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fox clobbers collider, obliterates objectivity

September 8, 2008

I’m logging onto the computer at work and I see this news article across the front of Fox News (Disclaimer: I’m using my boss’s computer. I would never bookmark Fox News on my browser. Ever.): “‘Big Bang Machine’ Set to Start Up Wednesday”. I’ve been looking over my boss’s shoulder at he reads from the site for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been suspicious of some of the claims made by Fox detractors just by how the headlines read. However, when I saw this story, I just had to click and read.

It will still be about a month before beams traveling in opposite directions are brought together in collisions that some skeptics fear could create micro “black holes” and endanger the planet.

First, let me state that this is not true simply because of the scale on which they happen. Subatomic. Smaller than even the smallest stable particles. So small, they can’t be seen, but only observed through responses in equipment designed to react to subatomic particles.

Dr. Plait, the Bad Astronomer says it best second best:

Folks: the LHC is a doorway to the Universe. It will open and we will see wonders we’ve only guessed at so far. It will provide us with physical data into our theories of reality, solidify the blueprints we’ve made into actual edifices.

But it will not, it can not, destroy the Earth.

And Professor Brian Cox, who is working on the project, says it first best: “Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a t—.”

Now, I’m no particle physicist, but I am a lover of science and critical thinking and I do think that is what is lacking here: critical thought. Consider the explanation presented by Professor Cox regarding the extent of the safety of the project and how it relates to other sciences that receive little complaint regarding their principles:

The analogy I would give is the design of aircraft wings – I am happy to trust an expert in aerodynamics to get it right rather than offer my own opinion about what shape they should be. It’s really the case that the particle physics community are sensible, rational human beings who go about their research because they believe that exploring the subatomic world is good for our civilization, not to mention interesting. It is also true that if anyone, including myself, had any doubt about the safety of what we are doing, we would stop immediately.

But in regards to Fox News, its about the wording they use. So I retract my fading cynicism toward them. To be the sort of network they claim to be, unbiased and unfettered, they should used less loaded wording.

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One comment

  1. I heard about this before from a joke list of how the world will end that Bry found. Everything kept pointing back to that lovely machine 😛



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