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Who's fault is scientific illiteracy?

Peter Kareiva, chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy, has authored a post on Cool Green Science, "the conservation blog of The Nature Conservancy," that looks at the current state of scientific illiteracy in the wake of Chris Mooney's new book "Unscientific America."

Interestingly, Karevia makes the bold statement that the scientists are to blame for the public's lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to science. Here's an excerpt:

"The blame lies to some large extent with us scientists — not with the media, and not with an intellectually lazy public.

As my Conservancy colleague Rebecca Goldman pointed out in a Cool Green Science post last month, scientists by and large do not know how to communicate. Even worse, when when one of us does communicate, it is viewed by other scientists as an indicator of some sort of lack of rigor, and “less serious science.”

Too few scientists think about audience and how to reach it. We are boring instead of entertaining — in fact, we would probably be embarrassed if we were called entertaining. What is up with that? Instead of presenting just the facts, we need to be able to use our science to address the topics most people care about — job security, health, children, national security."

Click "source" to read more.

Comments (2)

  1. I was listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about giving talks about science. And Dr. Tyson suggested part of figuring out the audience is being familiar with pop culture. Which I think is true when trying to get a general audience interested in science.
  2. Being able to read an audience is an art form and takes a lot of experience, in my opinion. But that doesn't mean scientists shouldn't try. The more you communicate and learn from mistakes the better off you are for it.A lot of what this blog post talks about is the fear of ridicule from fellow scientists and the stigma of being "entertaining." It's unfortunate that people succumb to this peer pressure.Hopefully that attitude will become "sooooo 20th century." (There's my pop culture reference)

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