Less than thirty months before the end of the millennium, science — the main force behind the progress, prosperity and peace of the world — is perceived by a considerable fraction (the majority) of the population as a wasteful, corrupt and useless part of the state establishment. The reason for that is a distorted, highly negative, view of science, developed over the last 20 years or so, which follows from liberal use of the postmodernism paradigms in media. Indeed, frequently the Esalen Institute performance is presented on the same footing as the CERN activity, and south islands spiritual healers are shown as a valid alternative to modern medicine.

But are the media to be blamed exclusively for what has happened? Is the science community really an innocent snow-white in the hands of ugly villains, or perhaps it really has created a gollem which went rampart and the people had no alternative but to ask gurus of various denomination for help? Or is it true, that scientists, involved in the rat race for funds for research, have failed to explain what they are doing to those who are the real consumers of science, that is taxpayers?

In this presentation I would like to address some of these points using my own experience as active participant of various activities promoting ”science for taxpayers”, ranging from conventional journals articles, radio, and TV programs, to open air science fairs. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the public sponsored media, in this end of century struggle with the ”dark side of the force”.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Why should I pay for science?
The media stimulated taxpayer view

Lukasz Turski   Polish Academy of Science

Less than thirty months before the end of the millennium, science — the main force behind the progress, prosperity and peace of the world — is perceived by a considerable fraction (the majority) of the population as a wasteful, corrupt and useless part of the state establishment. The reason for that is a distorted, highly negative, view of science, developed over the last 20 years or so, which follows from liberal use of the postmodernism paradigms in media. Indeed, frequently the Esalen Institute performance is presented on the same footing as the CERN activity, and south islands spiritual healers are shown as a valid alternative to modern medicine.

But are the media to be blamed exclusively for what has happened? Is the science community really an innocent snow-white in the hands of ugly villains, or perhaps it really has created a gollem which went rampart and the people had no alternative but to ask gurus of various denomination for help? Or is it true, that scientists, involved in the rat race for funds for research, have failed to explain what they are doing to those who are the real consumers of science, that is taxpayers?

In this presentation I would like to address some of these points using my own experience as active participant of various activities promoting ”science for taxpayers”, ranging from conventional journals articles, radio, and TV programs, to open air science fairs. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the public sponsored media, in this end of century struggle with the ”dark side of the force”.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP