Science education

Much of the science blogging world (the Seed magazine crowd at least) is alight over an article in Science on how scientists might better engage with policy makers, press and public. The great irony here, of course, is that this article has ended up in a closed access forum that requires subscription to read. That in itself says a lot about one big problem in science: scientists are encouraged to aim for so-called prestige over wider dissemination.

The gist of the article seems to be that as most people are ill-equipped to understand technical arguments, scientists need to find other ways to argue their case in non-science forums. Sounds reasonable enough. I suspect the point of the article was to ignite a debate and it certainly has. Predictably, a lot of science bloggers suggest that the task of communicating science would be easier in a world that (a) cared about science and (b) was populated by people with a basic science education. I think it’s unfortunate that the article focuses on the problem of debating with those sectors of society that don’t want to listen to reason in the first place. All I really got from the article was that the American Right contains a disproportionately-high number of stupid people – which I knew already.

More interesting to me: If We Taught English the Way We Teach Mathematics, over at Kuro5hin. I’ve rediscovered this site after a long absence and there’s a lot of worthwhile reading.