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RE: Fossil reptiles mired in controversy

Ken.Carpenter@dmns.org writes:
 > >  > > Name-calling sparks dispute over aetosaurs.
 > >  > > 
 > >  > > http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080130/full/451510a.html
 > >  >
 > >  > Just goes to show that even Nature will publish tabloid
 > >  > stories as long as there is a "science" bent to them.
 > > 
 > > Hang on, Ken, how is this a "tabloid story"?  Do you think it's a
 > > trivial matter if scientists' original work is published out from
 > > under their feet?
 > No need to be an apologist for Nature, Mike. When an article in a
 > science magazine uses lines like, "Lucas is known in the
 > palaeontology community for his desire to publish a high volume of
 > papers", it reduces the article to tabloid journalism. This
 > statement is unsubstantiated gossip or anecdotal, if you prefer.

Hi, Ken.  Maybe I'm missing something here, but I just don't get it.
Even if that particular statement is "anecdotal" (and for what it's
worth it seems pretty solid to me), how would that in any way reduce
the seriousness of the story's substance?  If a story reporting, say,
the devastation caused by Hurricana Katrina also mentioned that
Britney's second-favourite Ferrari was damaged by the storm, would
that make the core of the story any less serious?

Help me out here.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly
         misleading.  Debug only code" -- Dave Storer.