I just came across what i would consider one of the most appalling (and bordering on incoherent) misrepresentations of science by Eliane Glaser published in the Guardian on March 1st.
Ms Glaser’s delivers a series of inconsistent and absurd assertions about science which include:
“It’s ironic that the public engagement with the science crowd is so pro-wonder, because they’re so anti-religion.”
Apart from the flawed generalisation that all of the “science crowd” are anti-religion, she appears to make the assumption that “wonder” is somehow the exclusive province of religion! She really needs to get out and actually talk to a scientist or two.
“The crucial question, though, is who is doing the worshipping. Cox and co make much of their own humility in the face of natural marvels. They express wonder and we are meant to follow suit. But it’s too easy for the meekness we feel in the face of extraordinary facts to blur into deference towards popular scientists themselves, with their public profile and their privileged access to those facts. Like priests, they occupy an elevated position in relation to the phenomena they admire.”
Okay, I’m not sure I follow this but I think she seems to be saying the Professor Brian Cox and other science communicators are so humble about the wonder of the universe that we, the stupid public, will worship them? Very hard to follow this line of thought.
“While putting on a good show of being amazed, they function as powerful gatekeepers to a mystical beyond. Cox may not look like a boffin, but it’s telling that he’s always called professor.”
So by taking the time to explain science, they are acting as gatekeepers? And it’s wrong to acknowledge his expertise by calling him professor?
The article seems to me to be a muddled (and jealous?) attack on science communication, and possibly a veiled attack on atheism (its a bit too contorted to be sure). Read it yourself and make your own decision.
(Warning – You might just need an aspirin or two after trying to untangle yourself after the mental gymnastics contained within the article.)