[oclug] [canadian internet concerns] long post (you'vebeen warned)
sphex at sympatico.ca
Thu Mar 10 16:24:47 EST 2005
> On Wednesday 09 March 2005 14:01, Bill Strosberg wrote:
>>>>I'm not aware of many scientists who have been able to do both.
>>>That is a statement about your awareness, not about scientists.
> True I have not been a scientist for a while now, and a lot may have changed
> since I moved to the IT world.
> One of the ideas that came out of the Pugwash conference I attended years ago
> was that scientists must do a better job of explaining what they to to the
> general public.
I always wondered how they got suckered into saying anything remotely
I, too, first heard it reported using the word “explain”, although never
as a quotation of the scientists themselves. I wondered if they hadn't
really said something more like "a better job of getting their message
out to the general public".
Whatever was said, "explain" is the wrong word. "explain" immediately
blinders attention and blame to those formulating the message. While
"getting... out" reminds us, more honestly, to ask also whether other
actors, the public, the media and governments, are failing (or refusing)
to do their share of the work.
Certainly, the founders and early participants (at least those from my
part of the world) were used to the public, the media, and governments
too, asking their opinions, then listening to the answers. That is why
they founded the Pugwash Conference. They expected to be heard.
However, when they started saying things that governments et al wished
not to hear, they found themselves consigned to /dev/null, so to speak.
Unlike you, I have never been a card-carrying scientist. Nor have I
played one on TV. I have read Einstein, among many others. I have
worked with scientists at Canadian universities and at one of Canada's
fine research institutions. Certainly, there are bureaucrats and such
deadbeats everywhere. However, I have met few scientists who would not
explain clearly and at length, great length, what they were up to. And
I have watched far too many Suzuki shows to imagine that my experience
I do not believe one can do science without a talent for explanation.
> I haven't seen much of a change. If you compare the number
> of scientists in the country with number of them who make their work
> accessible to the lay public I think "not many" still applies.
You make it sound like the fault is entirely with the scientists. I
think it is more a case like here where periodically someone shouts in
exasperation, "Read The Fine Manual!"
In any case, whether ability or opportunity, this is very different from
your original slanderous accusation.
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