the role of communication and advocacy in science
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/c ... ate-change
That article, and particularly this paragraph:
"[Climate scientists] assume that belief will be built on their data and that public trust is merited by their authority. With the exception of a few outstanding communicators, they often make no attempt to speak to deeper values or make an emotional connection with the public – indeed they see that as contrary to thei...r professional independence. Climate change deniers have always understood this. They use language that is designed to appeal to deeper values (such as freedom, independence, progress). The narrative they tell of being determined (and even persecuted) free-thinkers, standing against the tide of oppressive and self-interested conformity is designed to create an aura of integrity and trustworthiness."
make me think about what if any "duties" scientists have as far as advocating and communicating to the general public their results and implications of their studies. Here is my opinion:
The public should trust scientists over politicians and if the public were what I consider to be ideal, then scientists wouldn't need to rally the public to act around the conclusions that they come to... however our public is ignorant and far from ideal and thus scientists really need to start speaking out, because as this article illustrates, politicians will play dirty and design this whole spiel and because the public does not hear the scientists' side of things (and heaven forbid the public actually try to look up information on studies themselves...) they only hear and thus only trust the politicians' side of things, and quite frankly even a lot of liberal politicians are cowards when it comes to climate change in that they don't take nearly as drastic steps as need to be taken. So even though there are scientists who do scream to the world that something needs to be done about global warming (NASA's climate scientist James Hansen comes to mind), I don't think nearly enough do. So to sum up - politicians are either not doing enough or are trying to hinder our combating of climate change, and scientists who KNOW we need to act now and we need to act radically need to speak up about it or else nothing will get done because the public will just believe those politicians (who are accepting cash from oil companies, etc) because the politicians DO try to communicate to the public.
Anyway, any thoughts? Alex, I'd like to hear yours since you suggested I put this here :-p