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  1. #191
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    Don't you think it's their job to explain it so that layman can understand it? After all, it's taxpayers who pay for much of this research.
    No. Their job isn't to explain anything. Explaining things to laymen isn't even practically useful to begin with. What exactly is the point? To satisfy their curiosities?

    A scientists job is first of all to do science. Secondly they might teach science so that other people can do science. Putting some stuff in a magazine so that you can sit in a chair and read it and say "that is interesting" and then do absolutely nothing with the information is dead last on the list. Be lucky it gets on the list at all.

  2. #192
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    @Tellenbach

    And yeah, when they discover a new disease or new planet or whatever, that gets passed around. Big discoveries are headline science which is kind of an exception. But most of science is really not that interesting to begin with and a very large fraction goes pretty much untold to the public. So really no, their job is not to explain anything, and even if they did explain, a lot of people aren't going to care because it is way beyond their experience.

  3. #193
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Here you're mixing apples and oranges a bit. Competing for research funding takes a different skill set and type of information than educating the public at large on the nature of science. This first is a task best done by the scientists and engineers themselves, and tends to be evaluated by people with the education and experience to understand the information presented.
    Competing for research funding within the existing community is perhaps different but in the open market it would be the same.

    I also fail to see how you've got these acolytes who you've spent the time and effort to ensure that they understand your work but they are I'll equipped to defend it against other scientists/ academics.

    The general populace can and will ask the most challenging questions in the same way a child can get an adult all crossed up. You need someone who knows the subject inside out to adequately answer the questions and also you want someone who's not polished for them to be credible. It's an American thing with the million dollar smile so maybe that works for you but here you'd get further looking like Einstein than some fashion model.

    What's this community outreach thing?
    Must admit that came as a surprise because up until that point you were coming across like "normal" people should be kept at arms length preferably sterilised and sanitised.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  4. #194
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    Don't you think it's their job to explain it so that layman can understand it? After all, it's taxpayers who pay for much of this research.
    Communication is a two-way street. Scientists need to consider their audience when explaining things to the public, and frame their explanations using terms the public is more likely to know. The public, on the other hand, have to make an effort to understand, which includes focused listening, asking questions, and taking their original education seriously to begin with. It's the scenario of the horse at the drinking trough again, which I think someone else already pointed out.
    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...

  5. #195
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Competing for research funding within the existing community is perhaps different but in the open market it would be the same.

    I also fail to see how you've got these acolytes who you've spent the time and effort to ensure that they understand your work but they are I'll equipped to defend it against other scientists/ academics.

    The general populace can and will ask the most challenging questions in the same way a child can get an adult all crossed up. You need someone who knows the subject inside out to adequately answer the questions and also you want someone who's not polished for them to be credible. It's an American thing with the million dollar smile so maybe that works for you but here you'd get further looking like Einstein than some fashion model.
    Science proposals don't exactly compete on the open market. The questions asked and the criteria for ranking are often different from what the public will ask. Just because a question is "difficult" doesn't mean it is good, or useful in determining which research activity to fund. It may, on the other hand, be immensely valuable in clearing up a popular misconception, or encouraging interest in science. Yes, for one-on-one discussions with questioning laymen, personable scientists are probably the best bet. I hope you are not assuming that this is the sum total of what needs to be done, however. Your characterization of science eduation and PR staff as "acolytes" is needlessly demeaning, and contributes to the very elitism you would probably criticise in scientists. I have explained their function in helping to translate science for the public. I suppose you would have us do away with linguistic translators as well, and require us to read papers from Russia and China in the native language.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    What's this community outreach thing?
    Must admit that came as a surprise because up until that point you were coming across like "normal" people should be kept at arms length preferably sterilised and sanitised.
    In earlier comments I stated:
    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
    we need to get those who "don't do well at science" to understand some basic level of science
    I'm not sure how you get keeping people at arms length out of this. It is precisely because I do engage in this sort of outreach and have done so for years that I understand how significant its limitations are -- how few people we can reach this way. I also see the broader influences that work to undermine these efforts - where one prominent or popular person, ignorant of knowledge but skilled in appealing to the public can spread misinformation that takes years or more to correct. What I'm saying is we need to use some of these public communication skills to promote an understanding of science, and they are developed principally by people who make that their career, not by scientists.
    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...

