Drew’s response

by Sarah Luna

I asked Drew to respond to my last post about policy. I knew what I was getting myself into, but the constant thought-sparring is just part of how we are. 🙂

As I tried to explain to him, my last post was an attempt to summarize two hours of thought-provoking content into a ~300 word blog post. That is no excuse for ill-communicated thoughts, he retorted.

You can check out Drew’s response here. Also take the time to read my friend Jamie’s comments. She brought up some excellent points.

I had wanted to write out a long response to each of the points raised, but I realize that I have other pressing assignments. :/ Such is life. However, I would like to address the following ideas:

“As scientists, we need to create a demand for evidence and play off of the policy-makers’ need for legitimacy to advance our own research.” Wow, Sarah, I didn’t know you could actually say something that manipulative and evil. – Drew

He’s my friend, so he can be that blunt. This referenced a separate debate we had had where I argued that “manipulative” is a value-neutral concept that unfairly comes attached with negative connotations. I view “manipulative” and “diplomatic” in similar ways. Diplomacy is simply reciprocal manipulation.

When it comes to sharing science with the population, I completely agree with Jamie’s comments.

Non-scientists don’t have the background to follow all the scientific details, but as scientists we have to ensure that, even with more general presentations of our work, the scientific integrity of the communication is preserved.

Finally addressing Mr. Fisher’s concern that scientists, governments, and the media are taking communication too far by serving up “crises du jour”, I can only say that I acknowledge the current faults in panic-induced (and inducing) reporting. However, having varied and multiple problems to address does not excuse ignorance or apathy. There will always be problems that resonate more deeply with some people than with others–that will drive some to action while falling on deaf ears elsewhere–so accurate and accessible reporting remains crucial to garnering and maintaining support.

I really enjoyed reading (and hearing) the feedback from everyone. Thank you for engaging me in this thought process!

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