Among the geeks at ScienceBlogs, there’s a lot of debate about the appropriateness of the splashy media campaign to promote the “Ida” fossil; the NYT Opinionator blog has a round-up of the comments (and a nod to LGF for our Rush Limbaugh post): Let’s Not Go Ape Over Ida.
I understand the consternation scientists feel when they see these kinds of public relations techniques being used; it may be the first time a media event like this has been staged to promote a scientific discovery. But as long as the science is good — and in this case, the team of researchers worked on the fossil for two years before going public, and did publish a paper in the journal PLoS One — I can’t get upset over the PR push.
After all, every time we post about evolution at LGF, professionally-done, context-driven Google advertisements promoting creationism appear in our sidebars — and not once have we seen similar ads promoting evolution.
The anti-evolution, anti-science crowd is spending lots of money and enlisting the services of media and graphic designers to promote their side. It’s past time for real scientists to get in the game — with the caveat that they don’t forget to do the real research to back up the media effort.