Recently, I posed the suggestion that “the truth is hard to sell.” Somehow I baited my line just right…
Here is what happened:
Antagonist: Actually, impossible. Our brains seek cheap, easy simplistic “answers” that mainly sooth our uncomfortable emotions of the moment. Not really productive but a legacy of other animal nervous systems and per-history.
ME: Wonderful insight and so truthful. Darn legacies! The more we try to increase our awareness, though, the more science brings light and meaning to those legacies.
Antagonist: We would propose that, in fact, popular science is an oxymoron (in the US) and actually generates more pushback than understanding. The stats on acceptance of evolution, for example, haven’t really changed in 30+ years. We are still back at the Scopes Trial level of national ideology.
Optimism needs to be backed up with data.
Me: Sounds like a marketing challenge, are you up for the challenge of selling science to Americans? I guess it’s safe to say we liked to be lied to 😉
Antagonist: Actually, we have tried and researched and the clear answer back is – don’t waste time or resources. Again, it mainly just creates attacks.
Instead we now concentrate on decision makers and policy folks. They are who need to be reached and supported.
The American public hates science and always will because it always directly challenges pop ideologies and power status quo of the moment.
We find it naive to believe or expect otherwise. Real knowledge always challenges current power holders — and they are power holders because they always attack any challenges, eg Fox News and science, etc.
Me: I see…you’re saying the American public cannot benefit from learning science because they are hopelessly beyond the point of no return, in terms of negative cultural and social development. Sounds like “passing the buck” to me. When I see a challenge, I strive to make goals and achievements and definitely not worry about what others think about me or my view points. Plus focusing on “policy makers” is handing more control to those “power holders” you so fear. That is a fact and those are what truly guide my deepest opinions; why not give that experience to Americans despite what previous choices they may have made or haven’t made?
Antagonist: Idealism is a default and especially American. Yep, it’s hopeless — based on the data and evidence.
In fact, the best policy is usually made via a fully diverse and evidence-based decision making — like in medicine. Doctors and specialists are power holders, so are airline pilots, engineers, lawyers, etc.
If people don’t care about having any impact then, indeed, doing anything is just about as meaningful as anything else.
Me: I can’t argue with your last statement, but helping people out of that” don’t care mentality” is also a responsibility of power holders, is it not? Your first statement or course I will argue with until the day I die. Haven’t you ever seen a face light up after an “Ah Ha” moment? That is the only true reason why science is even worth selling at all. If idealism is especially American then why can’t they be scientific ideals? You have self contradicted yourself, you know. I think the “evidence” refers to old economic renditions based on a productions based society and not on the future (and quite predictable) society of empathy based and information sharing economics that is fast approaching (evidence being WIKI’s, Skype and Other Decentralized non-monetary Peer to Peer based organizations).
Antagonist: Based on research we’ve seen, social media and web interactions seems to just reinforce human nature and not advance it much.
Of course, people making money (trying) from the web and somed are claiming (without any evidence or data) all sorts of warm fuzzy results. These appear to be simple sales lies.
It’s easy to indulge “idealism” when you are the richest country in the world and the history of the word. Wealth has always been used for silly self congratulatory ideology. America is a very young country and acts often like a young rich child who is spoiled. That’s human nature.
Statements are valued based on how well they predict the future. The rest are platitudes, wishful preaching and ideology.
So, I refuse to argue with one who won’t admit his own mistakes and fallacies with his own arguments.
What do you think, should I write more for our science ezine or just let Big Brother handle all the tough information that science has to offer?
- Conservatives Attack Scientific Findings About Why They Hate Science (Helping to Confirm the Science) (alternet.org)
- On Scientism (orthosphere.org)
- What We Know and What We Need to Learn About the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders (jeanettebartha.wordpress.com)
- Most Amazing Science Writers Discussion Ever (Cont.) (freelancesciencewriting.com)