From Robert Tracinski at the Federalist:
I am a Carl Sagan fan from way back. His 1980 TV miniseries “Cosmos” hit me at just the right age and inflamed a lifelong love of science. But we’ve had nearly 40 years to assess the long-term effects and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that muddled public understanding of science. This weekend’s so-called “March for Science” is a perfect example of what went wrong.
Fact morphed into narrative:
If you don’t really need science so much as the narrative, then what you get is our own era’s official replacement for Sagan: Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the decades pass, Sagan’s imitators become less thoughtful and more propagandistic, less interested in conveying the actual scientific method and more concerned with just telling the public what to think. It’s also about making those who accept the approved “pro-science” political agenda feel they are superior to all of those ignorant, knuckle-dragging bigots who disagree with them. It equates science, not just with the politics of the Left, but with the Left’s attitude of smug condescension. That’s how you get Tyson’s fake-but-accurate narratives or the meme-swapping superficiality of the IFL Science crowd.
Popularizers like Sagan ended up achieving the opposite of what they set out to do. But every failed experiment is just an opportunity to learn something, and what we learned here is that science cannot be promoted by turning it into a political narrative—not without losing its distinctive virtues. More.
Good luck trying. In a bureaucratic age, correct failure is more desirable than incorrect success.
See also: The New York Times Thinks You Are Too Stupid to Understand “Margin of Error” (or at Least Hopes You Are)
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