Friday, September 8, 2006


Tom Coates came back from FOO with some interesting points On the Politicisation of Science that I'll definitely come back to (along with some comments there by Jane McGonigal) once I'm more settled into teaching a class on, well, the politicisation of science and technology.

And blessed be the scholars of rhetoric: Clancy Ratliff points to Tia's stellar post at Unfogged which includes "guidelines for avoiding actively irritating women who are discussing feminist concerns," and Mark Kaplan's brilliant Notes On Rhetoric.

Listening to the latest Demos Podcast on Science and Society reminds me that I'd still love to work with them (hint, hint) but I might have to insist that the podcasts stop being so disco. This time Kathy Sykes talks with Jack Stilgoe about how scientists need to do more than speak at the public; they need to listen to the public as well. Their conversation goes over the institutional (academic, government) restrictions that interfere with this imperative, and how we can foster greater public engagement and dialogue with science.


Blogger Chris said...

My position, which I've gradually been expounding, is that science as a discipline tends to alienate the general public as a whole by either (a) claiming specialist knowledge is needed to participate in discussions relating to a particular field (which may sometimes be true about the science itself, but not about the connection between the science and society) and (b) expounding certain positions in terms of specific metaphysical beliefs, and insisting that anyone with alternative metaphysical beliefs is "wrong" (i.e. lapsing into nonreligion instead of science).

Now admitedly, my philosophical investigations have been in metaphysics for a while now, so my perspective is currently skewed. ;)

Scientists listen to the public? That would be lovely! But it's tricky when so many scientists know they are right, and therefore feel they have no reason to listen to anyone else. >:D Okay, I'm harsh in my cynical humour - but I think perhaps there is more than a grain of truth in my irony.

I'll look forward to you covering this topic more in the future - you reach so deeply into areas I just barely touch. I guess that's the joy of blogs - we can expand our knowledge and influence exponentially as our blog clusters grow.

Best wishes!

Anonymous anne said...

cheers, chris - we'll get back to this :)


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