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Posts Tagged "scientist/layperson relations"

Doing Good Science

Grappling with the angry-making history of human subjects research, because we need to.

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Teaching about the history of scientific research with human subjects bums me out. Indeed, I get fairly regular indications from students in my “Ethics in Science” course that reading about and discussing the Nazi medical experiments and the U.S. Public Health Service’s Tuskegee syphilis experiment leaves them feeling grumpy, too. Their grumpiness varies a bit [...]

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Doing Good Science

Communicating with the public, being out as a scientist.

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In the previous post, I noted that scientists are not always directly engaged in the project of communicating about their scientific findings (or about the methods they used to produce those findings) to the public. Part of this is a matter of incentives: most scientists don’t have communicating with the public as an explicit part [...]

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Doing Good Science

Are scientists who don’t engage with the public obliged to engage with the press?

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In posts of yore, we’ve had occasion to discuss the duties scientists may have to the non-scientists with whom they share a world. One of these is the duty to share the knowledge they’ve built with the public — especially if that knowledge is essential to the public’s ability to navigate pressing problems, or if [...]

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Doing Good Science

Successful science outreach means connecting with the people you’re trying to reach.

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Let’s say you think science is cool, or fun, or important to understand (or to do) in our modern world. Let’s say you want to get others who don’t (yet) see science as cool, or fun, or important, to appreciate how cool, how fun, how important it is. Doing that, even on a small scale, [...]

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Doing Good Science

Heroes, human “foibles”, and science outreach.

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“Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman There is a tendency sometimes to treat human beings as if they were resultant vectors arrived at by adding lots and lots of particular [...]

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Doing Good Science

Conduct of scientists (and science writers) can shape the public’s view of science.

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Scientists undertake a peculiar kind of project. In striving to build objective knowledge about the world, they are tacitly recognizing that our unreflective picture of the world is likely to be riddled with mistakes and distortions. On the other hand, they frequently come to regard themselves as better thinkers — as more reliably objective — [...]

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Doing Good Science

Some thoughts about human subjects research in the wake of Facebook’s massive experiment.

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You can read the study itself here, plus a very comprehensive discussion of reactions to the study here. 1. If you intend to publish your research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, you are expected to have conducted that research with the appropriate ethical oversight. Indeed, the submission process usually involves explicitly affirming that you have [...]

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Doing Good Science

Resistance to ethics instruction: considering the hypothesis that moral character is fixed.

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This week I’ve been blogging about the resistance to required ethics coursework one sometimes sees in STEM* disciplines. As one reason for this resistance is the hunch that you can’t teach a person to be ethical once they’re past a certain (pre-college) age, my previous post noted that there’s a sizable body of research that [...]

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Doing Good Science

Pub-Style Science: philosophy, hypotheses, and the scientific method.

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Last week I was honored to participate in a Pub-Style Science discussion about how (if at all) philosophy can (or should) inform scientific knowledge-building. Some technical glitches notwithstanding, it was a rollicking good conversation — so much so that I have put together a transcript for those who don’t want to review the archived video. [...]

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Doing Good Science

Brief thoughts on uncertainty.

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For context, these thoughts follow upon a very good session at ScienceOnline Together 2014 on “How to communicate uncertainty with the brevity that online communication requires.” Two of the participants in the session used Storify to collect tweets of the discussion (here and here). About a month later, this does less to answer the question [...]

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