The Intersection

The Assault On Science

i-c170eb577dbd537116a25d7263d23cd7-image[4].pngLast week I participated in a panel discussion on ‘The Agenda with Steve Paikin.‘ The evening’s show was called The Assault On Science so obviously it wasn’t complete sans Chris.

Topics included climate change, the theory of evolution, science in the media, and religion (complete with a clip from ‘Expelled‘). My co-panelists were nice enough fellows, though I disagreed with climate change denier Lawrence Solomon, and philosphy professor James Robert Brown who believes science and religion are always incompatible. The other guests were science reporter Arthur Allen, author of Vaccine: the Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver and Jason Wiles of the Evolution Education Research Centre.

Our discussion was fun and a good opportunity for me to experience what it’s like to be beamed in via satellite. Turns out you can’t actually see anyone you’re speaking with and voices come in through a little ear mic… altogether an extremely different experience than radio. (I felt like Guy Montag with Faber’s green bullet-shaped ear-piece). It was a little strange at the start, but by the end I was more comfortable which is reflected in the video. Overall, it was a great premise, but the show tried to touch on too many topics from different perspectives in the time we had. Take a look


  1. #1 Joe
    May 21, 2008

    You appear poised and articulate. Impressive.

    I wanted to clobber that Solomon guy. I don’t see why the media has to give these people time anymore, except to trump ratings. Good response though. You are right not to debate. I like the smoking cancer analogy. Nicely done.

  2. #2 William
    May 21, 2008

    The climate change denialist made a fine case discrediting himself, so your approach to wait and let him do so was best. He made a lot of false claims like about Griffin at NASA, so you could have called him on it. It was also irritating the way he promoted his company at every opportunity. I did like Arthur Allen and I will take a look at his book.

    I have to admit (and I hope you don’t take offense because I mean to be complimentary), I got a chuckle out of watching a bright young woman on a panel of mid-career men. It was refreshing. As usual, you give me a sense of hope for our future.

  3. #3 Julie
    May 21, 2008


    I’m not a scientist and this is all over my head. All I know is you and the Wiles guy are the two I’d want to have a conversation over drinks with 🙂

  4. #4 dan
    May 21, 2008

    sound and look beautiful. (if only i lived in north carolina.) you and mr. mooney should go on together next time. he’s good on tv and you’d make a killer combo.

  5. #5 Linda
    May 21, 2008

    The video is great. You came across poised, informed, and well spoken. Good Job.

  6. #6 Philip H
    May 21, 2008

    Two thoughts – you did well, but I disagree with the let him hang himself approach. I think there were things you could have responded to, like the all too well warn lines about 300 top scientists disagreeing that humans cause global warming. you didn’t need to get into a great debate with him on the point, but saying No, that’s not factual, here’s what is would have been a good idea.

    And lest you and your readers think climate change denying is just a media occupation, I’d encourage you to look at the webcast of this House hearing on the Endangered Species Act. The machinations, and out right untruths about the scientific process are stunning.

  7. #7 Mary
    May 22, 2008

    That was terrific, Sheril! I think letting that kook flail with those bizarre accusations “the top scientist in France disagrees!” and the entreaty to “google it” was fine. It wasn’t going to go anywhere anyway.

    You can’t take his unfocused statements like that and make anything constructive out of it. Maybe some funny statements that shut that stuff down might be worth having in your back pocket. But the cigarettes/cancer thing was quite good.

    Great practice for the book tour 🙂

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