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Condescension news: Why the public does not “trust” “science”

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From Richard P. Grant at Guardian:

How many science communicators do you know who will take the time to listen to their audience? Who are willing to step outside their cosy little bubble and make an effort to reach people where they are, where they are confused and hurting; where they need?

Atul Gawande says scientists should assert “the true facts of good science” and expose the “bad science tactics that are being used to mislead people”. But that’s only part of the story, and is closing the barn door too late.

Because the charlatans have already recognised the need, and have built the communities that people crave. More.

How convenient that the world is divided neatly between “charlatans” and “scientists,” unlike the usual messy situation most people encounter in most situations.

Last time I heard, the Guardian was shedding jobs like trees shed leaves in the fall.

I don’t think anything can save the legacy media business formula but if they would just cut out the snark and condescension – and actually considered the complexity of many issues (which many of us know about by experience) – they might find more time to regroup. The risk is, they would learn something, and maybe they don’t want that.

See also: Peer review unscientific: Tough words from the editor of Nature

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4 Replies to “Condescension news: Why the public does not “trust” “science”

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    scientists should assert “the true facts of good science” and expose the “bad science tactics that are being used to mislead people”.

    Um, is Atul Gawande for against Global Warming as a “fact of good science”?

    I’m all for professional scientists coming out strongly to denounce lies by their peers, who lie to gain money and power as the primary goals of their careers.

    But in the past, professional scientists (i.e., people who make their living convincing taxpayers to give them money to pursue what they choose to call “science”) have been exposed as the leading liars of our age and are much more concerned about circulating impenetrable statements about REALLY obscure bits of pseudo-math than curing cancer or solving world hunger.

  2. 2
    BrianFraser says:

    The public trusts neither the media nor science. And they have good reasons for their lack of trust. A good example is the controversy over vaccines and autism.

    What we read in the news media is that “vaccines do not cause autism”. But what we read in peer reviewed science journals is that vaccinations increase the incidence of autism reports by parents. Vaccines apparently do not CAUSE autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder) but are associated with an autoimmune problem triggered by certain vaccines like MMR. The media wants to play games of “exact words”. The public just wants to have healthy kids.

    Two examples:
    “Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS autoimmunity in children with autism”, J Biomed Sci. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-64. -snip- “Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.” Copyright 2002 National Science Council, ROC and S. Karger AG, Basel ”

    “Serological association of measles virus and human herpes virus-6 with brain auto-antibodies in autism”, Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998 Oct;89(1):105-8. -snip- “This study is the first to report an association between virus serology and brain autoantibody in autism; it supports the hypothesis that a virus-induced autoimmune response may play a causal role in autism.”

    Highlighted text from the abstracts I consulted along with their links to the peer reviewed journals can be found at:
    http://scripturalphysics.org/e.....neConcerns

    Glance through a dozen entries and then compare the highlighted information with the clip of the CDC’s testimony before Congress.

    I was shocked and deeply disillusioned when I first came to the realization that the CDC had covered up the relation(s) between vaccines and autism. Formerly, I believed that they all engaged in a certain amount of spin-doctoring–mostly to fool themselves and save face. But it was hard to believe that they would just blatantly lie, especially on matters that can be easily checked and verified. They really did not give a darn, wasn’t even embarrassed. It was an example of shameless deception, without care or concern for the people affected. Some of these people need to go to prison –seriously!!

    And where are the media watchdogs? Where are the investigative journalists? The lack of attention to this scandal is probably due to editors who kill the story before it affects their advertising revenue, their access to insider information, their being invited to other newsworthy stories, etc. So much for a “free” press.

    Ultimately, this will all lead to mistrust of the media, mistrust of the medical community, and mistrust of the government. Lawlessness will increase as more and more stupid, Draconian laws are passed (e.g., California)and the public can do nothing about it at the ballot box. They will take “justice” into their own hands, especially where it concerns their own kids. The gun and the bomb will rule, as will “irrational autonomous beliefs”.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    The satanic in the higher reaches of governance in the West is really coming to the fore now. It makes the moral turpitude across the whole political spectrum of the early and mid- 20th century seem almost innocent, doesn’t it.

  4. 4

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