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Getting The Public To Listen To Good Science

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the i'm-your-doctor-dammit dept.

The Media 419

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "We all know that false or misleading science headlines are all too common these days and that misleading media combined with an apathetic and undereducated public lead to widespread ignorance. But the real question is, how can this trend be reversed? At a session at the recent AAAS meeting, a study was discussed indicating that what matters most is how the information is portrayed. While people are willing to defer to experts on matters of low concern, for things that affect them directly, such as breast cancer or childhood diseases, expertise only counts for as much as giving off a 'sense of honesty and openness,' and that it matters far less than creating a sense of empathy in deciding who people will listen to. In other words, it's not enough to merely report on it as an expert. You need to make sure your report exudes a sense of honesty, openness, empathy, and maybe even a hint of humor."

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easy mode (1)

nude-fox (981081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553184)

take all idiots put them on an island and make a reality tv show out of it dont let them off the island ever and dont give them anything but muskets let the fun ensue

Re:easy mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553466)

Impossible feat. If you don't have some level of knowledge about science, you have no ability to discern good science from bad science. You need to understand at least the most basic principals of the scientific method. If you don't, forget about it. And you can't teach the masses, sorry.

The masses trust who they trust. The end.

Re:easy mode (5, Funny)

Unclemort (995572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553642)

If you put all idiots on an island and make a reality tv show out of it, who would watch it?

Science on TV insteadn of siticoms (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553188)

I am with Bjarne on this one.
Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the C++ programming language, claims that C++ is experiencing a revival and
that there is a backlash against newer programming languages such as Java and C#. "C++ is bigger than ever.
There are more than three million C++ programmers. Everywhere I look there has been an uprising
- more and more projects are using C++. A lot of teaching was going to Java, but more are teaching C++ again.
There has been a backlash.", said Stroustrup.

Yeah, but can you 'prove' it? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553196)

The biggest problem is getting the public to listen to good science is to make them understand the scientific method and the philosophy of science. Otherwise it is just another type of belief to them.

But how to you start to explain the difference between a priori and a posteriori without people rolling their eyes and walking off?

Entertainment value (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553346)

Look how Discovery channel etc get hyped and dramatized and facts removed to make for a more entertaining package. Even the news is infotainment.

Anyway, what is Good Science? A lot of the more entertaining science is Bad Science. For example, Discovery Channel segments on dinosaurs often feature people making roaring extrapolations: find a tooth fragment and say that they have found something from a dinosaur that would have been 25 ft long and run at 40 mph. What bullshit.

Re:Entertainment value (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553432)

That's not the Discovery Channel -- those are inferences of real, legitimate paleontologists.

And that's what scares me.

Re:Entertainment value (5, Interesting)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553634)

Look how Discovery channel etc get hyped and dramatized and facts removed to make for a more entertaining package. Even the news is infotainment.
I think this is a perfect example of how the situation is improving. Before things like TLC or Discovery, there were almost no infotainment outlets. Even though the balance is skewed more towards the "tainment," and less toward the "info," it is still a net positive.

Science education, world-wide if not in the US, has never been better. Scientists and engineers make up a larger share of our society than ever before in the history of mankind. Religion and ignorance have lost ground, while knowledge and understanding have gained.

Is there more to be done? Are we where we want to be in terms of scientific understanding? No, but we are on the right track as a species. The only things we can do is continue pushing the veil of ignorance steadily back, and doing our best to educate children in the way science actually works.

Don't let facts get in the way of good fun (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553938)

Sure, Good Science need not be completely dry and boring, but Discovery Channel etc edit for entertainment value, not fact. At the end of the day they are generating material which competes for eyeballs with sitcoms and Reality TV etc. No eyeballs means no ad revenue which means no airtime. Simple.

Is it really a net positive for science if it gives a very skewed version of what science is and how science works?

I would argue that the USA's peak of scientific interest was during the late 1960s when the space program was a national obsession and every second kid had a Nasa poster on their bedroom wall. Perhaps we have a lot of scientists and engineers now, but that is mainly a generational lag thing. Perhaps we know more about science now, but the interest is long gone. The current national obsessions (it there are any) are Britney Spears etc. The USA sure is not seeding the next generation of scientists.

Re:Entertainment value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553876)

"find a tooth fragment and say that they have found something from a dinosaur that would have been 25 ft long and run at 40 mph."

Really. When. Who. What episode. Can you substantiate this with a quote(s) from the scientists in question, or are you talking out your ass?

Re:Yeah, but can you 'prove' it? (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553696)

Otherwise it is just another type of belief to them.

What do you expect when just about anyone can come up with anything, slap "ology" at the end of the word and call it a science?

Re:Yeah, but can you 'prove' it? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553990)

As a Scientologist I am offended by your remark.

Re:Yeah, but can you 'prove' it? (2, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553762)

But how to you start to explain the difference between a priori and a posteriori without people rolling their eyes and walking off?

I rolled my eyes, and then went to look it up on Wiki [wikipedia.org] ....

One rough and oversimplified explanation is that a priori knowledge is independent of experience, while a posteriori knowledge is dependent on experience. In other words, statements that are a priori true are tautologies.

Re:Yeah, but can you 'prove' it? (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553880)

Teach it to them in school.

Smart people are mostly made, not born. Otherwise there would be a lot more geniuses in the slums, ...and don't toss out social-darwinian bullshit, modern economics, even interpreted liberally, hasn't been around long enough and the populations in question are far too large, and intelligence (short of incapacitation) isn't only a small chunk of what contributed to human survival until very recently (for the first 99.9999999% of human history, being resistant to diseases and dumb was a lot more reliable than clever and of below average health made you a lot more likely to survive long enough to procreate. Even people who know evolution pretty well often mistake "breeding" for "good" and assume the "best" (in terms of some human standard of judgement) people are contributing the most genes to the pool.

