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  1. #171
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Perhaps then more scientists need to enter the world of politics and media.

    A wise man said "perhaps you are busy doing the wrong things".

    I know that science isn't don't in a public forum or a house of democracy but it also doesn't exist apart from it and that seems to be the danger. Whatever is developed is removed from the world by several steps of bureaucracy and middle management. There seems to be little credible coming through.
    We already have too few scientists doing actual science, and too many distractions for those who are. The skill sets and proficiencies are also very different. Turning scientists into politicians and PR salesmen plays to our weaknesses, not our strengths in many cases, exceptions like Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson notwithstanding. We cannot get the public to understand and appreciate science by turning science or scientists into something it/we are not. We must instead develop a constructive attitude toward science as children grow up and are educated. Our schools generally do a poor job of this, and most parents are not equipped to compensate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    It's not possible to explain science to the public in a form they can understand.

    It is not possible because the public have a particular way of understanding and the science has another way of understanding.

    The problem is not one of making science explicable to the public, the problem is epistemological.
    You are on the right track here. The problem is not making science explicable to the public, it is educating the public to the point where they can have at least a rudimentary understanding of what science is and how it works. It is like learning a new language. Years ago only the priests and rulers could read and write. Eventually, facilitated by the advent of the printing press, literacy became more widespread. That didn't turn everyone into Shakespeare or Dickens overnight, but at least they could now make use of those words on the page. Access to all sorts of knowledge was expanded. We need to do the same thing with science today.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #172
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    It was a big mistake to let information become a commodity, and for science to become fashionable.

    We don't need people to know science. We just need them to stop thinking they do when they don't. We need science to be boring again. We need more of the truly dedicated and less of the people who think it's cool to talk about things they don't even understand.

  3. #173
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    It was a big mistake to let information become a commodity, and for science to become fashionable.

    We don't need people to know science. We just need them to stop thinking they do when they don't. We need science to be boring again. We need more of the truly dedicated and less of the people who think it's cool to talk about things they don't even understand.
    The highlighed is certainly true. The only thing worse than being ignorant is when your ignorance includes that fact itself. I'm not sure real science has ever been fashionable. It takes far too much effort. People amuse themselves at times with the trappings of science, but that is hardly the same.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  4. #174
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    The problem is not understanding well enough but understanding understanding.

    These are two different problems. A solution for the first will not do for the second.

    If we try to solve the second problem in terms of the first, we will continue to go round in circles.

    In our naïveté we mistake the second problem for the first.
    The only answer to that riddle is "I'm playing all the right notes. Not necessarily in the right order."
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  5. #175
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    We already have too few scientists doing actual science, and too many distractions for those who are. The skill sets and proficiencies are also very different. Turning scientists into politicians and PR salesmen plays to our weaknesses, not our strengths in many cases, exceptions like Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson notwithstanding. We cannot get the public to understand and appreciate science by turning science or scientists into something it/we are not. We must instead develop a constructive attitude toward science as children grow up and are educated. Our schools generally do a poor job of this, and most parents are not equipped to compensate.
    So your plan is to get those who didn't do well at science to do science or tough luck because scientists can't communicate well but they're really important so we can't ask them to do it.

    Great compromise. Oh and by the way, if people were motivated to understand the scientist they'd probably educate themselves. What's going to make that change?

    I'm afraid I couldn't disagree more. If you're doing the work, you have the interest and the understanding then the communication should fall on your shoulders and not be abdicated to some underling because you can't be bothered.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?
    Likes Jaguar liked this post

  6. #176
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    The only answer to that riddle is "I'm playing all the right notes. Not necessarily in the right order."
    It is not a riddle. It is simply going up one level of abstraction for a better view.

    If you think all the notes are the same, they are not. Some notes are particulars and some are abstractions. This is a normal way of thinking.

  7. #177
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    So your plan is to get those who didn't do well at science to do science or tough luck because scientists can't communicate well but they're really important so we can't ask them to do it.

    Great compromise. Oh and by the way, if people were motivated to understand the scientist they'd probably educate themselves. What's going to make that change?

