Articles

Reading into things too much

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2009 by Hanna

I’m watching a brilliant programme on the modern phenomenon of reading, popular since the lapsing of the licensing legislation for printing presses (thanks William). This was the start of mass publication of newspapers and although apparently the editor of the first daily paper, the Daily Courant, said he would resist pushing his own views on his readers, assuming they could make the 17th Century equivalent of a critical appraisal of the pieces on offer. What a shame the case isn’t so now.

Ben Goldacre is having trouble with the law (it makes its results known like the visible and clunky version of the economic invisible hand) as journalists weigh in with their views of the matters of the day, this time annoyingly still MMR. The BMJ reports from a meeting held by, ironically, the Lancet, where journalists were arguing with our Ben that they weren’t all sloppy heathens with no grasp of science. The MMR-autism fallacy was picked up by a journalist and so all in all critics of whatever shade are always welcome. I’m more worried that most ordinary people don’t have enough basic science knowledge to make assessments of what they read. Measles rates rise and parents argue as if being an ignoramus is going out of fashion. I really am thinking of joining something sciency to compliment my art portfolio. The Science Museum has late nights although is like a cuddly aunt with a flashy window display, go upstairs to the veterinary science exhibits to be transported (perhaps this is the purpose?) to a time when proper glue to fix the objects to the wall hasn’t been invented yet. It is a shame as I think there is something more wholesome about the wow of really getting something scientific versus the ahh of a straining reading of the tiny plaques next to a glorious oil painting. But that’s probably just me and my stubborn belief in a knowable real material world.

During my training erm training today I was getting a little on-the-way-to fuming at the claim that we have different learning styles during a ‘test’ much like a horoscope. I should apparently adapt my teaching methods to accommodate those who cannot deal with structure, cannot stomach linear structures, cannot cope with something in a logical sequence. I’m quite the opposite although I proffered what if I’m warned first that the speaker is going to come out with waffle, then I can adapt. I fear that wanting to have a nice debate about things is okay with say philosophy but when it comes to medicine we need facts and transmission of, this is important in areas such as AIDS or cholera where misinformation causes increased morbidity and mortality.

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