Surviving the World

A Photocomic Education by Dante Shepherd

Lesson #3152-3154 - Science Education

Science has a lot of strengths. It certainly has its flaws. But the greatest flaw comes from how science is communicated. It is impossible to utilize its strengths and impossible to fix its flaws and impossible to integrate the best achievements so that all can benefit when science is not communicated effectively, broadly, and passionately.

And when it is presented, those who understand it well - especially those - need to appreciate the importance of those who do not understand it well. Because to achieve its broadest utilization and integration and appreciation, to be truly vitalized by science's achievements and thus in turn support science, the support of those who do not currently understand it well is utterly necessary. So patience and appreciation is necessary, and education is necessary. And many scientists are not good at education, and think of it as beneath them to share their knowledge to audiences too far below their level of understanding. Which leads to ineffective contempt and snark, . . .

. . . which makes those less-scientific audiences less receptive to the message and less likely to support the cause(s). And thus any strengths and flaws are blended and less improves. And this in turn leads to the cycle which only serves to weaken science itself. Arrogance that keeps proponents of science from explaining their science, and arrogance about opponents' ignorance, and thus ignorance of the strengths and flaws of science by the opponents, which only leads to arrogance by the opponents that they are being ignored.

Science and science communication have to go hand-in-hand. Unless you want to keep going around the cycle.

A tip of the cap to Chris Cogswell, who co-wrote the Assumptions science comic, who had one of the best PhD defenses I've ever seen. Not because the content was brilliant, even though it was excellent, but because he insisted on presenting it in a means that ensured everyone could understand it, including his parents and any non-scientist guests in attendance.

To all those marching in the March For Science tomorrow, please consider that there are strengths and flaws to science, and nothing will get better without communication. Avoid the arrogance if you can.