    I'm afraid I couldn't disagree more. If you're doing the work, you have the interest and the understanding then the communication should fall on your shoulders and not be abdicated to some underling because you can't be bothered.
    Knowledge can only be made available - you can't force people to understand it. This attempt to get people 'motivated' is a big part of what causes this half-assed knowledge that people tend to have in the first place.

    They're lured in with oversimplified statements and think they want to know more but then see how hard it actually is and just can't be bothered, and at the same time they feel they've made some mediocre achievement.

    It's like with Rubik's cubes. They're easy if you take the time but most people don't. Most don't bother, the majority of the ones that do look up a beginner tutorial and think they know something, then you get these people spouting about how it's impossible for normal people to solve and it takes a mathematician months to do it on their own, and they don't realize just how wrong they are. Dumbed down 'motivations' do more harm than good. We don't need people who just want the easy access and can't be bothered when it gets a little tough. The best kind of motivation is when the person is motivated on their own, not when they are enticed.

    The best kind of motivation is not a person who watches a YouTube beginner's method for Rubik's cubes and then never learns anymore. The best kind of motivation is a person who takes it upon their self to get a basic understanding of group theory to get past all the crutches and blatant nonsense that gets carted around. Seriously it takes maybe a few hours to understand, and maybe a couple days practice yet we've got people telling you that it's some fancy genius bullshit when it isn't. And we're not going to yell over that noise. The info is there for those who want to listen and just for them.

  8. #178
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    It is not a riddle. It is simply going up one level of abstraction for a better view.

    If you think all the notes are the same, they are not. Some notes are particulars and some are abstractions. This is a normal way of thinking.
    Correct. The issue is with the level of obfuscation used. I can conclude one of the following.
    1 you are deliberately being obtuse.
    2 you don't realise you are being obtuse
    3 you don't understand it well enough to describe it well
    4 what you are speaking of is beyond my comprehension (though this would kind of link to 3)
    5 you tend to be incomprehensible and have been for some while (in which case why act surprised)
    6 you're talking nonsense

    Now that's me being flat out honest. I prefer to think that there's an essential communication step missing but my cynicism is constantly being asked to improve these days.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  9. #179
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    It was a big mistake to let information become a commodity, and for science to become fashionable.

    We don't need people to know science. We just need them to stop thinking they do when they don't. We need science to be boring again. We need more of the truly dedicated and less of the people who think it's cool to talk about things they don't even understand.
    This will never work.
    We had religion and magic before for these precise things. Your status carries no inherent weight anymore, partially (I'd wager) due to the aforementioned debacles.

    Now you not only have to do the science but sell it also.

    I'm in an organisation in need of strong hr. I've done courses and worked with consultants. I've edited a book for a consultant about the myths in organisations for directors. I still carry no weight in the organisation unless I sell myself and get the job.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #180
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    So your plan is to get those who didn't do well at science to do science or tough luck because scientists can't communicate well but they're really important so we can't ask them to do it.

    Great compromise. Oh and by the way, if people were motivated to understand the scientist they'd probably educate themselves. What's going to make that change?

    I'm afraid I couldn't disagree more. If you're doing the work, you have the interest and the understanding then the communication should fall on your shoulders and not be abdicated to some underling because you can't be bothered.
    The public has the interest. If they didn't, they would not be so quick to latch onto so many crackpot speculations mispackaged as "science". It's not a matter of scientists not wanting to be bothered to correct this; we are simply the wrong tool for the job, or at least we need many others to do it right. Look at any product, from something simple like paper towels to something complicated like GPS units or pharmaceuticals. The people who develop and deliver the advertising for these are not the same people who developed and now produce the actual products. They are people with expertise not in science and engineering but rather in economics, marketing, psychology, writing, art, etc. Ideally they work with scientists and engineers to gain a basic understanding of the product, which they can then pass on to the general public. (I realize much of advertising is designed to manipulate rather than pass on genuine information. I am giving it the benefit of the doubt for this exercise, considering it in its idealized form of helping the public become familiar with a "product" so they will understand its benefits.)

    And yes, we need to get those who "don't do well at science" to understand some basic level of science, just as we encourage people who are completely non-athletic to maintain some basic level of physical fitness, we expect people with no literary gifts to be able to read and write, and we expect people who will never go into politics or run a business to have a basic understanding of how our government and economy function. It's as simple as that, and as difficult.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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