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Monday, October 17, 2005

Blogging conference: O'Leary on uselessness of mainstream legacy media

Well, I am back from the blogging conference where I gave a talk to a small but interested audience on blogging the intelligent design controversy, and have largely recovered and got caught up. Later this week, apparently, sound files will be available, so for anyone who wants to hear my talk, I will post it to this site.

My main themes were:

- Canadian prophet of the Internet, Marshall McLuhan's prediction of a global village and the difference it will make to media. All the time I was at the conference, I was haunted by the sense that McLuhan would be so happy to know that the blogosphere had really come to pass. It is interesting to reflect that he was widely regarded as a flake in his own day.

- The growing uselessness of legacy mainstream media (MSM). I used the urban legends that major media were flogging around Hurricane Katrina as an example.

On that note, I must say that I was surprised to hear Barbara Nicolosi defend the MSM in her workshop as the place to go for information about Katrina. I clearly remember a relative here in smug, comfortable downtown Toronto watching CNN's frantic, freaked daily report on the supposed descent of New Orleans’s citizens into unthinkable barbarity. It was mostly dangerous nonsense that hindered the work of rescue personnel, but by the time the facts were sorted out from the gory fantasies, my relative was watching something else. She would have been better off reading a reliable blogger close to the scene.

- How I got involved with blogging the intelligent design controversy. Quite simply, I have written a book on the controversy, and wanted to provide regular updates on its growth between editions. It’s been fun and I have broken several very interesting stories, including, of course, the showing of the film Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian.

My best bet for the story that will make the most difference to the intelligent design controversy? That's got to be the Caldwell suit regarding the use of tax money to promote liberal religious views on evolution rather than conservative religious ones. It will be very interesting to see where the "separation of church and state" people line up on that one. Any guesses from the Comments box?

Are you looking for the following stories?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Joseph, Cardinal Schonborn is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that's just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.
Blog policy note: This blog does not intentionally accept fully anonymous Comments (but may tolerate them if they become part of a discussion and are not otherwise objectionable), Comments with language unsuited to an intellectual discussion, URLs posted without comment, or defamatory statements. Defamatory statement: A statement that would be actionable if anyone took the author seriously. For example, someone may say "O'Leary is a crummy journalist"; that’s a matter of opinion and I don't know who would care. But if they say, "O'Leary was convicted of grand theft auto in 1983," well that's just plain false, and probably actionable, if the author were taken seriously. Also, due to time constraints, the moderator rarely responds to comments, and usually only about blog service issues.

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