The most recent post from Larry Oliver’s blog Echoes from a Pale Blue Dot is from 2017. (That site seems, sadly, to currently have tumbleweeds rolling through it, though Larry is still active on Twitter at @tweetingdonal.) That post is a reblog of this insightful article by Jacob A Tennessen (@JacobPhD) from the year before. Though it’s a half-decade old, it’s a great example of how just because something’s old doesn’t mean it’s not still got legs. Well worth a read.
Do marsupials even exist?
The word of the year for 2016 is officially “post-truth.” It seems a lot of folks just don’t care very much for facts. Instead, they form beliefs based on subjective feelings about what kind of experts are trustworthy and what kinds of stories fit their existing worldview. Fake news is rampant. It thrives under a secular version of Poe’s law: when politics has been fractured into extremes, any tale about the opposition sounds plausible. We are at an impasse. If showing people the data is not good enough, what is?
For science educators, this is nothing new. The most dispiriting and challenging aspect of science outreach isn’t ignorance, it’s willful denial. Folks who have heard about climate change, evolution, the effectiveness of vaccines, or the safety of GMOs, but simply refuse to believe it. It’s frustrating. How do objective scientists reach out to…
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