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Embarrassing from Ny Tid and Korslund


COMMENT by Bjørn Vassnes, research journalist in Klassekampen and author of the book The Renewable Man discussed here.

[biology] I thought the bullying magazine Fett represented the low point for the debate culture in Norway, but for Ny Tid the bullying style in Fett is an ideal: Not only do they get the debate editor from there, but also "funny" puns like "Visvas from Vassnes". Even on a post from one of the newspaper's own writers.

But Ny Tid may have felt that book reviewer Kjetil Korslund's arguments did not hold up, and for once they are right.

Korslund's post is an embarrassing attempt to turn away from my arguments, without answering them. In addition, he has a new "point", which only shows that Norway must be the only country in the world where idea historians need not know anything about science.

First, he can not turn away from coming up with a lot of clichés and prejudices about biomedicine. Intermediate titles such as "The Boys from Brazil", "The gene for yours and the gene for that", "St.Darwin still popular", says his. The same goes for Korslund's fear of "reproductive cloning", which he blames me for not writing more about. There is little reason for this, because no serious scientists or medics think about this. It is therefore completely wrong to place restrictions on stem cell technology because some deer may use this technology for reproductive cloning sometime in the future. This will probably not happen, for both practical and ethical reasons, but if that were to happen, Korslund would not have said what is so hair-raising about this. Then he should also tell what is so hair-raising about identical twins (who are also clones). In other words, this is a complete derailment of the debate, but that is precisely what Korslund and the science skeptics in Ny Tid want.

Second, he also tries to turn away from his tribute to Plato. His point was precisely that Plato "stands out" well, while science is constantly changing. Now he admits that everything was not so good with Plato either, but then the point is lost?

Korslund tries to use the example Woo-Suk Hwang to show how "uncritical" and "optimistic" my research journalism is. Well, if one is to expect that everyone who gets articles in print in Science (one of the world's two most reputable science journals) are cheaters, and one has to wait to disseminate the research results until they are revealed, we would never have known anything from the research world. It might have been just as well for Korslund, but it shows that he has no clue about research or research journalism. Therefore, his attempts at "admonitions" to the undersigned, including "doing better research" (should I have revealed Woo-Suk Hwang?) Are just ridiculous (but tragic if Ny Tid tries to be a serious magazine).

The same goes for his claim that it is "pure spray" that my book has complete source references. His one example is "e-biomed", which is an online journal, and then the actual date is an appropriate reference. His other example is that I mention the British research team (from Newcastle) which had also carried out a successful therapeutic cloning of human cells, and which he "has not heard of". Well, it was in almost every newspaper and TV news, so I figured it was unnecessary. But then I had not expected New Time.

With this, my involvement with Ny Tid is over – no matter how "funny" bullying headlines the magazine may come up with.

Bjørn Vassnes, research journalist in Klassekampen and author of the book The Renewable Man

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