Aye that was a tangent.

This might be relevant. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553210)

http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=91182 [everything2.com]

Or at least, as relevant as the average lie about this topic is to every topic it is posted in. Idiots.

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553218)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
getting the public to look at goatse [goatse.ch]

People don't believe in it anymore (5, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553236)

People have been taught, for several generations now, that causality is optional, that science is for geeks, that geeks are there to serve the jocks, that man needs to serve the state, and that perception is reality. Why would they care about your silly little experiments?

What we have here (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553364)

Is a failure to communicate ...

Unfortunately, this is a war that we are unlikely to win. The hearts and minds of the populace are mostly centered between the stomach and groin. What the AAS report is basically saying is that science has to "advertise" - just like everything else.

Then it's not "science". It's just one more religion / belief system in a pile of others out to get converts.

The only thing we can do is teach the scientific method - in schools, at home, in conversations. It's the only weapon we've got, however small.

Re:What we have here (4, Insightful)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553648)

I disagree when you say it's not science at that point. The trouble is that scientists who are trying to communicate to the public ignore the scientific information about how people learn and change their beliefs. Too many scientists think that the average person is just like them; present the public with the data and the theories and they'll make the right decision. That idea ignores the fact that we're all emotional beings, not much different from the apes.

Re:What we have here (5, Insightful)

isomeme (177414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553660)

The only thing we can do is teach the scientific method - in schools, at home, in conversations. It's the only weapon we've got, however small.

Of course, one big problem is that the scientific method is usually taught incorrectly. People frame it as if the scientific method explained everything about how actual scientists do actual science; there's this weird image that scientists just mechanically follow a set of steps, and science results.

In fact, of course, the scientific method is merely (though crucially) a way to apply rigorous tests to the results of intuition and imagination. Kekule dreamed that benzene was a ring; no amount of mechanical scientific-method application would have ever resulted in that golden idea. But, having had that idea, he then went into the lab and applied the scientific method to test it, to measure his confidence in the results of those tests. He published his results in a form which allowed others to reproduce his experiments, and to analyze his proposed explanation for the results of those experiments. All that is how science manages to be more than opinion.

But the interesting part, the human part, the part that gets people interested in science, is the very part that isn't subject to the scientif method. I believe it was Brecht who remarked (paraphrased from memory) that science is not a gateway to infinite wisdom, but rather a guard against infinite folly. That's the best summary of the scientific method I've ever run across.

Re:What we have here (4, Insightful)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554018)

Of course, one big problem is that the scientific method is usually taught incorrectly.

...which causes people to make unsupported assertions, and then speak in anecdotes and generalities...

People frame it as if the scientific method explained everything about how actual scientists do actual science; there's this weird image that scientists just mechanically follow a set of steps, and science results.

:>)

Re:What we have here (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553710)

"What we have here is a failure to communicate .."

What we have here is a marketing failure.
The average person is not very bright, is superstitious/religious, and only relates to the world in emotional terms. Instead of trying to change them, figure out how to do what their leaders do and "sell" them what you want them to think. Scientific method is for reaching future scientists/geeks/techies, but we need to get some leverage with the average schmuck on the street.

Re:What we have here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553908)

So long as the "average schmuch" keeps paying for all the research, what do you care what she thinks?

Re:What we have here (0, Troll)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553868)

The only thing we can do is teach the scientific method - in schools, at home, in conversations. It's the only weapon we've got, however small.
That won't help. Scientific research is so in-depth and focused that it's basically boring for all but the very few individuals directly involved. To generate interest, people now overstate their goals and results (this can cure Cancer, stop AIDS, make you Immortal, fly your car, etc.) which just pisses people off.

I say you should accept that trying to educate the public about your research is a lost cause, and just let it be. Most people are not even aware of the basics of centuries-old fields like electromagnetism, thermodynamics, or number theory. How in the hell can you convince the very same people that knowing about TGF-beta interaction with ERK (whatever that means) is more important than about how often Brittaney shaves her crotch?

Science is not for everyone, and you are just going to make a lot of good people feel stupid, inferior, or worse if you push too hard and make them aware of things they can't and won't understand. Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise.

Re:What we have here (2, Funny)

siphonophore (158996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553996)

The hearts and minds of the populace are mostly centered between the stomach and groin.

Wow, I sure am in the mood for a burrito and some sex right now. Thanks for reminding me.

Re:What we have here (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554020)

The only thing we can do is teach the scientific method - in schools, at home, in conversations. It's the only weapon we've got, however small.

I mean this in a respectful tone that is endeared to science and the pursuit of knowledge, but fuck the method. Not that is hasn't been used to unearth some might useful information that has benefited the human race, but there is better science than the scientific method and it is hard for students to understand the process of discovery when repeated trial and error is often boring.

And the goals of science are fairly well understood in this day and age as well. NASA wants to get to Mars by the time today's five year olds are in industry. Other groups want to understand how the brain-mind work. Tons of groups want to replace oil as the main source of energy in the world. And I think they are still chasing a cure for Cancer and HIV/AIDS. These aren't "Gee whiz, let's design an experiment and test it" problems. These are highly theoretical and complex problems that require a HUGE amount of understanding to tackle. And the fact is that testing these things in realistic environments is actually pretty challenging, and simulations or substitutions are required. An it still might be (a) hypothesize, (b) design, (c) experiment, (d) analyze, (e) conclude... but on a much larger scale where (b) design takes up 95% of the cycle. And really, the high school experiments never seemed to capture that for me.

That's part of the problem... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553598)

> People have been taught, for several generations now, that causality is optional, that science is for geeks, that geeks are there to serve the jocks, that man needs to serve the state, and that perception is reality. Why would they care about your silly little experiments?

