Simon Jenkins blotted his homework

Simon Jenkins wrote the stupidest article I’ve seen in some time for Comment is Free. I’m sure he’s not stupid, but the article is.

A “mammoth of research” is about to rise behind London’s St Pancras station, a biomedical centre costing £600m and housing about 1,250 “cutting-edge” scientists. Ask not its value. Science jeers at the idea. The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation has already been dubbed a “cathedral of science”, justified by faith, not reason.

That’s just the first paragraph. Look how stupid it is. What are those quotation marks for? Who is being quoted? Who “dubbed” the biomedical centre a “cathedral of science”? Anyone? Apart from Simon Jenkins? What on earth does he mean “justified by faith, not reason”? He doesn’t say, he just goes on with very tired familiar “ooh I hate science” boilerplate.

This business of inventing quotations and implying that somebody is saying things when in fact it’s you who’s saying it reminds me of the Times story last year that said “there are fears” about Does God Hate Women? when there weren’t, it was just that the reporter thought there could be and so she might as well say there already were, without actually adducing any.

The last paragraph is striking too.

I share Rees’s glory in the wonder of science. I wish the wonder could be taught in schools, which still prefer to be kindergartens for lab technicians. But science research is one lobby among many. The BBC should not lavish it with favours against less-fashionable claimants for its platforms. One thing is for sure, Rees’s subsidies must come from taxes on the professions he most despises – banking and finance. I bet no one devotes a research grant or a Reith lecture to them.

Now why would anyone have a somewhat skeptical attitude toward banking and finance these days? I can’t imagine, can you? No indeed, it’s science that deserves all the opprobrium for being so fashionable, and pointless, and theiving, and faith-based, and money-grubbing, and cathedraly.

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