I Just Want to See the Raw Data!

I Just Want to See the Raw Data!

communications, public perceptions, Uncategorized
Originally posted (by me) on LinkedIn, December 9, 2014. "I just want to see the raw data! No interpretation, no massaging the numbers, just the raw data straight out of the instrument!" I sympathized with my non-scientist friend. She felt frustrated after reading a series of news items that began with a promising discovery, followed by a series of caveats, followed by more news stories reporting that no one knew for sure what was going on, and several more years of research would be required to clarify the findings from the initial report. She didn't know whom to believe. Scientists presented what looked like clear and convincing evidence, only to be shouted down by political activists and religious leaders claiming, "That's just your opinion!" and citing past scientific studies proven…
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Update: If you would just listen to the facts…

collaborations, communications, research enterprise
Janet Raloff, a friend of mine and a senior editor at Science News, has weighed in on the topic of how scientists can communicate effectively with the public on divisive issues such as climate change. In her May 29 online article, Climate skepticism not rooted in science illiteracy, she reports on an interview with Dan Kahan of Yale Law School, one of the authors of the Nature Climate Change article I cited in my previous posting. Raloff explores several approaches to interacting with a polarized public in her May 30 follow-up article, Depolarizing climate science. What comes through most strongly in these articles is that divisions occur when scientific findings have a direct relevance to things that affect us every day, or findings that could make significant changes in our…
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If you would just listen to the facts…

Uncategorized
Julia Duin's article in the May 29 Washington Post (Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite) bothered me a lot, for reasons that I am still exploring. Duin is a photojournalist who has on several occasions reported on a small Pentecostal Christian group in rural West Virginia. This group demonstrates their religious faith by handling poisonous snakes during their church services. They cite Mark 16:17-18: “And these signs will follow those who believe: ...they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them...”. Mack Wolford, the pastor of this church, died shortly after a rattlesnake bit him during a "homecoming" celebration over the Memorial Day weekend. His father, the previous pastor, died from a poisonous snakebite in 1983. This…
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