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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

The Point on asteroid mining and antiscience

By Phil Plait

The Point is a web-based talk show on the Young Turks YouTube channel where various issues are discussed by panelists. They have people send in short videos making some salient point, then panelists discuss it. Cara Santa Maria -- the senior science correspondent at The Huffington Post -- guest-hosted the show this last week, and asked me to send in a video for discussion. I talked about asteroid mining, which started an interesting discussion.

My segment in the video starts at 34:02. For more information about asteroid mining and Planetary Resources, you can read my recent post about them.

I'll note that my friend Chris Mooney was the first video they discussed, talking his new book "The Republican Brain". Chris is always careful when he discusses this topic, knowing it will be misinterpreted willfully or otherwise, which of course it has been. But I do have to point out one thing that bugged me: noted science author K. C. Cole was on the panel, and I agreed with much of what she said. But when talking about Chris's book, she brought out the "Well, there's antiscience on the left as well" meme, and that argument really irks me.

Yes, there does exist antiscience bias on the left as promulgated by antivaxxers and alt-medders -- and I have to debunk that way too often as well -- but it's not nearly as far-reaching as antiscience on the right. It's not a party platform, for one thing, and for another there simply isn't nearly as much or as focused as it is on the right. Read this link for more about this (especially before you leave a comment here -- hint, hint).

Still, it was an interesting discussion on The Point, and I'd like to thank Cara for inviting me. And as to her question at 35:43... yes. Yes, I am.


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