The Unpersuadables

Adventures with the Enemies of Science

Will Storr, Overlook Press, 2014

501 STO Beaverton Library

Will Storr is not a scientist, nor does he understand much of it, apparently. The biblical literalists and creationists he describes in this book will benefit from sympathy and explanation, not partition into "the other". I only read a couple of chapters, and skimmed some of the rest, perhaps I missed something important. But my impression is that books like this will create more "enemies" of science, not evaporate barriers to public scientific literacy.

Yes, there is a lot of nonsense out there. And a lot of scientists hiding behind walls of tax money, biting the hands that earn it. Many workers lost their jobs to automation; technologists train computers, not their fellow citizens. Then the scientists and technologists wonder why their fellow citizens don't understand science, and won't pay for more ivory tower lab science, and vote against their funding.

Perhaps there are way too many scientists crammed into labs and research centers, and not enough scientists going door to door and answering questions personally for the "ordinary" public. We need way more scientists "on the streets" where people can talk to them ... scientists trained to talk productively with people who aren't scientists.

The above paragraph is balderdash, hyperbole from a professional storyteller (aka journalist) with no scientific papers or discoveries. Six years later, he published "The science of storytelling: Why stories make us human and how to tell them better." I haven't read it, but I hope he writes about a process he understands well enough to perform both accurately and remuneratively.

A good scientific paper tells a story of discovery, a story about reality itself, a family of observations past and present that helps us find more stories in nature.

Story is not the problem, misanthropy is.

Unpersuadables (last edited 2023-01-21 06:29:59 by KeithLofstrom)