Where do science and culture meet? The rise in popularity of science fiction has shaped popular culture as of late, but remains a source of controversy in society as a whole. This divide traces back to the days when religion, not necessarily evidence, ruled the day. Still, after all this time, science is treated as an evil by some as opposed to a basis of rational thought. Why? With how far we have come since the days of Galileo and DaVinci, why is science still treated with disdain or indifference by some?
Gregory Benford, Professor of Physics at UC Irvine has an interesting perspective. “The general ignorance about science in the culture arises deeply from inadequate education K through 12 and has an enormous impact on national politics upon rational discussion of the standard style of the media now. Either the fictionalized media or the so-called news media is essentially paranoid. You can only report a scientific story with a high profile by making it induce paranoia in at least some fraction of the viewership. So, the first question that the reporters learn to ask of anything new is who does it threaten. Not who does it help.”
So can science and its supporting evidence ever truly be something a society can rally around? Or will there always be a subset of those who use it as a divisive technique? Hear the discussion between Benford and his colleague, UC Irvine Professor of Biology, Michael Rose, in the latest episode of the Free To Choose Media Podcast, Science and Culture.