25. Promises, promises: The Ethics of Unbridled Optimism

Science journalists insist on promising their audiences a better world. Reading through a few issues of any science magazine gives one the impression that all the problems in the world are now (or will soon be) solved with the help of science. But do science journalists really give accurate and trustworthy reports from the fields of science and technology, or do they give ungrounded promises? And, are these promises biased by economical, national, political, or religious motives? This session will address this issue from four points of view-- historic, geographic, economic, and cultural. The aim is to show how science journalism's often unbridled optimism, even if well-intended, may actually benefit ideological, religious, or chauvinistic interests more it does than the public—and to suggest ways journalists can avoid falling into these "promise-traps".

Place & time

Venue: Central Hall, Westminster

Venue detail: Donald English Room

Date & Time: Thursday, July 2, 2009 - 11:30 - 13:00


Producer: Kaianders Sempler

Chair: Kaianders Sempler

Speaker: George Claassen, James Cornell, Wolfgang Goede