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Old 12-22-2008, 09:44 PM
ERV ERV is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 11
Default Re: Second Thoughts

Originally Posted by George Johnson View Post
That's a great line, and it captures how I felt listening to those remarks about science journalism. It's true, however, that I overreacted, and I'm sorry I called Abigail Smith's laboratory a rathole. I should know better than to venture out in public when my brain is still smeared across seven time zones.
No prob. Like I said, I attacked your profession, and you took it personally. I dont blame you at all. However, unless you are a shitty journalist writing throw-away articles about how 'WE CURED TEH AIDZ!' or 'CANCER BE GON NAU!', my comments were not directed at you.

Originally Posted by George Johnson View Post
Down-in-the-trench laboratory blogs are a valuable source of raw material for journalists. But for an outsider trying to understand science, they can be like music from the perspective of a phonograph needle. A scientist complaining about a writer's attempt to explain a slippery concept like epigenetics has to offer a better alternative than this:

"Histone and DNA modifications that alter chromatin structure--> gene expression. Some people also include siRNA."

If you're interested in communicating with the outside world, you need to pop up a couple of levels of abstraction and use language instead of terminology.
That post was contrasting a lab-standard definition of 'epigenetics' with the meaningless definition put forth by Dr. Jablonka in the latest edition of SEED. That is crystal clear in my post. You are quote-mining to misrepresent me and my blog. The fact the topic of that post is 'epigenetics' is funny, because that was one of the topics in my first appearance on BloggingHeads. PZ and I later elaborated on the basics we brought up on video (huh, I also denigrated shitty journalism there too).

Originally Posted by George Johnson View Post
Mostly my crankiness was a cumulative reaction to the low level to which public discourse has been dragged by so much blogging. Of course I was contributing to the problem with my fulminations.
Blogs arent a problem. They are an evolved solution to a problem.
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