Popular scientists modern day preachers?
2013 03 06
By Eliane Glaser | The Guardian
Wonders of the Solar System; Wonders of the Universe; and, this year, Wonders of Life. Brian Cox stands misty-eyed on a cliff top everywhere I look. He has a chilled-out air for someone with such a busy filming schedule.
Instructions to appreciate the wonder of science are everywhere. Thereís the Wonder season organised jointly by the Barbican and the Wellcome Trust which starts tomorrow; the Science Museumís World Wonders Trail; the parliamentary select committee report on introducing wonder to the national curriculum; and the 2011 TED conference titled The Rediscovery of Wonder. But am I alone in finding this cheerleading problematic?
Itís ironic that the public engagement with the science crowd is so pro-wonder, because theyíre so anti-religion. "All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation," writes Richard Dawkins. "And itís exactly this feeling of spine-shivering, breath-catching awe Ė almost worship Ė this flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide."
"Iím an atheist," said maths professor Marcus du Sautoy when he took up the Charles Simonyi chair in the public understanding of science at Oxford. "But for me the important thing is the wonder of science." Advocates for science canít seem to give up on religionís selling points: the awe, transcendence, and worship.
The crucial question, though, is who is doing the worshipping. Cox and co make much of their own humility in the face of natural marvels. They express wonder and we are meant to follow suit.But itís too easy for the meekness we feel in the face of extraordinary facts to blur into deference towards popular scientists themselves, with their public profile and their privileged access to those facts. Like priests, they occupy an elevated position in relation to the phenomena they admire. While putting on a good show of being amazed, they function as powerful gatekeepers to a mystical beyond. Cox may not look like a boffin, but itís telling that heís always called professor.
The rhetoric of wonder is all about encouraging participation. But this infantilising power dynamic is not conducive to confident involvement or critical inquiry. It creates an inaccessible aura around science which has little to do with the everyday practicalities of what goes on in labs. Science is essential to our world, but like looking after children, the nitty-gritty is often prosaic and incremental. In its evangelical, popular guise, science becomes a matter not of reality or scepticism but of anti-intellectual reverence. All we can say in response is, wow.
Read the full article at: guardian.co.uk
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Gregg Braden - Crisis in Thinking & False Assumptions of an Incomplete Science
Gregg Braden - The Divine Matrix
Rupert Sheldrake - The Science Delusion
Richard Alan Miller - Hour 1 - The Non-Local Mind in Holographic Reality
Susan Joy Rennison - Hour 1 - Global Energy Leap
Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality
Anthony Peake - Hour 1 - The Nature of Reality & Twilight Zones of Consciousness
Johan Oldenkamp - Hour 1 - Wholly Science
Latest News from our Front Page
NATO Exercise in Ukraine Coincided with MH-17 Shoot-down
2014 07 24
Rapid Trident was omitted from the flurry of coverage on the shoot-down MH-17.
From the U.S. Army in Europe website:
Rapid Trident supports interoperability among Ukraine, the United States, NATO and Partnership for Peace member nations. The exercise helps prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment with host-nation support from civil and governmental agencies. ...
Warning of íimminentí terror attack in Norway
2014 07 24
Norwegians were warned Thursday of the concrete possibility of a terror attack occurring in that country at the hands of people with connections to an extremist group in Syria.
A press conference was called in Oslo, Norway on Thursday where an announcement was made of a "possible concrete threat" to national security in that country from terrorists related to an extremist ...
Judge says government can access everything in a Gmail account
2014 07 24
All your emails are belong to us.
At least thatís what the latest court order from a judge in New York says. The warrant, granted on June 11, states that the government can access all the content and files contained in a Gmail account.
Yes, this is a significant blow to privacy.
The subject of this specific search relates to a money laundering ...
Scotland Yard Spied on Grieving Families: secret surveillance after police victim shot seven times in head íby mistakeí
2014 07 24
More terror from the íanti-terrorí brigade.
Undercover police gathered evidence on 18 grieving families
By Rob Evans and Vikram Dodd | The Guardian
Undercover police officers secretly gathered intelligence over two decades on 18 families fighting to get justice from the police, it was revealed on Thursday.
The intelligence covering high-profile campaigns was collected between the mid-1980s and 2005, and affected grieving families ...
Air Algerie AH5017 with 116 onboard goes missing for hours, found crashed in Mali
2014 07 24
An Air Algerie flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has reportedly crashed in Mali after having disappeared from radar early on Thursday morning between Burkina Faso and Algeria.
A French Ministry of Defense official told Fox News that the two French fighter jets located the wreckage of the plane, which had crashed in Mali. An airport official additionally confirmed ...
|More News Ľ |