Friday, December 14, 2007

"Framing" Science

Thankfully, Matt Nisbet is too sick to present his ideas of "framing science" to a Princeton conference tomorrow.

I can't think of a worse idea.

Science needs no additional framing -- science is already framed, the most important and significant framing of the last 400 years. The idea that it somehow needs to be repackaged and formulated for the masses, so that they will finally believe in it, can only come from a couple of English majors (or the equivalents) who do not know what science is and who have never practiced it. It is a horrible idea.

Science is, by far, the dominant paradigm of the modern world. It has run wild against all competing ideas, especially and including religion, but including various social ideas of the last 200 years. Just because the current administration chooses not to follow it is absolutely no reason to abandon it and acquiesce to their game.

Science is not about spin-control. It cannot be reduced to modern-day politics, odious as they are.

Science is about truth. And you don't compromise truth, you don't repackage it, you don't spin it, you don't "frame" it. My God, that would be a disaster.

Instead you present it as straightforwardly as you can. You present your facts and your truth. That has worked absolute wonders over the last 400 years, propelling humankind into unimagined standards of living.

Why stop now, just because, for a few years, you encounter some resistance? So suddenly we're all supposed to learn lessons from political communicators and spin the truth?

"Framing" cannot predict the g-factor of the electron, or the perihelion shift of Mercury, or the warming factors of CO2 and methane. Only science can do that. And it has done that. And that alone has been responsible for the rapid advancement of science in this century, even if some people want to stick their head in the sand. Science has run roughshod over them in the past, and it is today.

The truth needs no spinning. And spin always looks foolish, some time later. Always.

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