People talking to them that way is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Try an experiment sometime: see how people respond when they're NOT being talked down to. Those perceptions didn't come about by chance. They can be changed and there are methods for dealing with them. But it's easier just to mock the stupid people.

Speaking of which, would an editor mind fixing the 'a studies was discussed' edit in my story? :-/

Re:People don't believe in it anymore (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553734)

You left out ...' ... and truth emotocentric solipsism '. Otherwise your evaluation is as cold as it is accurate.

Re:People don't believe in it anymore (-1, Troll)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554010)

Sorry, but until the Bush administration came along and started spinning science based on what the lobbyists paid them to promote [google.com] (coal, nuke plants, logging, big oil, etc.), we didn't have the particular public 'he said/she said' imbalance/belief posture that seems so prevalent now.

It will take some time to change things back, but this isn't simply a case of generations old perceptions.

Jocks rule, geeks lose (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22554012)

How many of your local papers had big articles about high school seniors signing letters of intent to attend one college or another on the football team?

How many had articles about students being accepted to academically prestigious schools (e.g. MIT, CalTech, etc.)?

How much funding is there for new locker room equipment? How much for science labs? (my daughter's high school still has the lab benches installed when the school was built 30 years ago.. they also have artificial turf in the football stadium.)

Do you mean AGW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553244)

Yes, the eventual failure of AGW (ahem, climate change) theory would have negative impact on the public opinion onto the rest of science.

Re:Do you mean AGW? (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553786)

Yes, the eventual failure of AGW (ahem, climate change) theory would have negative impact on the public opinion onto the rest of science.

Yes it would, but the benefits of reality disproving the theory would far outweigh any damagage to Science, and Science is actually allowed to correct its theories to fit with reality. Unfortunately on this particular issue, so much work has been done and the findings are now so conclusive, that this happy outcome seems impossibly unlikely ... still I persist in buying the occasional lottery ticket (though this doesn't stop me planning for my future based on the presumption probabilty dictates).

Man In The Sky (4, Insightful)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553258)

Well when a major chunk of the population believes the earth is only umpteen thousands of years old, I don't think a presentation of any style or quality is going to get them to listen to what science has to say in any meaningful capacity unless it easily and directly benefits them.

immunization (1)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553288)

My neighbour didn't get her baby boy the usual shots. I told her she should do it, but she didn't "trust" it.

Re:immunization (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553670)

Maybe we have to be a little less sensitive. When her baby dies (or is left sterile, or with heart damage) from one of those diseases everyone gets immunized against, someone (better yet lots of someones) should point out that she killed him. The news should carry the story.

I'm irritated that my health plan doesn't properly cover real medical expenses like wisdom tooth extraction or eye exams, but it does cover naturopathy. Why do I have to pay for someone's placebo habit?

Re:immunization (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553980)

Why do I have to pay for someone's placebo habit?

Presumably because they're cheaper than real medicine.

Re:immunization (1, Interesting)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553958)

I am all for immunizations; my kids and cats have had all of their recommended shots. I do not know her reason for not trusting immunizations, but I can understand why she might not trust immunizations. There are serious questions regarding the safety of immunizations, especially regarding thimerosal preservatives.

Low concern? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553320)

"matters of low concern, for things that affect them directly, such as breast cancer "


I guess cancer is a low concern as long as you don't have it.

Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553332)

To ensure people heed your arguments:

  1. Declare over and over again that there's no debate at all and that your side is absolutely right. Whenever they bring up objections, merely inform them that "the debate is over. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a scientific fact."
  2. Paint all of your opponents as shills for your favorite bogeyman (Big Business/Republicans/The Jews/Etc.) "Everyone who opposes immediate action on global warming is an oil company shill."
  3. Remember to hype the danger to the maximum possible extent unless people adopt your preferred "scientific" policies. "Unless we ban the automobile, the ice caps will melt."
  4. No matter what evidence is presented, spin it as supporting your theory. "Hurricane Katrina? Global Warming. Record snowfalls? Weather disruption due to global warming."

Follow these steps and you're sure to have people believe your "correct" science.

www.uncommondescent.com (1)

Robowally (649265) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553378)

www.uncommondescent.com

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (2, Insightful)

Black Art (3335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553480)

Except that Global Warming people actually have EVIDENCE. You don't.

The current problem is that we have too many people who are willing to tell lies to support their political views. They have found that the lies are much more acceptable when you have an authority figure telling them to the populace. Thus, you get Creationists pretending to be scientists when speaking to the public. The same goes with Global Warming deniers and other followers of Pseudoscience.

People don't trust science anymore because they have been lied to by people like you for so long they don't know what to trust or who to believe. One group of "scientists" tell them one thing and the next day another tells them something else.

We have gotten into this mess because people like you started to believe that Science somehow had to reflect their own political opinions, no matter what the evidence. (Like the melting polar icecaps.)

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553540)

The same goes with Global Warming deniers

Anyone who claims "the debate is over" about global warming is not a scientist. The debate on global warming is certainly not over. Weather is a very poorly understood phenomena. To declare "the debate is over" is arrogant.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553566)

And to insinuate that weather and climate are the same thing pretty much indicates you don't have the foggiest notion what the hell you're talking about, which leads me to believe that you are probably the last person on Earth I'd want to get information on a climatological debate with.

All science is tentative, but thus far the denier community has tried to push that to an extreme, and are even invoking similar kinds of arguments (invoking conspiracies, questioning the peer-review process, getting lists of "scientists" who disagree with global warming that often include non-climatologists and even non-scientists) that evolution-deniers use.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553638)

I'm not pushing one way or the other. I just don't believe that there is incontrovertible evidence that climate change is man-made. I do believe the climate is changing. I see enough anecdotal evidence alone to nearly convince myself.

The cause is now a political agenda.
   

