I’m hitting the road this morning for a week-long, three stop trip that takes me first to Princeton, New Jersey; second to Georgia Tech; and third to D.C. The first two stops are for talks, the last is for R&R, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting up with Sheril to work on a new project we’ve come up with (of which much more soon).
In light of all the controversy of late, though, I must say I find it rather symbolic how the two major talks that I’m giving break down. First, with Nisbet, I’ll be speaking in the Princeton/Woodrow Wilson School Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) Seminar series. The talk title will be “Framing Science: Journalism and Science Debates.” Matt will be covering the Expelled stuff, and I don’t know exactly what he’s going to say. (Believe it or not, we’re not carbon copies of one another.)
Almost exactly one year after the original “Framing Science” article appeared in Science, this is our last currently scheduled talk together. Not to say there won’t be others, but as I reflect, I must say I find the one year arc of this “framing science” thing beyond fascinating. I am hoping to have more to say about that in a series of introspective posts that I plan to start next week, inspired by the whole Expelled brouhaha, which has really been a shock to my system. Normally when I’m on the road I don’t post much; but this coming week may be very different.
And then I’m on to Georgia Tech for a very different talk, about the lingering Republican War on Science. Details here. My talk title will be “The War on Science: What Have We Learned,” and it will cover anything from ScienceDebate2008 to the history of science and politics in the Bush administration. It will hardly go easy on the yahoos who have waged war on science over the past decade or more, whether anti-evolutionists, global warming deniers, or others.
Recently, there have been a string of unfounded posts and comments suggesting that somehow, these two lines of argument are incompatible or contradictory. Some have sought to paint me as a science defender who somehow flip-flopped on strategy. I have even recently had to read things like the following: “Are Mr. Mooney and Mr. Nisbet perhaps creationists themselves? I sometimes actually do wonder.”
Nothing could be more absurd (or less founded in evidence) than this suggestion. But I fear such comments may signal a real threat to serious, high minded dialogue in our corner of the blogosphere. After last week, I’ve grown afraid that the tyranny of very small differences is beginning to have very destructive consequences among us–and that the total breakdown of discussion on the topic of framing may be a coal mine canary.
We’re all on the same team; can’t we try to remember that?
Hopefully I’ll have a great deal more to say about this next week.