Been given a new assignment for college college, and thought of asking for advice on here.

It's just a short paper however, the task I've got to address is the public perception of science as understood via the media.

I've got to discuss whether concerns raised in the media are justified or scaremongering?

We are prompted to consider the MMR vaccine and Autism, swine and bird flu, SARS, disease and the (UK) DNA database.

But are there any examples knocking about the heads of the Atheists who love science where the public perception of science was either really laudable or damnable that you think I could focus on.

I was also thinking about the rather broad interpretation that media permits so not just Newspapers and tv but obvious places to start.

Also I mean it's obvious to go down - have you seen what Fox news says about Global warming? I was looking for a novel example where I can in particular write about not just how the media got the science right/wrong but how the public reaction was influenced for good or ill by the media.

Any ideas?

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I can let you read it. I'll upload the file.

Still needs some minor editing.
It's due in next week. Any thoughts before I make my final revisions?
Ooh, let me read it...
Read it. Thoughts here:
I'm assuming the parameters of the assignment allow you to have such a strong opinion about your subject matter.

The question I had to address was does the media have a positive impact of the public perception of science, in the two cases I selected to look at (and the broader themes therein) I had to conclude it did not.

I think what the expectation is, would be: "Well on the one hand...and then again on the other" but I figured enough of that! Once I'd decided to really stand my ground on the negative impact, I didn't much see the point in having the counter balance (Though I do try and be fair to all those involved like Wakefield, Barnett, what Climategate might really show us, and so on )- but to come back to always this calm appreciation is not what the media reports.

Too often, that strong opinion gets in the way of the evidence being presented. Not here. Your evidence is clear, straightforward, and very easy to follow. You're rationally speaking rather than emotionally shouting that opinion as it were and it lends itself to that much more credibility.

Thank you. :-)

In the section on MMR it seemed to take a while to get to the meat of your point. I don't know if this is just me being impatient or if it could do with some trimming.

Mmm I was trying to explain my change of pace in the essay from the media's compliance to the media manipulation so wanted to expend a bit of energy going over why people are susceptible to the media, before then going on to look at how the MMR hoax so corrupted the public understanding of science.

That at least is what I was trying to do. I'll look at it again for waffle (But I'm keeping the section with the pigs!)

About Grammar and punctuation:

I have a learning disorder which regrettably makes me an awful proof-reader. What I write makes sense to me but is not necessarily grammatical.

What I mean is, my writing greatly reflects how I think. And how I think is affected by the cognitive side of the learning disorder. In effect this means I display some slight dyslexic tendencies (even though that's not my diagnosis, these things overlap) which are a weakness in processing written language. The neurological deficit in my case is not an inability to parse the visual information of characters (something that bedevils dyslexia suffers ) but in my case it is in the sequencing of the correct order of words and punctuation. This is something that few people 'get' about learning disorders - my diagnosis is dyspraxia (faulty praxis, faulty 'doing') and it connotes a general clumsiness and awkwardness of physical organisation and movement. (a sequencing of bodily action, if you will - which is how come it gets picked up in childhood you have to learn to walk before you have to learn to write) And I am uncoordinated and awkward in how I move sometimes, my balance also is often off-kilter I can feel uncomfortable in my own skin (hard to describe). If however, it were only a physical disability it would not de facto be a 'learning disorder.'

A birthday gift from an ex was a book on grammar rules and punctuation (not meant unkindly) on the basis that she was sick of my punctuating sentences with commas like they'd been fired from a shotgun.

Which kind of describes the problem. I tend to punctuate my written word, how I speak and organise my thoughts and I try and remember to insert commas were there are natural breaks of flow and and clauses (my tangents in parenthesise) but occasionally I don't and my punctuation is therefore odd. Now the point is, when I come to read this back to myself I seldom spot such errors.

And commas and parentheses are just one example, handwriting is another (I now no longer 'join up' but print after the neurologist at the John Radcliffe Head Injury Unit where I first got diagnosed told me if it gives you so much trouble don't do it.)

