Forget the storm -- here's something to worry about: how to explain & fix the science communication problem
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- Further thoughts:
In this elections season, I think that it can be seen that this conclusion works well without the specificity to science:
"The well-being of a democratic society requires protecting the science communication environment from toxic meanings."
What is the best sort of response after toxic meanings have been deliberately applied? What happens for example, if some hostile entity looks at your multi-volume health plan and figures out that the cultural cognitively connecting hit phrase is "death panels"?
It does help to be proactive. For example in Nanotechnology people such as and have put considerable thought into nanotechnology risk communication issues.
Another item current to this election season is Proposition 37, the GMO labeling bill. IMHO, GMO here does not mean "genetically modified organisms", it means something more like "everything some hate about Monsanto and related entities". I personally contend that the appropriate position is to argue that labeling of "may contain GMO's" is an insignificant level of disclosure and we ought to have even greater transparency: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100946817944952712900/posts/Dn932k8h3EV I believe that it is a huge mistake in a democracy to come out on the side opposing public access to information. But the position of the AAAS is that this is not a legitimate focus for regulation since no health issue is specifically at risk: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/media/AAAS_GM_statement.pdf. Many plant geneticists see a conspiracy at work by the forces of anti-science. And the campaign itself is being funded by not only the principles (like Monsanto) but also companies which I would deem as being not well known for a strong interest in public health and nutrition (such as Pepsico). And on the other hand, the proponents of this measure include not only organic growers but also such entities as Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps (and All-One-God-Faith) Inc.
How long is the line for new WSMD? JA! episodes? This one would be a sequel, is the campaign changing the middle?Oct 29, 2012
- do you know about the marsh gas (methane, otherwise known as Will o' the Wisp) experiments of Thomas Paine and George Washington:
http://www.rockyhill-nj.gov/filestorage/5723/reenact.pdf This now plays into global warming as well as fracking arguments.Oct 29, 2012
- I had not, although I know now! I first heard (or saw) the phrase back in 1975 though when Leon Russell put out his Will O' the Wisp LP, great LP by the way! As is his latest duets with Elton John....anyhoo.... discovered what it was back then, but it is refreshing to hear more of the experiments of our founding fathers...to bad they didn't have some LSD to help things along :-)
By the way I could not open the link, yours or one I found on google...maybe my location(Greenland) is holding me back.
ThanksOct 29, 2012
- WSMD? JA! is semi-open! There's power at Yale U., even if not in Guilford, CTOct 30, 2012
- http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/10/29/in-praise-of-the-big-old-mess/ on the messiness of science and our tendency to want to have it packaged in simplified packages, essentially those that appeal to our cultural cognitivly driven sensibilities. (I first saw this via )has shared this post and indicated his strong support. He is already on my list of highly recommended science journalists. Another such person is . Carl has a post up here
So how are we going to go about setting up and maintaining this "wall of separation between cultural meaning and scientific fact" that is so "integral to the constitution of the Liberal Republic of Science"?Oct 30, 2012
- I enjoyed this post and re-posted parts at my GMO Pundit blog with linkes. I noticed a few minor typographical slips from a nimble typist but picked up the following at the end, to which I added [Tribe edits] in s.
"The well-being of a democratic society requires protecting the science communication environment from toxic meanings. We thus need to use our knowledge to [inform] understanding [of] how such meanings are formed. And we need to devote our political resolve to developing procedures and norms that counteract the forms of behavior—intentional and inadvertent—that generate this form of pollution"
I'm really looking forward the re-reading and thinking about and using your suggested solution to the science communication problem.Nov 4, 2012