Poor Grasp of Science Undermines Credibility

RECEIVED Wed., July 30, 2008

Dear Editor,
    I had problems with Josh Rosenblatt's overblown sensationalism in his article "One Quadrillion … and Then Some" [News, July 25]. I had more issues when he started to explain the science.
    The article did try to explain that power is energy per time, but the author did not show that he understood it. He refers to "more energy than courses through the … United States,” where instead a meaningful statement might say, "more power.” He continues the confusion by writing "a petawatt of energy.” A "watt" is power. A "joule" is energy. The statement "biggest explosion of … energy the universe had seen since its birth" is quite likely false, but while you continue to use improper units, it's impossible to refute.
    If you need a science editor, I'm available. When you garble the science so badly, it makes it easier for the pseudo-science to gain credibility.
    Just one page earlier, in that same issue, Andrea Grimes talked about Don McLeroy, State Board of Education chair, in an article titled "Texas Fiction Science" [News]. She made a convincing argument that our highest official of education in Texas was ignoring science.
    One page later, the Chronicle ignored science. This hurts your credibility amongst those of us who know better. If all you want to do is convince those people who "want to believe,” you may continue your propaganda as is. Many of us know better.
    I wish you would improve your science credibility. Then those technical professionals, who make up a good portion of Austin, might take you more seriously.
Paul Schnizlein
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