Aug 15 2014
Brad Crouch should be fired. At the very least he should never write a science news article again (well, maybe after remedial education and appropriate penance). At first I thought perhaps he was a general or fluff journalist taken off the dog show beat and asked to cover a science news item, but his byline for The Advertiser (an Australian news outlet) says he is a “medical reporter.” That’s frightening.
I read a lot of bad science news reporting, but rarely does a reporter so thoroughly misrepresent the actual science news – unless there is an obvious ideological agenda, but as far as I can tell this is just pure incompetence.
He is reporting on a review article on epigenetics recently published in Science. The two articles have very little in common, and it’s difficult to see how Crouch arrived at his story other than just making shit up. He begins:
LANDMARK Adelaide research showing that sperm and eggs appear to carry genetic memories of events well before conception, may force a rethink of the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, scientists say.
First, the paper is not research, let alone “landmark” research. It is a review article. It’s not even a systematic review or a meta-analysis, which a reporter might be forgiven for calling a “study” – it’s just a discussion of the topic of epigenetics.