The report lamented how badly US students perform when it comes to math and science. Hmmm...I wonder why Americans might be so poorly informed when it comes to science? Could it be that some media outlets constantly present junk science as deserving equal treatment with real science?
That brings us to NPR's Wednesday morning's dirty story about dishwashing detergents that don't have phosphates in them. The phosphates have been removed because more and more states have banned their use because they contribute to water pollution. The gist of the story is that consumers are devastated by the poor performance of non-phosphate detergents in their dishwashers. Here are some of the dire conditions that NPR's Elizabeth Shogren describes:
- "...something was seriously amiss with her dishes."
- "...many people across the country are tearing out their hair over stained flatware, filmy glasses and ruined dishes."
- "...months of aggravation and expense..."
"Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen."Not a bad start, but let's pick it up at the end there and see what comes next:
"...and starve fish of oxygen. But dirty and damaged dishes are turning lots of people into skeptics, including Wright."There it is. Just left there as if it's a perfectly rational statement: I'm angry at what scientific research has proven so I just won't believe it.
Ms. Wright: "I'm angry at the people who decided that phosphate was growing algae. I'm not sure that I believe that."
Probably the most reprehensible part of this whole rehashed, dish detergent story (and it is an old story), is when Shogren - instead of rebutting the ignorance with researched facts (this link was posted in the early comments on the story) or pointing out responsible solutions for frustrated consumers - gives listeners detailed instructions on how they can defeat the ban by adding phosphates to their dishwashing machines...I'm not kidding:
"But not everyone is willing to adjust. Sandra Young figured out a way to undo the phosphate ban, at least in her own kitchen. She bought some trisodium phosphate at a hardware store and started mixing her own formula. "Who needs clean lakes, rivers and streams? The important thing is to defeat the "nanny state" by any means necessary. Go FOX...I mean NPR.