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553678)

I just don't believe that there is incontrovertible evidence that climate change is man-made. I do believe the climate is changing.
25 years ago, folks said, "well you've got a pretty good model of why climate change should occur, but we haven't seen much change in the temperature."

Now it is "the temperature is getting warmer, but we don't accept your model of why it is happening."

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (2, Insightful)

Jarnin (925269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554046)

I just don't believe that there is incontrovertible evidence that climate change is man-made.
The whole "man-made" argument is crap. It was a way to add doubt to the "global warming" statement, which wouldn't be changed even if man wasn't spewing CO2 and Methane into the atmosphere. The fact is the planet is getting warmer. The fact is man has contributed (a lot) to that warming. Instead of playing the blame game for the last decade and a half, politicians on both sides should have been acting on the data. Then again we've only just recently gotten politicians old enough to remember learning about global warming in school, which might explain the sudden sense of urgency.

I do believe the climate is changing. I see enough anecdotal evidence alone to nearly convince myself.
Don't believe it: Know it. Read up on the subject from a wide array of sources and make your own conclusion. When you say "I do believe" you're saying "I haven't actually looked into it, but someone I trust told me so."

The cause is now a political agenda.
It's always been a political agenda since that's the only way anything will be done about it. The Kyoto Protocol was signed by governments, not scientists.
It sounds more like you don't like the side that's cheering that agenda, so this ends up a case of guilty by association.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553686)

Actually, to state any debate is ever over would be scientifically inaccurate. There is no proving right, there is only proving 'not wrong based on what we know at the moment'.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554068)

I sat in a lab last week and took a spectra of CO2, the debate is over, its been dead for years, CO2 causes global warming!

and FFS im an undergrad, there are people that have spent years looking at all the factors, and every time theyre not being paid by an oil company guess what they say?
Increase emission of CO2 is having a realworld effect.

The only thing that has not been proven, mainly because it cant be without setting up a 2nd earth somewhere, is that its the MAIN cause. but that doesn't even *stream of insults removed* matter. Destabilizing a natural balance and increasing temperature IS BAD, reducing CO2 emissions will prevent further destabilization.

I don't know shit about what you do, and just because i can read about the latest developments in technology doesn't make me qualified to say jack about computers beyond what Ive done. I assume that you don't know shit about chemistry/physics, beyond what you've seen / done at school (which btw if your American doesn't bode well), i have.

There is about as much debate on CO2 emissions being bad as creationism being science, there are just a few retarded Texans that wont accept the facts because they have too much to lose.

To spelling/grammar nazis, i realize i cant spell + its late, but it in no way affects my ability to understand science, the same way that your l33t spelling skilz have no effect on anything other than your egos.
p.s this is not flamebait and if anybody wants me to back stuff up with cold hard facts i can, im a science nazi i cant help but get pissed of when FUD about science comes up!

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22554048)

Except that Global Warming people actually have EVIDENCE. You don't.

Look, there are some facts that everyone can agree on:

1. CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing a lot over the last few centuries, and this is entirely the result of human activity (the industrial revolution)
2. the average global temperature has been increasing the last 2 decades
3. the greenhouse effect is real and without it, the globe would be much less hospitable for human life

To then go and say that #2 is the direct result of #1 is where things get a little fuzzy, and reasonable scientists can disagree.

The earth is a very, very large complex system, with many different feedback loops, both positive & negative. Modeling it is very difficult, even with big supercomputers (that is why weather forecasts still aren't that accurate). Further, there have been dramatic changes in average global temperature in the past 10,000 years, all of which were not caused by human activity. In the 1970s, average global temperatures were dropping. Scientists wondered if the earth was beginning a little ice age.

Now, I'm all in favor of sound energy policy and increased fuel efficiency, which is something that was sadly lacking under both B.Clinton & G.W.Bush. Average vehicle fuel efficiency worsened during both presidencies (the best fuel efficiency was in the late 1980s).

Where I live, the electric utility (like many) tries to encourage conservation. Well, people listened. People have conserved so much that the utility's revenue has dropped significantly. Since my utility is so inefficient at running a business, with many overpaid useless employees and construction projects with large cost overruns, the utility can't cover their costs. So, they had to raise their rates. Efficiency is usually sold to the people as a win-win situation: use less, pay less. In my city, we get use less, pay more.

The move to outlaw incandescent lights is IMHO boneheaded. The amount of mercury that will be released into the environment from the inevitable millions of broken bulbs will be extremely hazardous.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553492)

I can't think of anything more ironic than what you just said. you can take every one of your examples and come up with an equivalent from the global warming denier camp. "correct science" indeed

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553532)

Wonderful! A perfect example of one of the reasons why it's so difficult to get the public to listen to good science.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553534)

You seem to be a pretty good example of how pseudo-scientists try to paint themselves as victims, and thus serve the cause of disillusioning the public to science by misinformation, strawmen and outright lies.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553542)

Declare over and over again that there's no debate at all and that your side is absolutely right. Whenever they bring up objections, merely inform them that "the debate is over. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a scientific fact."
Yep, it was a hoax. I'm throwing in the towel and letting the cat out of the bag.

It is an evil left wing hoax designed to screw you over. We've paid off every climate scientist, atmospheric chemist, and all other physical scientists. There are a couple that we forgot to pay off, but we couldn't get them to pronounce their names correctly or they might have been too stupid to figure out how to deposit those golden checks we wrote them.

Yep, YOU UNCOVERED THE VAST LEFT WING CONSPIRACY AGAINST CAPITALISM AND AMERICA and we were trying to use global warming to ruin everything wonderful.

And if it weren't for those snooping kids and Nova Express (100383), we would have gotten away with it, too.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (3, Informative)

evil agent (918566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553560)

Wow, I rarely get to see so many strawman arguments in one post.

