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EDG
2010-Sep-16, 04:19 AM
http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/09/skeptics-discount-science-by-casting-doubts-on-scientist-expertise.ars


Most surveys of the US public indicate that scientists are popular, trusted figures. The same, however, cannot be said about some of their conclusions, as topics like climate change and evolution remain controversial with many segments of the population. A recent Pew survey gives an indication of why: even though the scientific community's opinion is largely unified on these topics, the public thinks that there is significant dispute among the researchers. A study published by the Journal of Risk Research attempts to explain why this might be the case.

Discuss :)

Is there anything that (all) participants on BAUTforum can learn from this, especially in how they present their cases and ideas?

danscope
2010-Sep-16, 04:54 AM
It's not about how the case is presented. It's all about how some people don't like the consequences of the truth presented.
When the truth is at odds with their image or their profit, they will move mountains and spend fortunes to try to either disprove the proven,
heap dispursions on the presenter, and or cook up some alternative poppycock and balderdash that they will press on the believing public.
If they can sow doubt, they can spin sewage and say it's good. " Batboy says.." Global warming ends next year". or "Too many refrigerators
are causing an ice age in 2012." What follows is a general distrust for important information from reliable sources ... as far as the less educated and less aware people are concerned. they are more comfortable with less in their head, so they are inclined to intelectual stagnation and prefer Scooby Doo . The glass is still full. But.... with what?
I should think the academy of sciences will carry more weight than "Batboy" ,....n'est pas ? Think well and prosper.
Best regards ,
Dan

inflector
2010-Sep-16, 05:22 AM
One of the biggest problems we have is that news is really about entertainment rather than delivering valid information.

Reporters would rather create controversy than take sides in an argument even when the science is clear. The networks don't want to risk alienating some of their prospective audience and they gain more by creating drama where there is none. Much better to present a fight between "equally valid" points of view from their perspective.

That's why you find the Westboro Baptist Church getting coverage while "creation science" gets equal time in the Texas school system.

That's why you have a sizable percentage of a certain political party believing Obama is a muslim.

tnjrp
2010-Sep-16, 05:37 AM
Haven't had time to read the full article yet, but "the public thinks that there is significant dispute among the researchers" bit I think would come from the general media policy of "teaching both sides" to scientific issues with political/societal signifigance.

EDG
2010-Sep-16, 09:16 PM
The lack of response or comment on this is interesting. I thought there was a connection between what was being discussed and what happens here. I guess others don't see it.

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-16, 09:23 PM
The lack of response or comment on this is interesting. I thought there was a connection between what was being discussed and what happens here. I guess others don't see it.Maybe you could explain it, then?

Grant Hutchison

Strange
2010-Sep-16, 09:33 PM
the public thinks that there is significant dispute among the researchers

Which is an interesting contrast to the usual ATM claim that there is some sort of conspiracy to maintain the status quo.


Is there anything that (all) participants on BAUTforum can learn from this, especially in how they present their cases and ideas?

That we are popular, trusted figures?

kleindoofy
2010-Sep-16, 09:45 PM
The lack of response or comment on this is interesting. ...
Some BAUT members have jobs and don't spend all day online.


A recent Pew survey gives an indication of why: even though the scientific community's opinion is largely unified on these topics, the public thinks that there is significant dispute among the researchers.
The real problem is that those two topics, unlike most scientific fields, collide with political and/or religious views.

Nobody would get their feathers ruffled by differing opinions on the effects of x-rays on crystal growth in saline solutions. But when there is more than one opinion on evolution or global warming, certain factions say "see, I told you so, they don't know crap, it's all bull."

Does the Pew survey offer any analysis of public opinions on research dealing with lung cancer? Probably not.

Gillianren
2010-Sep-17, 04:09 AM
You know . . . journalism has, of late, an unfortunate belief of what "two sides to every story" and "unbiased" mean. There are some things where there's really only one side, and if that's the case, you don't have to give anyone else a voice. To choose what ought to be a non-controversial example, the Holocaust happened. There's no need to provide a voice from those who say it didn't. They've certainly (in the US) a right to say it themselves, but that doesn't mean anyone has to listen to them.

Similarly, with science, there's that old wedge strategy "teach the controversy." There manifestly isn't one in quite a few scientific principles, and I'm not speaking about any alleged scientific conspiracy of silence. I mean no one really says, to pick the most obvious example, that there's no such thing as gravity. Phlogiston is only taught in the schools as an example of failed ideas of the past. Yes, people believed it; they were wrong, and there's no reason to give their belief credence. However, not everyone realizes that.

tnjrp
2010-Sep-17, 05:23 AM
The one connection I see with this site is that here we have "significant dispute" over issues of higher end physics and cosmology that normally don't "make the headlines". On most skeptic-oriented forums (well, most of those I visit anyway) physics and cosmology "disputes" take a far second place to evolutionary biology and, lately, global warming. So, reading this site only might give someone the idea that modern physics really is in complete shambles, or in crisis, or on experiencing paradigm shift, or whatever those who "dispute" it prefer. You rarely get that elsewhere, there it is "evolution is only a theory" and "human component of global warming is bollox" stuff.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Sep-17, 02:23 PM
You know . . . journalism has, of late, an unfortunate belief of what "two sides to every story" and "unbiased" mean. There are some things where there's really only one side, and if that's the case, you don't have to give anyone else a voice. To choose what ought to be a non-controversial example, the Holocaust happened. There's no need to provide a voice from those who say it didn't. They've certainly (in the US) a right to say it themselves, but that doesn't mean anyone has to listen to them.

Similarly, with science, there's that old wedge strategy "teach the controversy." There manifestly isn't one in quite a few scientific principles, and I'm not speaking about any alleged scientific conspiracy of silence. I mean no one really says, to pick the most obvious example, that there's no such thing as gravity. Phlogiston is only taught in the schools as an example of failed ideas of the past. Yes, people believed it; they were wrong, and there's no reason to give their belief credence. However, not everyone realizes that.
I'm reminded of Dara O'Briain's skit (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo) on woo's where he's telling about how irritated he is about journalists interviewing medical doctors and then asking homeopathists about their opinion, saying at least we don't see a NANA guy talking about the ISS, after which the journalist "in the name of balance" turns to Barry who think the sky is a carpet painted by god and asks his opinion.

Note, link's to youtube and has slightly NSW language.