To anyone not with this kind of learning disorder these things stand out (Hooray! You are normal) but it's that area of proof-reading that I am poor at, despite learning and attempting to memorise the grammar rules for commas, semi-colons etc.

They silly thing is that this does not affect my verbal ability; I have a rather good vocabulary, and I'm quite bright, so these things don't tend to come across when people talk to me. But it is the very inconsistency or the incongruency between my written output and the sort of work I should be capable of given these other things, which is the hall mark of a learning disorder.

When I received back my dissertation from my Master's degree, the comment on the front forever burned into my memory and it shall live in infamy for it was what spurred me ontogetting myself re-diagnosed was this.

"A sophisticated and persuasive argument, Richard, but grammar is not your strong point, is it?"

I guess you might say, some things never change. ;-)
"A sophisticated and persuasive argument, Richard, but grammar is not your strong point, is it?"

Hang on! I didn't say that!

Actually, I was quite impressed. Far better grammar than most who don't have any learning disorders. I'm slightly on the dyslexic side and while I'd like to think I'm good with grammar, I truly suck at proofreading my own stuff. Most people are. You wrote it, so you know what it's supposed to say, so you tend to read in blocks and skip over words and punctuation unknowingly.

Once upon a time before we all had these new-fangled things called 'computers,' a neat trick to proofread for spelling is to read the essay backwards. It's a bit of a pain but it works because it forces you to look at the individual words, not phrases.

Unfortunately, that trick has limited uses for grammar. And while spell-check is useful for many errors, I've yet to find a grammar-check program that is even remotely accurate.

That's why today, the best way to proofread is to hand it to someone else. ;-)

I had an assignment years ago to do a research paper where we do form our own opinion on some hot topic and back up that opinion. That is very rare however for a professor to allow that much opinion/emotion into a research paper. On the other side of it, some professors - while they won't admit it - will judge a paper based on the strong opinion with which they disagree rather than on its merit. Not all, but a few. That's the only reason I mentioned it.

Mine incidentally was: "Institutionalized Christianity; The Formation of a Repressive Political Tool." The professor was a former Presbyterian minister. I got 100% and honors credit. Score!!!

Like I said, I was impressed. And a bit jealous. Need to brush up on my essay skills before I jump back into school, which I'm vowing to do this Summer even if it is just a couple of online Uni classes at a time! I've had enough professors tell me the online classes are just as challenging and look just as good on a transcript as the in-class ones. ;-)
Hang on! I didn't say that!

Sorry. I did not mean to imply that you did.

I meant that is commentary on my past work (that shall 'live in infamy', to borrow a phrase); that I have received.

I mentioned it more by way

the best way to proofread is to hand it to someone else.

I'm so glad you approve of my strategy. :-) When the opportunity arose to post it here, I leapt at it.

I've not had the chance to go back and make all the changes yet I wish to, but hopefully over this weekend.

Thanks again for all your help Jo!

You're a star!
LOL! Well, for what it's worth, the best (as in most helpful) review I've ever received was also the worst.

It was my aforementioned essay for my professor/former Presbyterian minister. Ever the procrastinator, I brought it to the writing center the day before it was due mostly to have it proofread. Short version: The woman told me it was so bad I'd be better off not turning it in at all and taking a zero for the project.

But it was what she didn't like about it that made it a good review. I was pushing all the right buttons, asking all the right questions. It was clear what she didn't like was the anti-Christian theme. I thanked her and turned in the paper as is, didn't change a word.

Got 100%. ;-)

So I take that to heart: Sometimes the shitty reviews are the really, really good ones!
And now that I've gone through and made all those changes (plus a few more besides) I think it is now finished.

So just for completeness' sake, attached is the final version of the essay.
And no soon had I posted the above, than the GMC rules over the weekend that Dr Andrew Wakefield has been found guilty of medical malpractice.
Will read it tomorrow!

(Busy week, falling behind, treating myself to an all-day-internet-day tomorrow).
I'm handing it in tomorrow.

Moving onto the next assignment....




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