Science Vs – Some Thoughts

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I’ve never been particularly reticent to discuss podcasts here, but usually there is some relationship to fly fishing. And technically, that’s still the case today, but I suppose that connection is slightly more tenuous, so… you’ve been warned.

Recently, I’ve been getting deeper and deeper entwined in the podcasts offered by Gimlet media, and “Science Vs” is no exception. Here’s the premise:

  1. Choose an issue (usually hotly debated).
  2. Find the most integral scientific claims relevant to that issue.
  3. Fact check those claims using ‘science,’ (studies, papers, etc.).

It seems vaguely reminiscent to “The Gist’s” recurring segment, ‘Is That Bull$#!t?’ with a dash of formality. This does pose some issues. For example, the format can often end up looking like a ‘look-what-I-proved wrong’ type of show, and even the choice of issues allows for bias introduction. Additionally, it’d be great to hear a lot more about who funded each study cited, as that unfortunately tends to influence the findings.

That being said, it’s not really fair to hold a podcast to the same academic rigor that a thesis might warrant. While some listeners, like myself, might love a delineation of funding sources for some collegiate study, the majority of listeners probably don’t. I get that. The listener is given enough information to take a deeper dive if they wish, so that’s about all I can ask for. Real issues are being explored in a serious, and seriously entertaining way. If you’re not listening already, you’re missing out.

Anyway… I promised a fishing/conservation tie-in, so here it is. Recently, there was a great episode on fracking (Science vs. Fracking) that cleared a ton of fog on the subject. As someone that has probably been unrighteously indignant about the practice in the past, I’m glad I’ve got arrows in the quiver now. Check it out here.

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