Baroness Susan Greenfield, who is the Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford, has come out with a new radical theory that computer games are causing dementia in kiddies.
The Baroness, who was taken very seriously on technology matters during the last Labour Government, was speaking at the opening of a new wing at an expensive boarding school, not an academic conference.
Greenfield’s comments have been greeted with a resounding “eh? What?” from the scientific community along with some calls to see her research on the matter.
A spokesperson for Greenfield said that was not really what she meant and pointed out that she was being reported by the Sun. It’s claimed the paper also stated a scientific paper said videogames are to blame for rising obesity rates – when it hadn’t.
But Greenfield’s spokesperson had not been able to say what she had meant and she has said some pretty strange things in the past.
These include linking internet use with the rise in autism diagnoses and then pulled back when autism charities and an Oxford professor of psychology pointed out that it was a bit silly.
Greenfield’s latest comments have made it to Bad Science, where the boffin points out that in five years of appearing in the media raising these grave worries, Professor Greenfield of Oxford University has never published her claims in an academic paper.
Apparently before you make claims like “using an iPad gives you cancer” you are supposed to prove it. Who would have thought it?
Given that Greenfield sits in the House of Lords, you would have thought she would have known about the idea of proving what you say before opening your mouth. Or maybe not.
Greenfield was removed from the Royal Society and sued the body for sexual discrimination after her post was made redundant by “belligerent old men” who resented her attempts to “bring the RI out of the cobwebs”.
She is Britain’s foremost neuroscientist, but she has no distinguished experiments to her name and has made it clear that she wants to popularise science.
While we have not written any studies into the matter ourselves, we would have thought that Greenfield’s approach to technology is remarkably like the approach used by the prosecutors in the Salem witch trials, where “easy targets” were pointed out by kids touting spectral evidence.