphone, wallet with money or camera to be found in any handbag or on the bodies.
It’s like they all mysteriously disappeared overnight.”
(Oh, by the way, it looks like the “black boxes” have disappeared as well!)
Newfoundland Report!
People in the southern Newfoundland town of Gaultois are being warned of recent black bear sightings.
The province’s Natural Resources Department is advising the public to be cautious after some residents reported seeing black bears near homes and behind a wharf.
People are being told to be alert when participating in outdoor activities, particularly after dark, and ensure proper storage and disposal of garbage.
Those who encounter a black bear should remain calm, back away slowly and avoid eye contact.
(Folks, although your normally care-free reporter doesn’t go in for all this “politically correct” crap, we here at “Perspective” do feel that only drawing attention to the “black” bears is a racist remark, and should be halted. ALL bears are dangerous, not just the black ones, and should be treated with the respect they deserve!)

Read more:
Outstanding questions about the charges against Mike Duffy and his pending trial!
Sen_-Mike-Duffy-surrounded-by-media-as-he-leaves-Parliament-Hill-on-Oct_-22Folks, we are not going to get into any detailed arguments about Duffy at this early stage of the game, but mark my words that when this is all said and done, Mike Duffy will walk away from most, if not ALL, of these charges.
Now don’t get me wrong …………….., I don’t like, or dislike Duffy about as far as I could throw him [ ;>) ] but the whole thing stinks, and the cops are going to have a hard time making any of these charges stick!
If it feels like you are getting poorer despite relatively low inflation, new research indicates that’s because you are.
This week, new figures from Statistics Canada show annual inflation hit 2.4 per cent. That’s up from 2.3 per cent last month, the ninth month in a row of a rising inflation rate. And while the things you buy are more than two per cent dearer (three per cent if you live in Ontario) than they were a year ago, wages have not been keeping pace.
■Inflation in Canada rises to 2.4% in June
■Middle-class Canadians: Just how stretched are you?
middle-class-facing-austerityOver the same period, StatsCan data shows that Canadian wages rose only 1.9 per cent. In Ontario, where prices were up three per cent, wages rose a mere 0.7 per cent. That means if you live in Ontario and spend what you earn, you are effectively 2.3 per cent poorer than you were only one year ago.
‘If we value the prosperity and stability associated with middle-class society … then we should really pay attention to what generates that middle-class affluence’ – Jordan Brennan, York University economist
And according to York University economist Jordan Brennan, that is bad for the Canadian middle class. Brennan represents a new kind of economist who rejects the traditional story that he learned in Economics 101 and once believed wholeheartedly.
“If we value the prosperity and stability associated with middle-class society — the things that we ascribe to Canadian citizenship — if we value those things, then we should really pay attention to what generates that middle-class affluence,” says Brennan. “And letting the free market rip does not seem to the main generator of that affluence.”
■Top 1% taking lion’s share of global growth, OECD says
■Why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer
Brennan says his latest research confirms what others have also discovered, that while inflation remains relatively low, the benefits of rising prices are going to business and the one per cent while everyone else gets poorer.
Today’s Canadian numbers confirm it. And in slightly slightly different words, that’s exactly what U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said earlier this week: that the returns of the U.S. economy are disproportionately going to capital, with less going to labour.
“Over the long term, the earnings margin of corporations are inflationary and so are the wage gains of workers,” says Brennan. But since the 1980s, he says, the two have not risen at the same rate.
“In the last couple of decades,” he says, “What we’ve seen is that worker wage demands have been radically restrained through anti-inflationary monetary policy. But that in effect has meant business now is sort of driving inflation processes and they are overwhelmingly the distributive winners from even the mild inflation we do have.”
An exclusive interview with Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz this week on CBC Radio’s The Current is worth listening to if just for his text book definition of Dutch Disease (at the 12-minute mark). But his main point was that interest rates would likely have to stay low to liberate the “excess capacity” in the Canadian and global economy.
He was far more worried about deflation than inflation. And that is the current conventional view to which most economic commentators, including me, subscribe.
Low interest rates, like low wages, are supposed to liberate the power of capital, stimulating business and thus the whole economy. And, by the traditional view, all boats, including those of the poor and middle class, are lifted by the rising tide.
■Canada lags in business investment, says C.D. Howe report
■Stephen Poloz on inflation, economic recovery and running the Bank of Canada
But shrinking wages and low interest rates have not stimulated investment. In fact new research out this week from the C.D. Howe Institute shows Canadian companies continue to sit on their cash piles.

Why is it always labour’s fault?
4162-Naked-Man-Wearing-A-Wooden-Barrel-Around-His-Waist-ClipartBrennan rejects the conventional analysis, or at least calls it incomplete. In the 1970s, politicians blamed organized labour for pushing up inflation. Brennan, who also works for the Canadian trade union Unifor, says that as the number of people belonging to unions fell, so did wage rates for the “99 per cent,” a trend that continues to this day.
His historical research both here and in the United States (to be published soon) shows a direct correlation between a strong middle class and what he calls “union density.”
Poloz has warned that current inflation may be just a flash in the pan driven by short-term factors. But price inflation is cumulative. And unless an economy stalls altogether, prices always rise. The two per cent you lose now, you will never get back.
Even workers with unions are losing out. The Globe and Mail, organized by Unifor, is getting one per cent, two per cent and two per cent over three years in its latest contract. At current inflation levels, Globe workers who live in Ontario are still a lot poorer than they were last year. But Brennan’s research show non-unionized workers are getting increments far lower.
How can middle class get ahead?
It may be that as employees watch their incomes erode over time they will become more radicalized and more inclined to organize. Workers may feel lucky to be employed after the recession, but unemployment rates are now not far off what they were during the boom of 2007. With three per cent inflation, certainly it is hard to imagine Ontario civil servant unions being willing to accept Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s zero-increase budget.
As Brennan says, inflation consists of both wages and prices. But when both are rising, the only way to overcome increasing inequality, is for wage inflation to outpace price inflation. Anything else just leaves workers poorer.
If that happens, Poloz’s worries about deflation will disappear. But as he pointed out in his interview on The Current, a move to higher inflation and the resulting higher rates of interest, will not be painless.
“So much debt has been taken on during the course of this downturn that every uptick in interest rates that we get is going to hit the cash flow of ordinary people,” Poloz says. But if Brennan is right, engaging in a fight for higher wages is the only way to save the Canadian middle class.

Leave a Reply