  6. #196
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    Competing for research funding within the existing community is perhaps different but in the open market it would be the same.

    I also fail to see how you've got these acolytes who you've spent the time and effort to ensure that they understand your work but they are I'll equipped to defend it against other scientists/ academics.

    The general populace can and will ask the most challenging questions in the same way a child can get an adult all crossed up. You need someone who knows the subject inside out to adequately answer the questions and also you want someone who's not polished for them to be credible. It's an American thing with the million dollar smile so maybe that works for you but here you'd get further looking like Einstein than some fashion model.

    What's this community outreach thing?
    Must admit that came as a surprise because up until that point you were coming across like "normal" people should be kept at arms length preferably sterilised and sanitised.
    Most people don't ask a lot of questions about science because the vast majority of science is about having a little more memory in your smartphone or a processor that is just slightly faster or shaving 10% off your gas mileage. Nobody really asks how it works, they just know they want it when it comes out. That's like most of the publicly viewable science right there.

    The rest is pretty much industry, medicine, astronomy and applied physics. Better lubricants and faster servos and how does this chemical that nobody has ever heard of effect rats and cataloging Kuiper belt objects and galaxies and stuff which are so numerous that the majority of them just have numbers for names.

  7. #197
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    No. Their job isn't to explain anything. Explaining things to laymen isn't even practically useful to begin with. What exactly is the point? To satisfy their curiosities?

    A scientists job is first of all to do science. Secondly they might teach science so that other people can do science. Putting some stuff in a magazine so that you can sit in a chair and read it and say "that is interesting" and then do absolutely nothing with the information is dead last on the list. Be lucky it gets on the list at all.
    An argument to remove science if ever I've heard one.
    If you remain apart from all else non science then you are useless. A limb which has wasted and should be cut to save the patient.

    Science does not exist for its own amusement despite all the pontificating and self importance.

    Perhaps you think of science as academic in both senses of the word?

    If you don't explain things to a layman then scientists need to do every job that follows from their research right up until they use their new dohickey liquid to clean the toilets.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  8. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    An argument to remove science if ever I've heard one.
    If you remain apart from all else non science then you are useless. A limb which has wasted and should be cut to save the patient.

    Science does not exist for its own amusement despite all the pontificating and self importance.

    Perhaps you think of science as academic in both senses of the word?

    If you don't explain things to a layman then scientists need to do every job that follows from their research right up until they use their new dohickey liquid to clean the toilets.
    People who need to know end up knowing because they make it their business. You're reaping the benefits of science by using the internet right now. Is it incredibly important for you to know how it works? How about your computer or whatever device you're using. Do you want some white papers on all that? Want to know how MOSFETs are made? I can teach you. I can teach you how to make them in your kitchen.

  9. #199
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    People who need to know end up knowing because they make it their business. You're reaping the benefits of science by using the internet right now. Is it incredibly important for you to know how it works? How about your computer or whatever device you're using. Do you want some white papers on all that? Want to know how MOSFETs are made? I can teach you. I can teach you how to make them in your kitchen.
    But from your prior argument surely I should be asking "why would you bother?".

    As it so happens I tend to be interested in why and how with everything. That's how I know how little others do it from how much I get bitched at for doing it.

    "why can't you just do it? "
    " why do you have to make everything so complicated? "
    " why can't you just accept it? "
    Not the voices of people I'd put faith in to do their research.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  10. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    But from your prior argument surely I should be asking "why would you bother?".

    As it so happens I tend to be interested in why and how with everything. That's how I know how little others do it from how much I get bitched at for doing it.

    "why can't you just do it? "
    " why do you have to make everything so complicated? "
    " why can't you just accept it? "
    Not the voices of people I'd put faith in to do their research.
    The point was you get the benefits regardless of whether you know or not. Scientists make life very nice for you without ever saying a word so I'm saying that your premise that science should be cut off because it's useless if it doesn't explain things to you is entirely faulty.

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