Sunday, May 23, 2010

Waves of Science

Probably the most memorable thing I got out of last week's readings was the idea of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd waves of science as put forthe by Collins and Evans.

I thought of an interesting correlation which I'm not sure carries weight, but in my "intro to PR" class, we discussed certain theories of persuasion which may have worked the same way on the public as the first and second waves of science did. The first correlation, being between how scientists in the 60's were deemed to be somewhat of an "end all, be all" when it came to credibility of arguement. In any commercial message aired back then, it was always possible to make the arguement that "since the scientist says it's true, it must be true." --this pairs well with the Silver Bullet Theory of persuasion--or appeals to authority--"since authority X says it's true, it must be" --- but nowadays, we're a bit more savvy--"2nd wavy"-- and we take more stock in what others say about a subject or controversy. We understand that we can't necessarily take what others deem to be truth at face value--we have a new need for critical inquiry--which is good. We now take advertising with a grain of salt.

But since we construct knowledge socially, we require the validation of other's in order to establish our values and truths. --This is where I was able to make a connection of 2nd wave science thinking to N-Type theory, and other persuasion theories where Opinion Leaders have the most sway, and where Third Party Contributors and Commentators, whether they be credible or not, hold power of persuasion over their closely held publics.

I also found the connundrum of decision making timetables between scientists and politicians to be pretty intersting. (Because science moves slower than political descisions) -- How ARE they to make good decisions before the "scientific dust has settled". --But how this issue is solved, to me, is still a bit of a mystery. One which may be revealed upon a second or third reading of the material.

What I also liked about this article was where the authors compared artistic expertise, with scientific expertise with regard to being a critical consumer of either.
I tend to agree that those who are better versed in the creation of either, would be the best to critique--however, one place of departure (or not) is that art appreciation is often subjective--where science tries hard to maintain as much objectivity as possible. I think that's really where the only difference I can think of comes in to play.

I certainly don't think that lay-people, or those whom have not done extensive research into an issue should be considered experts, or to be put in a position to make decisions or legislate. That's just ass-backwards (but welcome to democracy).

I'm still trying to wrap my head around what the suggested fix is.

This i

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