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The Sciences

Scientists Listen to the Public? Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Mooney!

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJuly 4, 2010 6:54 PM


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Andrew Maynard publishes a wonderful satire on this topic. An excerpt:

But I am a reasonable man Mr. Mooney. And so I thought I would at least give your naive and misguided ideas a go. So after cleaning up the Cheerios and milk spattered across my Washington Post, I grabbed myself a member of the public and tried listening to them.

As I suspected, it was a disaster.

Accosting the first person I came across, I asked them a few simple questions:

Me: What’s the second law of thermodynamics?

Member of the public: Err, um…

Me: Okay, forget that. How do airplanes fly?

Member of the public: Err, excuse me, could you just loosen your grip a little…

Me: Come on come on, I’m trying to listen to you – say something intelligent. Please! Why don’t you accept evolution? Why do you believe vaccines cause autism in children? Why don’t you understand simple statistics? Why are you so stupid?

Member of the public: Get your hands off me now, or see me in court!

You see what I mean Mr. Mooney? There’s no reasoning with these people! Listen to them? I’d rather listen to a lamp post.

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