This xkcd comic has hit my inbox a few times from readers and was recently mentioned in comments on Chris’ post as well. It highlights an important distinction about where certain religious beliefs matter–and where they do not. The tricky part is figuring out what to do when these areas collide:
It’s a really thoughtful (if not uncritical) review, and what stood out perhaps most is this great passage:
To combine my own personal view (which I have drifted into here, sorry…) with that of Unscientific America: Regular citizens and scientists are separated by a very narrow but very deep canyon, resting comfortably on either side of this canyon and vaguely aware of the others across the way. When science policy issues arise among the citizenry, the scientists don’t really play a role. When scientists lobby for their funding from the big agencies and other sources, they don’t really account for the people over on the other side of the canyon. This has been the case for years, and over this time, the social and cultural relevance of actual science has pretty much vanished among the [populace], and the ability to understand what motivates or interests the general public… or just even how to talk to them … has disappeared from the culture of science. Not that it was ever there. Looking back, it is clear that the bridges that did exist across this canyon were built by regular people inspired by the occasional super-communicator, such as Carl Sagan. Those bridges were not, in any systematic way, built by the scientists.
Thanks, Greg, for taking the time and giving the thought. Please read his full review here.