Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading Science

I was fascinated by this post on the NPR site.  Astronomer Adam Frank describes the process of science in his field (protostars and planets) and what is meant by a "consensus understanding", an understanding widely shared in the expert community.
Then he reflects on his own experience getting acquainted with other scientific fields, and on how hard it is for a similar expert consensus in the field of climate science to gain public traction.

His conclusion: " Perhaps what is needed is an army of journalists who can become meta-scientists, allowing them to straddle the literature (this is what the best science-journalists already have to do). Perhaps that is what is necessary now. But there must be other ideas. What are yours?

Understanding what science understands means going beyond opinions to embrace the collective understanding of the community. And ultimately, on issues that shape our lives, we are all the community."

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