Anyway, this does raise an interesting question: is it ok to use such sensationalism even though it's based on good science? It seems to be the only way to get people to listen.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553768)

is it ok to use such sensationalism even though it's based on good science? It seems to be the only way to get people to listen.
If the science says that what is likely to happen is sensational then yes, it is not only ok but necessary to convey this to the public. In short, if you over-hype the problem what you're effectively doing is: 1) distorting the science making it a pointless ignorance perpetuating lie 2) making it even less likely the public will listen to real science ever again. The problem is that the real science is heavily entangled with politics on both sides. That should never ever be the case but that's the system our little dysfunctional society created.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553624)

That's funny, that sounds like just about the same thing the Global Warming Naysayers do, only taking the opposite position.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553674)

Those are advocates. Not scientists.

And it is that kind of science that is the Bad Science the article is stating is wrong, whether they use that example or not.

Anyone, who for any reason, does the above is merely hurting the scientists trying to put actual information out there. People just seem to assume that "putting into laymans terms" means "stretch to an extreme you think the layman will agree with regardless of the facts", and I agree with you on that front. Its entirely dispicable.

A true climatologist should simply state "I see this data here, and this data here, and based on these interactions I believe this is whats up. (and then the key part) Here is my methodology of how i obtained these results, and these are the reasons I am reaching this conclusion in my opinion".

This is true research results, which will never get further funding.

That really is the part that burns me up; We have people spinning on many sides, while ACTUAL USEFUL INFORMATION would never get funding which places scientists dangerously close to the Alinsky 'non-doers' side of things. This aggravates the whole conflict as those influencing the final "We found out this!" headlines just end up polarizing the debate into only two sides, who then spend the whole debate bitching about the other extreme advocates poor methodologies. Then people suddenly seem to think that IS the basis of the debate to begin with.

This is especially pronounced when you look at the other side of "How many people would actually listen to such dry and boring data".

Hm.

Bender: Hey baby, wanna kill all humans?

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553692)

Global warming is a consensus and at one time the Scientific consensus was that germs existed but didn't cause disease. We know way to little about greenhouse gases, the efficients of the sun, both radiation and magnetic, volcanoes etc to understand why the Earth is heating up. I'm not jumping on any bandwagon until I know it's going in the right direction. I really don't want to walk back and start over, that is if we haven't screwed to whole planet up so much that starting over won't be possible.

Re:Just do what Global Warming Advocates Do (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553704)

Idiots like the parent post help illustrate another problem: a lot of very complex fields have concepts that can, in part, be outlined in everyday English. So people with zero training in climatology, biology, genetics, or whatever feel qualified to debate highly specialised researchers, even though they have no idea what they are talking about. Other fields like physics are less affected by this because of the terminology and the math involved. Although come to think of it, the Big Bang is pretty heavily misunderstood - people tend to think it was this big explosion into empty space, when in fact the "explosion" itself WAS space.

I think what would really help is simple statistical training from an early age, so people are more likely to understand science as a probablistic enterprise rather than a "big book of facts" that is immutable or prone to "boondoggles".

Mandatory IQ and other cognitive ability (0, Troll)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553358)

tests and then isolating those scoring below a certain value would fix the world for good. That way 'the public' actually becomes an audience of a different kind than monkeys' who would buy anything as long as it's loud colorful and grants instant gratification at the cost of long-term gains. Giving equal chances to everyone favors survival of the idiots.

Re:Mandatory IQ and other cognitive ability (1)

a_generic_name (1242610) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553458)

Removing warning labels would be an easy way to do that. As an example, a google search for something as stupid as "Do not attempt to stop chainsaw with hands" returned 156 results. (Including things about "Do not attempt to stop chainsaw with hands or genitals." I sure needed to be told that.)

Re:Mandatory IQ and other cognitive ability (3, Funny)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553606)

"Do not attempt to stop chainsaw with hands or genitals."

The moment you say "do not" someone will. Therefore that chainsaw manufacturer is helping humanity.

Re:Mandatory IQ and other cognitive ability (0, Flamebait)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553894)

..or you could educate them instead of locking up everyone who doesn't live up to your standards, but that wouldn't satisfy you elitism, would it?

Think globally, act locally (5, Interesting)

bperkins (12056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553396)

Stop running crappy stories like these:
  http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/20/0340238 [slashdot.org] http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/03/1644252 [slashdot.org]

and uninformed editorializing like this:
  http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/20/0031238 [slashdot.org]

schools (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553410)

the only way we're going to see the public at large be able to evaluate claims and discard the "bad scinece"/pseudoscience is by starting in the schools. As long as there is a problem conveying basic science concepts to the younger members of our population, there is no hope of solving the problem in adults. Dover, Florida, Kansas etc. all examples where science was dumbed down, misrepresented or ignored entirely in favor of teaching pseudoscience that contributes nothing to the understanding of the world around people. It's terribly disturbing as a biologist to see that the educational system is as it stands, a complete and utter failure especially in regard to the major sciences and that there are little or no plans to remedy the situation.

It's all about me and my feelings (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554014)

The new generation have been educated that the world revolves around them and their feelings. Many even believe that scientific "facts" are just an opinion and that their opinions are just as valid, whether based in fact or not.

Science needs to be, if nothing else, impartial and rational. The current educational generation are not being educated to be impartial or rational. Thus, science will suffer.

Root of the Problem (4, Insightful)

l33tlamer (916010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553414)

The lack of emphasis on Science, Maths and good ol' Logic during schooling, especially in the earlier years, is to blame for the lack of public interest in real science. Many of my relatives and friends just don't care about how things work, as long as they do. That, the natural curiosity to find answers for the "how" questions, is what is lacking in society today in general. The only time people want to know it seems, is if they are in danger or if their wallets are involved.

