Change and decay in all around I see
There’s an op-ed piece in the New York Times (by a physicist, Adam Frank) about how no-one pays attention to science any more, and it’s all political, with creationism and climate change denial as the main examples.
Chad Orzel (also a physicist) is unconvinced
[T]he question is whether we’ve fallen off from some golden age when everybody listened raptly to the best science had to offer…. After all, as depressing as it may be for forty-odd percent of the population to want to align themselves with a creationist position (whether from honest belief or out of tribal identification), that’s probably an improvement from the days of the actual Scopes trial. Which, it should be noted, Scopes lost, unlike the several more recent cases where teaching of creationism has been soundly rejected by the courts.
He points to other questions whether there hasn’t been as much political propaganda and where basic scientific knowledge is improving.
Again, there’s plenty that’s bad, I’m not going to deny it. But just because we’re not winning as fast as we’d like doesn’t mean that we’re in decline. Though frustration might make it seem that way at times.
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »