When I agreed that many so-called ‘controversies’ don’t warrant a debate, I wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t cover them…just that they should be addressed appropriately, as fringe issues. The last thing we would want is media silence on, for instance, creationism! Ars Technica has a good piece on why we mustn’t be quiet about weird political positions.
Through the years I have received countless e-mails and have read hundreds of article comments imploring Ars to keep "political" stuff off the site. Such entreaties most commonly occur in relation to our scientific coverage of climate change or evolution, but also when we cover biological and anthropological matters of gender and sex. (They also come to a lesser extent when we cover the inherently political world of intellectual property, where, coincidentally, there are far fewer facts—but that’s outside the scope of this editorial.)
What those petitioners do not realize is that in asking us to be silent, they require that we take a politicized stance. Intentional silence is support for the status quo, and as such, it’s inherently political. Note that I’m speaking of intentional silence or avoidance, purposely not covering a topic so as not to bring light to it. Inasmuch as our editorial mission is, in part, to cover the issues relating to science and technology that are most challenging to our culture, it is unthinkable for us not to cover these issues. To reiterate, not covering them would be just as "political" as covering them.
This is also why I ignore or mock people who complain that “The movement has been co-opted by people with an agenda” — everyone has an agenda. Demanding silence on topics you don’t like is a symptom of having an agenda.