Would Americans be more science-literate if scientists made a greater effort to communicate information to the general public?
Maybe, if people actually read them. There are some really good science journalists whose work is easily available to the public, but most of the public seem more inclined to read sensationalized, inaccurate & incomplete mass media versions of
You can lead a horse to water ...
I wish I could say yes, but having spent years making a great effort to make vision science interesting, I have come to the conclusion that most people just aren't interested. Maybe if it was presented by puppies and kittens?
kittens are a powerful learning tool...
They get my attention. I think I told you about Cat Spanish.
My sister picked up my iPod and played that for an hour.
We need more people who run science TV shows, like Sagan did, or scientists like Hawking who write popular books, or Kaku who explains physics on YouTube.
I think Neil deGrasse Tyson is trying to do that. I'm not sure how big the audience was for Cosmos though. That's really what determines it.
I read a great article recently about how a lot of scientists are apprehensive about "reaching out" the last decade or so because a) the media more often than not tries to give findings a slant to up viewing #s & b) being called pretentious gets old.
I'll see if I can find the article again. There was a great discussion in the comments. Someone also brought up that discussing findings or your field is also met with accusations of agenda pushing, which turns scientists off from ever trying to...
...talk to the public about research/the field. A lot of people chimed in about how they don't feel comfortable even trying anymore because it's insulting to be told expertise = agenda.
Let me know if you find it. I think about this frequently.
I can't seem to find the post now, but it was in response to this article: m.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/how-do-we-engage-young-people-in-science-20141017-1170vt.html
There was a discussion about advertising discrepancies, too. People just don't want to advertise on science articles because they don't think there's any money in it because of how science scared a lot of people have gotten. That leads to...
...less reporting and worse reporting, the cycle continues.
This happened last weekend: www.sciencewriters2014.org
If you dig into some of the presenters or maybe even just lurk their Twitter feeds, you might find some interesting things on this topic.
I was just reading somewhere about how Reddit AMAs were looking like a huge boon to the science community until celebrities started doing them and drowning out the little(r) guys. We need Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Wheaties boxes, I tell ya!
I think the media misrepresents science, and that's the problem. The news organizations should do a better job at accurately reporting scientific findings.
The media should do a better job at reporting actual facts to begin with, ha.
I think so, but I'd settle for simply making their finding not just public, but available to the public.