Science cliche’s to chuck down the black hole

by Stephanie Chasteen on December 10, 2009

The National Association of Science Writers has a nice news feed now (check it out at, though the RSS feed isn’t obvious — ask me if you want it).  So, here I’m reposted a repost of a Wired article on Five Atrocious Science Cliche’s. Think that it’s time that we found a silver bullet for all the Holy Grails that scientists seem to always be seeking?  This article will shed some light on all the missing links that will eventually lead to a paradigm shift in modern science.  😎

Look, we found the missing link!

Look, we found the missing link!

Other posts include information on the Freedom of Information act, science news roundups, and articles on the future of science journalism.

I find the argument against science cliche’s very interesting, as a writer myself.  The problem with a bunch of these cliche’s is that they’re often misleading.  “Missing link” for example, is an overused phrase that suggests that our models are so clean and tidy that if we find one missing piece, then it fills in the rest of the story.  “Holy Grail” similarly misleads people about the nature of science…. with very few exceptions (e.g., the Higgs boson) there are very few things that scientists are searching for as a perfect shining goal.

But of equal importance is that these cliche’s are just lazy writing.  They’re shortcuts to a common cultural parlance, that let a writer get away from really describing what happened, of telling the story.  They’re not universally demonic, but generally, they’re not helping to illuminate (shed some light?) on the science that is the subject of the study.

Image from Wikimedia via flickr – Tony Lozano


John December 11, 2009 at 12:08 am

please publish the RSS feed!

sciencegeekgirl December 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm

The RSS feed for the blog is available on the front page as a link. It is

sriram December 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Aaah. Et tu?

Cliches. Not cliche’s

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