30 July 2009

The biggest debate about science?

Today’s post, I am a lazy blogger and mostly compile other people’s responses to something Colin Stuart asked on Twitter:

What do you, good folk of Twitter, believe to be the most pressing debate about modern science?

I thought that was a great question, so wrote:

The most important debate about science is how to convert scientific information into public action.

And I really wanted to see what other people had to say. The wording of “about” science is important here; it’s not asking for the most important debates in science. A few broad themes came up...

Public trust and public policy

I see debates re cloning, GM, MMR, stem cell etc. all as symptoms of a single 21stC malaise: who to trust, who to believe? - ruthseeley

the woeful lack of scientific literacy in the media. - cromercrox

Perceived lack of acknowledgement of importance of science/evidence in govt., policy-making etc. (another pov) - EvidenceMatters

To teach the public to be comfortable with uncertainty. - silentypewriter

How to accurately communicate to the public what we know we know and what we don't know we don't know. - JATetro

I think most pressing science issue is lay mistrust of science. Without some consensus, much else is moot. - nparmalee


I think the most "pressing" debates all stem from what to do energy/environment/health wise with this many people on planet - ktg72

most pressing debate: at what point does human population growth override the need for medical progress? - museumoftechno

Climate change

How to stop climate change and avoid being the cause of a mass extinction event? - imascientist

Global warming: a habitable planet would be useful - loopysue_p

Surely how to tackle global warming - what could be more pressing? - twitandtweeter

As others have said, nothing really compares to global warming, i.e. the continuing existence of the human race! - jjaron

most pressing debate? Actually, I think climate change. Major public sketicism + large possible effects, for the lose. - Luna_the_cat

Science as profession

In that case, the most pressing debate is whether and how to fix the broken scientific publishing, funding & career system. - kejames

Depends on which pov. Researcher - poor funding, career prospects in UK. Public - 'balance' of reporting and science apps. - EvidenceMatters

peer review reform - blandiloquent


the future of space exploration. i.e., to decide that the time has come to get ourselves a space elevator. - doroncalo

Robot overlords

the rise of the machines. nano tech and it's viral future. interests and scares me most. - ColtSeaversPS

'in' modern science = e.g. the singularity, abiogenesis; - kejames


The development of Hover-boards. Only 6 years away!!! - FantasticMrOx

1 comment:

James Salsman said...

Let's make sure that no science money is spent in a way that could further the problem instead of solve it. We should strive to limit jargon, too.