The problem is, the majority of the "ruling class" in management, government and all other areas are generally not scientifically inclined nor are they actively promoting science. They influence education policy and funding for research, which trickles down to the education system and the public's view of science.

I personally found algebra and calculus to be interesting and challenging, the latter is what drove a lot of my friends away, when I first learned it ages ago. I know that if I had worst teachers or if my father weren't an engineer, my feelings towards would have been quite different. Until scientists are more popular than movie stars and mathematicians are more well known than recording artists, the root of the problem will still be that science is just not popular enough to be seen as interesting or useful.

The fact that people actually care about Paris Hilton is also a nice solid data point in my suggestion that people's perspective on what's interesting and important is just waaaay off the mark from reality.

Re:Root of the Problem (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553550)

The problem is, the majority of the "ruling class" in management, government and all other areas are generally not scientifically inclined nor are they actively promoting science.

It's worse than that. A lot of the "ruling class" would prefer that the general public NOT be knowledgeable about scientific method, or the principles of critical thought. It makes them MUCH harder to manipulate.

Simple. (4, Interesting)

Ransak (548582) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553464)

Give parents a tax break based on how well their children do in school.

The hard part would be implementing it. Standardized testing that can be agreed upon is probably a pipe dream for something like this, but if it could be done you'd never see parents take more of an interest in their child's education.

Re:Simple. (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553576)

Or parents would no longer challenge their kids and make them take non honors/AP classes so they appear to do better.

Re:Simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553610)

Give parents a tax break based on how well their children do in school.

I can see it now. Some parent has been encouraging their kid to do poorly in school "See here, Timmy, you'd better fail all your classes 'cause that way people will think your whole family is stupid and, well, if there's one thing I'm proud of in my life it's that I'm stupid." But, then the tax breaks come along and the parent decides to forgo the pride and angle for the money instead.

Re:Simple. (2, Interesting)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554034)

How do you deal with kids with mental disabilities? Kids who just 'dont get math' or 'dont get chemistry'? I'm still in highschool (in fact I'm enrolled in a somewhat prestigious private school), and I know a bunch of kids who are by no means 'dumb' or 'uncreative' (some of them are incredible writers, or musicians, or artists) but just don't get math or sciences. And how do you deal with kids in crappy schools? Really the idea despite the appeal it might carry is not only impractical, but also elitist, and discrimitory. When we're trying to make people listen to 'us', the last thing we need is to make them pay more money.

One name: Isaac Asimov (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553468)

On the other hand, he wasn't as famous as Michael Jackson or Britney Spears. Says something about our sick priorities, eh?

Or maybe it's the third hand... He didn't want to be open and honest about the cause of his own death, apparently because he didn't want to embarrass his physician.

Oh well. I still regard him as the greatest American. Or maybe he doesn't count since he was an immigrant or the son of immigrants? Back to the sick priorities topic, eh?

Re:One name: Isaac Asimov (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553536)

On the other hand, he wasn't as famous as Michael Jackson or Britney Spears.
Maybe if they didn't fuck over all of his works when they make movies out of 'em, he could be that famous too.

Re:One name: Isaac Asimov (2, Funny)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553538)

On the other hand, he wasn't as famous as Michael Jackson or Britney Spears. Says something about our sick priorities, eh?
Clearly we should find a way for Britney Spears to popularize good science. Brilliant!

Re:One name: Isaac Asimov (2, Funny)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553594)

Oh well. I still regard him as the greatest American.

Greater than George Washington or Abraham Lincoln? Oooookaaaaayyy...

Widespread ignorance of science hurts everyone! (2, Insightful)

SpaceWanderer (1181589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553486)

If people can't understand basic science, how are they going to make proper decisions on issues that are of a scientific nature? Birth control? Stem cell research? NASA? Global warming? NIH funding? While these people will have advisers to help them judge the issues, ultimately, they won't judge the issue on a scientific principle and that is extremely unfair to the people who want decisions based on objectivity.
It's good to see the AAAS address this under-rated issue, that of public understanding of science. This has been a worsening problem for decades. I hope they follow up and make this a priority, even if they ave to go some "touchy-feely" way (empathy) to reach people.

Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553496)

"We all know that false or misleading science headlines are all too common these days"

Look in the mirror.

Cloning. (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553498)

Specifically, James Randi, Mike Shermer and Penn and Teller.

Oh wait - human cloning is still hype...

OK or just watch their videos and read their books.

Make sure every science teacher for several generations gets a good dose of their message.

Re:Cloning. (2, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553746)

Oh wait - human cloning is still hype...
I never knew what was so wrong about clones. So what, you have delayed twin births already (frozen embryo, reimplanted after a while), not much outrage an paranoia about that.
Making a baby twin of yourself, WHAT is the big deal? It's like an offspring, or a younger orphaned sibling in your legal guardianship. The media talk about it like it's some kind of proven heresy or something. I'm not worried about clones at all.

Re:Cloning. (1)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553928)

You forgot Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. They are not quite so rigorous as Shermer and Randi, but only Penn and Teller come even close to their audience share.

Maybe more than just science... (1)

Will Integrate For F (1091925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553500)

At a session at the recent AAAS meeting, a studies was discussed indicating that what matters most is how the information is portrayed.

Maybe we should not narrow down to just science, or else we'll all be edumacated.

Not a great article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553516)

In other words, it's not enough to merely report on it as an expert. You need to make sure your report exudes a sense of honesty, openness, empathy, and maybe even a hint of humor.

So people don't trust dishonest, closed-minded, heartless, humorless "experts"? I'm not seeing the problem here. OK, so maybe I'd overlook a lack of humor but, no matter how you slice it, honest matters when it comes to trust.

