SciBlings at AAAS10

Four Sciblings (and three ex-Sciblings - Sheril Kirshenbaum, Chris Mooney and Carl Zimmer - but once a Scibling always a Scibling rule applies, so we hung together some...) went to the AAAS meeting last week in San Diego. There is a lot of coverage in the MSM (and a little bit on blogs - it's hard to blog when you are not given tools, access and respect and thus AAAS will get much less, and much less positive coverage than they would have otherwise) - but here I just want to link to what my SciBlings have posted so far (I will post some more myself later - just watch the AAAS10 category here):

Jennifer Jacquet: Do Scientists Want to Bridge Science and Society?

So much of what the scientists do is less relevant than it could be. This was the motivation behind the theme at the 2010 AAAS annual meeting, Bridging Science and Society....

Josh Rosenau: Highlights from TIMSS 2007 at AAAS:

A message in lots of the science communication and science policy sessions has been that scientists and senior science educators need to be better communicators. Learning what works and what doesn't should be of interest to all of them, so I have to agree it's a shame to see the room so empty.

Josh Rosenau: Called out:

The organizer of this education session caught me blogging her remarks, but I didn't get sent to sit in the corner.

Josh Rosenau: Lubchenco:

Who has two thumbs and met NOAA administrator, jetsetting ecologist, and hero to policy-loving scientists Jane Lubchenco?

Oh, btw, I got to briefly talk to Jane Lubchenco as well.

Josh Rosenau: AAAS Day 3: Social media in science:

The existence of quacks on blogs doesn't invalidate the enterprise of good bloggers, any more than Fox News invalidates TV journalism or the Washington Times invalidates the New York Times. In any media, you choose your sources based on their expertise and their track record.

Matt Nisbet: Remarks at AAAS Conference on Climate Change Literacy:

There are plans to make available online the various presentation materials, so I will post again when those are ready. In the meantime, I have pasted below the text from remarks I gave as part of a panel on framing.

It is unfortunate that Matt's session was a part of a pre-conference of which I was not aware until a couple of days before the conference started when I already had the tickets and hotel set. Thus I could not go early to attend his session. It is also unfortunate that he did not stay for the proper AAAS meeting - he left town before I arrived - so he could come to my session. Thus, there could have been two opportunities for Matt and myself to discuss these issues in public, in front of the media, scientists, policy-makers and bloggers. From a couple of e-mails we exchanged, I think that Matt also felt it unfortunate we could not cross swords in public there.

Matt is pretty despised around these quarters (i.e., science blogs in general). The thing is, most of his premises are correct. He just draws wrong conclusions from the premises and thus wrong prescriptions from conclusions (and many, many bloggers have explained, a long time ago and in excruciating detail, where he is right and where he is wrong).

But people who see how obviously wrong his conclusions and prescriptions are, tend to also think that the premises are wrong - and that is just as dangerous as Matt is dangerous when the academic community takes his conclusions and prescriptions seriously. When the 18th century mindset hears mid-20th century ideas, they seem excitingly new - how are they to know that mid-20th century ideas are misguided and already outdated?

I wish we could have used this very visible venue to discuss these issues. Very civilly and politely of course (which has nothing to do with anonymity, as you all know). But, sometimes discourse that seems very civil on the surface, can be devastating. I wish I could have had a chance to employ it. That would have been good for the cause of science communication and the scientific community at large,


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Dear BZ,

I really enjoyed your talk at AAAS -- I repeated one quote of yours to several colleagues later in the meeting: when you noted that scientists had at first resisted including email in their daily workflow, and that blogging is now at that same "initial resistance" point, but will eventually become a standard part of our work day. I also really liked the Jennifer Jaquet post that you highlighted -- although I missed her session as it was the same time as mine ("Science in the Theatre"), which I also blogged about here on scienceblogs in The World's Fair: "Science in the Theatre at AAAS"

By Vince LiCata (not verified) on 28 Feb 2010 #permalink