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TV science

How many here have ever watched a science programme that goes something like this:

Is Gravity real? Hmm. Tricky. That's a really hard question. Programme spends 50 minutes on history, mystery, pondering, and general padding. And then in the last ten minutes: Oh well! What do you know! Gravity is real after all! What an interesting and entirely non obvious answer! Who'd have thought it?

Is this really a good way of presenting science? (1) Anyone who stops halfway through is often given entirely the wrong idea. (2) Every minute spent on what we used to think was true, is a minute less spent educating the public on the best of our current knowledge. (3) Watching scientific experts apparently being unable to find their own backside with both hands and a roadmap can be frustrating to watch, like a Crystal Maze rerun. Which also gives an inaccurate impression of science.

What would be so wrong with starting out by saying, "X is of course true, but simply stating that isn't very scientific, so let's look at the evidence..."





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