Overall, I wasn't all that impressed with the article. There were a few interesting ideas here and there but, on the whole, it seemed rather simple minded. For example, there was a long section that presented the vaccination question as purely scientific. That's not to say that science has no place in such questions but questions regarding vaccination also encompass complex questions of human emotion and ethics.

Fuck em! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553524)

The Toronto Star, the largest daily circulation newspaper in Canada, ran a story [thestar.com] a few weeks back about an "inventor" who has discovered a method to get energy out of nothing, with a few electric motors and magnets.

The idiots at The Star ran the story with a straight face, including the financial backing that the "inventor" has raised. Now, I don't know if the "inventor" is an honest kook or a fraudster, but the sad fact is that a major newspaper has no one on staff who ever took a physics course or has any scientific knowledge. YOU CAN'T GET ENERGY OUT OF NOTHING!!!

Sadly, the idiocy at The Star is not limited to science. And this "inventor" is going to bilk quite a few idiots out of their savings and/or venture capital.

At some point you have to say there's one born every minute.

True But... (3, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553788)

Then again, every once in a while, someone hits on a previously unknown fundamental breakthrough that turns the rules as we know them on their head. Think Gallileo, Newton, Einsten, et al. It DOES happen.

That said, it's highly unlikely that the inventor of the "free energy" stuff is actually on to anything. I take his claims with a truckload of salt, but am willing to see what is really going on there.

It is possible that he hit on something, but pretty highly unlikely.

"YOU CAN'T GET ENERGY OUT OF NOTHING"

Very true. But if someone DOES hit on a way to tap into something we've been heretofore unaware of, that doesn't make it energy from nothing, just energy from something we didn't know about before -- the same as fusion, fission, and antimatter anniahlation would have been unthinkable in 1670.

Acceptance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553580)

Is it the fault of the reader? The reader trusts "reputable" news sources. They rely on the reporters taking the time to get the full story. This is the reader's largest, yet understandable, downfall.

Isn't the real problem that the sources go for the quick grab headline, rather than take the time to do it right.

My method (3, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553618)

I have a "special" dentists chair in my basement. It's very comfortable so they don't "need" to move. Then I make the air really humid so that they don't need to blink which really helps make the toothpicks in their eyes much more tolerable. Then I just play them simple, repeatative educational videos for a short time... say about 72 hours or so. I find people are rather receptive to new ideas in the right environment.

Article: Most scientific papers probably wrong (2, Informative)

littlewink (996298) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553644)

See Most scientific papers are probably wrong [newscientist.com] for details.

Re:Article: Most scientific papers probably wrong (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553780)

Yes, see it. Note the quote at the end, from a working scientist:

"When I read the literature, I'm not reading it to find proof like a textbook. I'm reading to get ideas. So even if something is wrong with the paper, if they have the kernel of a novel idea, that's something to think about," he says."

Also, the author of the paper points out that replication is more important than the original finding. Generally things aren't elevated to the level of scientific "truth" on the basis of one study. If the public wants to peruse scientific journals or if publish by press conference is going to become an accepted standard, then the public should understand this.

But when your oncologist recommends chemotherapy he is not speaking from the results of one small, unregulated study.

Note also that even if "most published scientific results are wrong," those results are still more likely to be correct than any other result.

You're joking, right? (2, Insightful)

ah.clem (147626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553688)

It's not my responsibility to "reverse the trend" - it's my responsibility to make certain that people that choose to be stupid don't get in my way. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone of average intelligence not taking the time to try to understand the world around them.

Ignorance has consequences. Teach people to be responsible for their own learning, and you don't need to "dumb it down" for them. Pander to them and you're stuck as their babysitter for the rest of their lives.

A Sisyphean Task (4, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553726)

Part of the problem, at least here in the U.S. (land of self-centeredness and instant gratification) is that science often fails to give people the answers they want to hear, or the results they want to have.

This is especially true when it comes to medical science. As far as medicine has advanced, there are still diseases and maladies that cannot be cured or even mitigated by current knowledge and practices. It can be very hard, if you are someone suffering from something of that sort, to accept that there may be little, or even nothing, that can be done. Desperation can cause even basically level-headed people to seek out untested or even already debunked alternative treatments that may at best have a mild placebo effect, more likely will do nothing to alleviate their suffering, and at worst can worsen the condition or hasten the person's ultimate demise.

Religion, obviously, can be a powerful impediment to acceptance of science as well. If your faith stands or falls with a literal reading of Genesis, then you will not, indeed CANnot accept scientific evidence to the contrary.

Finally, one thing I've always noted about humans is that we don't like "grey areas." We want answers that are complete, definitive, and satisfying. The fact that science can sometimes be wrong, and theories changed as more evidence is gathered, is unsettling to those who don't understand the scientific method, and leads them to have little faith in its conclusions.

This can only be remedied by not only pushing basic science courses hard and early in school (something way more comprehensive than that which produces the mere ability to answer a few multiple-choice questions on some standardized test), but instruction in reasoning and critical thinking as well. And I don't see that happening, not by a long shot. If you have a child, and want him or her to be scientifically literate, you pretty much have to teach them yourself. Schools today are about establishing minimal (very minimal) levels of ability, and high (very high) levels of conformity. Teaching too much science threatens the former goal, while instruction in critical thinking thwarts the latter.

Re:A Sisyphean Task (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553888)

People simply respond to emotional appeals better than logic or "complicated" things like science. The naturopaths are sure they can help you. The MD tells you the odds. The priest tells you about faith and epiphany. The scientist tells you about experiments, observations and theories.

