Hau tu komyewnikate

Chris Mooney has explained about the need for science communication, or as he calls it, Sci Comm Training.

Science needs both to create new knowledge and also to disseminate it effectively so that that knowledge has an impact–so that it changes the world in a positive way. Why on earth would these two important ends be set in opposition to each other?

Yes of course it does, but disseminating knowledge is not necessarily the same thing as “framing,” nor does it necessarily need to know about “framing.” Framing is more closely related to public relations and political campaigning than it is to education, and that’s one major reason scientists and fans of science don’t all think Mooney is the ideal person to give “boot camps” in how to disseminate scientific knowledge.

I said something like that, and a bit more, in a comment that I tried to make at The Intersection, thinking perhaps after all this time the ban on me had expired, or rusted, or been lifted. I thought I would see, at any rate. But my comment has not been posted, so clearly the ban is still fresh and vigorous. So I’ll drop it off here.

The problem continues in this post – the “communication” here includes misdescribing at least some of the disagreements around all this.

I, for one, have nothing against “science communication” as such. I do however have doubts that you are the right person to teach science communication, Chris, for the simple reason that you’re not very good at it yourself. That’s not meant as an insult – it’s not a crime not to be good at a particular thing.

One part of being good at communication is surely an ability to predict the effect of your communications on your audience. You don’t seem to have that: you were surprised by the reactions to your “civility” post a year ago. You were surprised by my reaction, for instance – you may remember we had a (reasonably friendly) email exchange about it. It’s odd that you were surprised, and the fact that you were surprised hints to me that you don’t have full control of your communications – you don’t entirely know what you’re doing. This would seem to be a disqualifier for teaching the subject.

You don’t seem to be able to grasp why the concept of “framing” is not welcomed with cries of delight by people whose vocation it is to try to get at the truth. That to me seems to be another disqualifier for teaching communications. Your overall refusal to engage with critics seems like another.

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