Science and Media: A Love Story

Over the course of my graduate degree, I slowly became more and more aware of the bad information in the media about science, ultimately leading to my interest in the skeptical movement. When I decided to a talk at Skepticamp Winnipeg 2011, I realized that I needed to address the way science exists in the public eye and how its relationship to media has changed over the years. There’s a little bit of history, a little bit of humour, and an honest assessment of where science needs to go if it’s going to continue to have a relationship with the public audience. If you want to see what’s written on the slides, I recommend going full screen in HD.

One Response to “Science and Media: A Love Story”

  1. Alex says:

    Regarding the Tuskegee experiment, there’s no evidence that anyone was deliberately infected. There was nothing unethical about that experiment initially – at the time of it’s inception, there was no effective treatment for syphilis. Even once a cure had been discovered, you could argue the doctors didn’t have an obligation to treat the patients … though the ethics there are a LOT more murky. Where they really stepped over the line, though, is in preventing their patients from getting effective treatment at other clinics. That was inexcusable.

    There was another Syphilis experiment performed by American doctors, I believe in some mental home or another. In that particular incident, the patients WERE deliberately infected, which may be what you were misremembering. Unfortunately, the list of unethical experiments is a long and pretty gruesome one. The Tuskegee experiment got a lot of attention because of the obvious racial connotations, and the fact that it was “leaked” during a time of social upheaval – not because it was particularly bad. Kligman’s experiments with dioxin (injecting prison populations) was arguably far worse, as were many tests conducted by and/or on military personnel in the 40′s/50′s.


  • Richelle McCullough

    Richelle is a second-year medical student living in Calgary, but hails originally from Winnipeg. An outspoken advocate for lifestyle interventions within the scope of science-based medicine, Richelle’s favourite topic is to debunk complementary and alternative medicine. She is frequently trolled by geocentrists at her personal blog, Subspecies, and despite the distance, remains active with the Winnipeg Skeptics.