People don't need to be educated (1)

arse maker (1058608) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553818)

Most people are bright, even the ignorant ones. Telling them they need to be educated won't help either. The most disturbing thing that seems to be happening with information overload is that pople just dont wan't to listen to you. It seems hard to have people listen to you for listenings sake. People don't want to hear ideas and just let it sit for a while and hear some more and think some more. They want to know, its A or B. I feel like almost any topic I don't know much about, but im also happy not really caring about alot of the topics even if they mean bad things if they are true or false as the case may be. Alot of things might be messed up, but as bill hicks said, I look out my window and its sunny and birdys are singing. If people could be happier to discuss and hold judgement it would be much easier for everyone to form long term opionions on topics. Im not sure how a US politician could discuss issues without both sides disliking them for being indecisive. If the president could get up and say "All scientific opinion seems to say we are causing global warming, and if we don't change our lifestyles our childrens children probably wont be able to have such a good life. Even if somehow the evidence is not accurate in the future cleaner air, less pollution are good for everyone anyhow.". Instead of "Global warming is the biggest threat to our live. But until other countries start to do their share, why should we?", well, id probably check what i was drinking. Anyhow, my rambling point is, conversations should not have to be arguments with a winner and loser. Debating an issue is great, but not when debating is really just yelling at someone with your fingers in your ears.

Re:People don't need to be educated (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554030)

Most people are bright, even the ignorant ones.
This is Slashdot and we only allow anger-driven, misanthropic, blanket statements about humanity. (just kidding)

It takes some courage to say anything a positive about humanity on Slashdot. nice post.

Self-referential Question (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553838)

Any chance people could read, digest and apply the material referred to in their /. postings?

A (very) few popular science media outlets include goofy references in their articles, but not nearly to the extent of /. posts, who apparently think nobody will read them if they don't include SF references or FUDish statements, or a combination of the two.

And I do suspect it's the editorial policy. I've submitted many decent articles only to have the same material printed with a bunch of that sort of junk included.

But hey, that's the AAAS and the subject is about science publication and education, not ad supported web sites.

This is EXACTLY what Alan Alda said (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553842)

to many different classes of graduating scientists in commencement speeches he has given over the past couple decades. Amazing that someone else is finally catching on.

SJ Gould was talking about this in the 90's (2, Insightful)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553878)

Stephen Jay Gould wrote an exceptional (and entertaining - bonus) piece in 1994 about selling Evolution to the lay public - combating the Creationist spin that evolution is 'only a theory' by calling it a 'scientific fact'. He justified this with... well crap, I should let the good Professor say it much better than I could: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_fact-and-theory.html [stephenjaygould.org]

The real problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22553892)

is that to a non-expert, an expert opinion is taken on faith just as a religious doctrine is. The only difference is that a religious doctrine will stay the same a bit longer.

Bull. People want "Truth". (2, Informative)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22553960)

Science doesn't give them the "Truth" they want, i.e., eternal forever truth. It's not "nice" to talk about, but intelligence follows a bell curve, and half the population, by definition, is below average, that's why average is "average". Yes, there is a huge flat part of the curve, which is where most of the population resides. But there's a good solid percentage that is stupid and clueless. Proof? Bush's popularity is at 19%. That means about 1 out of 5 people think he's OK, even after ALL the obvious horseshit that idiot has done, almost 1 out of 5 think he's OK.

There are other examples that are not political - a lot of the "safety reminders" on products come to mind. For an amusing view on this, I'd recommend 2 the Ranting Gryphon's rant on America. [youtube.com] He's a knucklehead, but he's not an idiot and he's funny.

I read somewhere recently that a recent study determined that 25% of the American public sincerely doesn't want to think. They sincerely want to be told what to do and what to think. That they tend to be religious only makes sense. The problem is these people don't want SCIENTIFIC truth, which is always tentative and only true until proven otherwise. This is especially so with the larger questions - where did life start, how did the universe come to be, etc. Sure, we have scientific ideas, but they tend to change over time, and that is something these dunderheads can't cope with. They need UNCHANGING ABSOLUTE TRUTH (tm), and if it comes from some nonsensical piece of crap written by obscure semiliterate Israeli goatherders 3000 years ago, all the better.

Seriously - people don't want science. They want TRUTH, and scientific truth just doesn't cut it - it requires a sense of doubt, and that is something their 1/2 watt brains can't seem to muster. Things are VERY VERY bad, and they are not getting better, and odly, science isn't doing it for them.

Why? Because for every bible thumping retard, there's a dozen who go along with it because it works. How?

1. day care
2. community
3. elder care
4. entertainment
5. The Club

thee are more than that - many more - but churches provide things in the USA that secular society doesn't, and it's the "glue" type things that are not only valuable, but REQUIRED to keep a society together. Example: if you don't have much family in the area (and given the mobile nature of the USA, who does...) you need a baby sitter. Well, so and so from church has a teenager... You need to get some food to granny, but aren't goign to be able to do it. Call so and so from church who lives near her. They owe you a favour anyway... And ten there are the church picnics where people get together and the kids play and it's a nice way to blow a sunday afternoon. And then there's the church youth groups where the kids learn abstinence and practice giving blow jobs. It goes on and on. Yes, it is horrible, yes it is stupid, but in its own stumpy retarded way, it WORKS as long as people don't think too much or often about what the fuck it's all really about or for. THAT requires DOUBT, and that leads to SCIENCE.

So, I don't think tarting up science is going to amount to a hill of beans as long as American society spends half its wealth on the military industrial complex, a quarter on the infrastructure, and some tiny amount on culture and the things that make culture work. Other societies don't have this problem. The USA does, and as long as secular society refuses to step up to the plate and provide the REQUIRED social services for a functioning society, religion will be there to fill in the gap and own the minds and hearts of the retarded half of America.

RS

Science in mainstream media (1)

m0n0RAIL (920043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22554060)

The producers of mainstream media need to portray science in an interesting and entertaining way. And I'm not just talking about TV. Games are becoming a mainstream medium. I've tried to introduce scientific issues in my games, such as Harpooned [harpooned.org] .
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