The Science Critic…

Science writer Philip Ball, has an interesting piece in the Guardian, in which he wants to promote a different kind of conversation about science.

All in all it is an interesting position to take. I have often said that we need to talk about science sometimes the way people talk about art, movies and literature. The problem I have with his piece are the certain simplicities he makes about science:

“But the legacy is that scientists have a kneejerk aversion to any claim that science is shaped by culture.”

“But most science isn’t about discovering foundational principles such as these. Most isn’t about discovery at all. It’s about making stuff – drugs, materials, devices – and the interesting questions encountered along the way.”

The inherent danger, in my mind, (if we take this road of thinking to its farthest logical conclusion), is that we endanger not taking science for what it is. At its basis, it represents our present best understanding of the way our world works.

A different kind of conversation about science is already happening. The science we digest in the form of blogs and newspaper articles is really distinguishable from the science that goes on at the bench and in conferences and in lab meetings.

Now that Philip Ball has set the scene it will be interesting to see where he goes with it.

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What had I twaught…


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