we're in trouble! - (2 points)

Mr Neville Steven Percy spbcnsp at ucl.ac.uk
Wed Jun 29 12:38:05 EST 1994


Przemko writes:
>Dan Zabetakis writes:
>><ctfaulkn at utkvx.utk.edu> wrote:
>>>In Article <9406281315.ZM11768 at model.phr.utexas.edu>

>a lot cut out

>Well, the other day I have learned from CNN that about 70% of people in the
>Bible Belt believe in witchcraft as opposed to ONLY 50% (the capitals are mine)
>in the North. The way the poll was presented was that 50% was OK and 70% not.
>Can anyone tell me the difference? 50%!
                                    ^^^^ You sound alarmed by this.
                                         Whilst all the Christian scientists
                                         recieve attention, I'd just like to
                                         stick my neck out as a scientist who 
                                         believes in witchcraft AS WELL.
                                         Let's not be closed-minded, now!

>Anyway, I think that that discussion took place before. Look at Hollywood
>productions. Remember a movie with a "good" scientist? (or good and beneficial
>science?). I don't. I think that what we have is combination of factors, people
>do not associate calculators with progress of science altough without that 
>science we would be using an abacus.

This is a damn good point -- no one thinks of science as current.  If you ask
the guy in the street about 'Scientists' he thinks about science fiction, not
the things that we are doing in the here and now.  Strange, that.
I think that means we have to popularize science all the more, if the media as
they stand are representing us far more as science fiction pseudoscientists 
and postmodern Frankensteins, we have to come forward more.  It may hurt, but 
we have to come forward and suggest that we're doing ordinary things, instead
of only getting in the media when some major breakthrough (or minor disaster) 
occurs.

> Remember a movie with a "good" scientist? (or good and beneficial

*  Actually, there are plenty.
*  'Doc'    in    Back to the Future
*  Frankenstein himself was originally a sympathetic character, even if a little
overambitious, but this demonstrates the archetype of an evil scientist being
so much more appealing that the Mary Shelley story has been corrupted into a
million and one cartoons with evil inventor versions of Frankenstein in them.
*  Quatermass was a good scientist, even in the 50s era of horrific SF.
*  Any of the dreaded trekkies reading this will have to admit that Star Trek
portrays scientists rather benevolently.
*  The Andromeda Strain (before Crichton saw the greater potential in making
the scientists fools in Jurassic Park).

Ok, anyway. 
My chief point is that science is taken for granted until something major 
occurs, and then it's always hyped up, and milked for all the political or 
commercial potential it might have.  We are never shown in a normal light.

Scientists are people, too!  (:>   Sign up now for your t-shirts!

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(Mad Cow Disease)       Neville Percy ;  spbcnsp at ucl.ac.uk          _.=~-.--=~  
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