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Re: Asking BBC Radio 4 for a retraction

Just looked at Fords homepage. Also other stations broadcasted his view:



-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Wed, 4 Apr 2012 13:41:35 +0100
> Von: Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com>
> An: dinosaur mailing list <dinosaur@usc.edu>, vrtpaleo@usc.edu
> Betreff: Asking BBC Radio 4 for a retraction

> Folks,
> Most of you will have heard by now of the terrible piece that BBC
> Radio 4, a trusted news source, ran yesterday on Brian J. Ford's
> crackpot "theory" that all dinosaur were semi-aquatic to support their
> weight.  A good, sober summary is provided here:
> http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/dinosaur/2012/04/aquatic-dinosaurs-not-so-fast/
> Because Radio 4 is a trusted source, it's important that it not spout
> nonsense like this.  There is a danger that its credibility will be
> damaged.  If a journal were to publish such rubbish, it would be
> forced to follow up with a formal retraction, and I want to ask Radio
> 4 to do the same thing.  Here is the letter I plan to send:
> ------------ begin letter ------------
> Dear Radio 4,
> The Today Programme for Tuesday 3rd April 2012 contained a science
> piece by Tom Feilden:
>         http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9710000/9710630.stm
> regarding Professor Brian J. Ford's "theory" that dinosaurs did not
> live on land but in shallow lakes which supported their weight.
> Professor Ford's theory was published in a magazine rather than a
> peer-reviewed journal, and is wholly unsupported by any evidence
> whatever.  It contradicts all evidence from dinosaur anatomy,
> biomechanics, sedimentology and palaeoenvironments, and does not even
> qualify as fringe science.  It is unsupported and uninformed
> speculation which Ford could have disproved had he taken just ten
> minutes to look at the readily available literature representing a
> century of consensus.
> By giving air-time to this speculation, even comparing Ford with
> Galileo, Radio 4 has unfortunately lent it a credibility that it has
> not earned, introduced a time-wasting controversy where there is not a
> controversy, misled the public, and maybe most important compromised
> its own credibility as a trusted source of science reporting.  No
> listener with any knowledge of palaeontology will have been able to
> take this report seriously; will they believe the next science report
> you broadcast?
> To mitigate this damage, we recommend and request that you broadcast a
> formal retraction.
> ------------ end letter ------------
> Obviously such a request will have more force if it is signed by
> multiple palaeontologists, so if you agree with the letter below and
> would like to sign, please email me OFF-LIST at <mike@indexdata.com>,
> giving your name, qualification, department and affiliation, like
> this:
>         Dr. Mike Taylor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of
> Bristol, UK.
> In 24 hours, I will append all the signatures I have been sent, and
> send the result to Radio 4.
> (Please do not suggest changes to the letter.  I'm sure it's not
> perfect, but it has to stand as it is since this is the version I am
> inviting people to sign.  I can't collect signatures for one version,
> then send a different one, even if it's better than the original.
> Exception: do point out any typos.)
> Thanks,
>         -- Mike.

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