Posted by: egutoday | May 5, 2010

Science under Fire 4

Thursday’s column in EGU Today:

We all carry an innate desire to understand, feeding our search for the answers that seem to elude us. Consequently, we look to the scientific community to fill the gaps in our knowledge. Yet, by the same token, we have a distinct tendency to swallow the kind of quick fix so frequently pushed upon us by those, for example in the media, who stroke the egos of Big Business and others with vested interests in pacifying the ignorant masses.

Why is it so much simpler to accept the authority disseminated by the popular press with its strategy of dumbing down, TV programmes with answers to everything and nothing, and the countless know-it-all websites that serve as breeding grounds for charlatans?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that as much as we wish to place our trust in bona fide scientists, we often feel belittled and beset by their methods and mannerisms. Too often the scientific community comes across as an alien species that is intent on stupefying us with its trusted brand of scientese.

Surely it’s high time for the learned community to start fighting fire with fire in order to create a level playing field. When all is said and done, the only thing that truly matters is getting the right message across. For some, this will mean resorting to tactics that seem to contradict everything they stand for.

Andrew Gilman, Assistant Press Officer, EGU



  1. Excellent piece! Finally someone who understands the real issue at hand.
    Where do we go from here now?

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