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  1. #1
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Question Can general public understand position of modern science?

    Can somebody who is not a scientist have the right picture about the science?
    There is so much knowledge that even scientist knows only tiny piece of it.

    Today there are so abstract and complex things that you need 10 years (or more) of scientific training just to understand all the things you need to know that you can even begin to think about some things.
    What means that the gap is growing with time.

    Any opinions about this?

  2. #2
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    I believe most aren't even interested in it, unless it somehow connects to their lifes.
    The general importance and usefulness, and how much knowledge one needs to do science, is understood; atleast I believe so. But I don't think even all scientists can have a right picture of all science, it is such a large area after all. There's a shared nature in it all though..

    "Can somebody who is not a scientist have the right picture about the science?" On the other hand, why not? Those close to scientists or interested in different areas can have very good insight to things.

    Now.. Were you aiming to ask about a right picture of how science is made, or how it works or the general nature of it, uses and position in mundane life? Or possibly something completely else?
    I hope you understand that I for one am no scientist.

  3. #3
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    'Picture' and 'position' are horribly obscure words in this context. I don't know if you're asking whether I understand quantum mechanics, or if I agree with spending money on developing it, or if I suspect that a...ummm, quantum mechanic(?) is somehow making poor moral choices in pursuit of new discoveries. Clarify por favor?
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  4. #4
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    Most people don't understand it, nor do they have any desire to, no.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Hell, for that matter, most people don't even understand the products of science, let alone the theories. The classic example is my mom failing utterly to program her VCR...rudimentary understanding only. Even so, I have to think she'd be worse off if she had to trace a broken circuit on a fried board.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    Hell, for that matter, most people don't even understand the products of science, let alone the theories.
    I have to agree. Unfortunately.

  7. #7
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    I couldn't trace a broken circuit on a fried board, but I could do a small-angle x-ray diffraction experiment at the synchrotron alone. It's all about context, training and areas of specialisation.

    Most physicists have no idea about basic molecular biology. Same thing can be said of molecular biologists and basic quantum physics. I think it's unfair to expect the "general public" to understand even basic scientific concepts if they have no interest in science or research. The onus is on the scientific community to educate and explain in a context that relates to the daily lives of "non-science" people. People don't expect me to be able to write essays dissecting Keynesian economics if I don't care in the least about economics and am not working in that field. Why should science be any different?

    I guess what you want people to say is, "no, they (the general public) can't, obviously. you need to be trained for years and decades to even understand a portion of what's going on". What I personally believe is that scientists often over-state what they know, cover up assumptions and obfuscate what they don't know. I am speaking from personal experience and observation. Almost everyone thinks that everyone else is full of crap and only in a certain field for the money. What is true understanding? Is there a true position that can be described for any given field for "modern science"? (I would assume science that is cutting-edge.)

    Personally, I think this is a silly topic that assumes a lot, can lead to no justifiable conclusion and therefore serves no purpose.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Most physicists have no idea about basic molecular biology.
    I was going to say the same thing. Scientists can't even understand the position of modern science. It's simply too broad, with too much knowledge.

  9. #9
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    That's what makes us good. Job specialization. And working off what past generations have given us.

  10. #10
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Agreed with PG

    However I do think it's possible that people can be taught to understand the basics of a particular field in science if they choose to learn. The problem is most scientists are so busy with their research that nobody bothered to try teaching.

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