July 29, 2009

A Skeptic's View

Scientists can talk forever. They can do it eloquently. They can express their passion and the wonder they find in discovery. They can be funny and clever and humble. But a listener who isn't prepared to engage with the material will, at best, walk away with a slightly better view of scientists and about two and a half facts with which they can impress those of their friends who are impressed by that sort of thing.

This won't prepare them to deal with the next scientist they come across, who might be a chemist working in an oil refinery who doesn't "believe in" anthropogenic global warming, or maybe an astronomer entranced by the majesty of "the heavens" who tells them that evolution can't result in new species. It won't give them the tools to determine whether that scientist is someone to be trusted on that subject. It will just make them feel better about taking someone else's word for things that make their life more comfortable. That doesn't help us. It doesn't help them.

More discussion of Unscientific America at Quiche Moraine.


Toaster Sunshine said...

Scientists can talk forever. They can do it eloquently.

This doesn't usually kick in for me until after a couple pints of dark beer.

Philip H. said...

I just need a couple of cups of coffee. Then, as my colleagues will easily attest, I'm off to the races.