Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Welcome, Seth, to the club

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitAugust 8, 2008 9:58 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

My friend and fellow astronomer and skeptic Seth Shostak recently appeared on the Larry King program to talk about UFOs. Also there was Bill Nye, as well as several UFO proponents. I didn't see it (grrrr, didn't find out until too late) but I have heard from several who did that the UFOers comported themselves rather less than civilly. I'm not surprised. Check the comments in any of my UFO posts and see what the average level of discourse is from people who disagree with me. Check the antivax posts to see how really awful some people can be. Seth is obviously unhappy with this, and wrote an article for space.com about it. What can I say? It can be tough to be civil when attacked viciously and without reason. But you have to deal with it, as galling as it might get. That's part of being a skeptic in the public eye, at least, it is for me. I might tease, or gently mock, and I might get very stern if the comments get out of control. But I never give back what I get from the worst of them. It doesn't help my argument, and being polite can accentuate what jerks the others can be. So welcome to the club, Seth. It's a select membership, maybe even an elite one. But we have a wonderful advantage: we're right. And if we're not, we can do something the worst of those commenters never seem to be able to do: we can change our minds. And we're even nice about it.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In