Orac is struggling to understand the problem with “framing,” and thinks he has the answer:
I’ve concluded that a lot of issues underlying this kerfuffle may be the difference between the “pure” scientists and science teachers (like PZ and Larry Moran, for example), who are not dependent upon selling their science for the continued livelihood of their careers, and scientists like me, who are, not to mention nonscientist journalists and communications faculty (like Mooney and Nisbet), for whom communication is their career.
That’s a thought, but I think the answer is much simpler: PZ and Larry Moran are not primarily interested in promoting science.
“That’s crazy,” you say. But here it is from the horse’s mouth, Larry Moran in Chris Mooney’s comments:
I think religion is the problem and I’ll continue to make the case against religion and superstition. One of the many ways where you and Nisbet go wrong is to assume that people like PZ, Dawkins, and me are primarily fighting for evolution. That’s why you argue that in the fight to save evolution it’s “wrong” (e.g., not part of your frame) to attack religion.
When are you going to realize that our primary goal in many cases is to combat the worst faults of religion? Asking us to stop criticizing religion is like asking us to give up fighting for something we really care about. That’s not “framing,” it’s surrender.
That’s the beginning and end of the problem. The entire problem with “framing” is that Nisbet and Mooney are looking for the best way to promote science, while PZ and Larry are looking for the best way to smash religion. The goals are not the same, and the appropriate methods are not the same– in particular, Nisbet and Mooney argue that the best way to promote science would be to show a little tact when dealing with religious people, and that runs directly counter to the real goals of PZ and Larry.
As a very smart woman once said, “Just because you’re on their side doesn’t mean they’re on your side.” There’s a non-trivial amount of overlap between their objectives, but when it comes down to it, Chris Mooney and Larry Moran have very different goals in what they’re trying to communicate, which is why “framing” seems like a good idea to Chris, and is anathema to Larry.
Really, that’s all there is to the issue. Not coincidentally, that realization pretty much marks the end of any interest I have in what Larry Moran thinks about “framing”– his goals are not my goals, therefore, I don’t particularly need to listen to his thoughts about strategy.