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Science and Society . Canada Foundation for Innovation October 24, 2006. Why do we have science anyway?. To improve the human condition To provide natural explanations of the nature and workings of the natural world Whether we like the answers or not!.

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Science and Society

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Science and society l.jpg

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation

October 24, 2006


Why do we have science anyway l.jpg

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Why do we have science anyway?

  • To improve the human condition

  • To provide natural explanations of the nature and workings of the natural world

    • Whether we like the answers or not!


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Science is limited to human cognition of the objective world….Lu Yonxiang, President, Chinese Academy of Science, 2005


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Baseline assertion:

Science and technology are ever-more imbedded in every aspect of modern life!


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Corollaries:

  • For people to prosper in modern society, they need fundamental understanding and comfort with S&T

  • For science to prosper and be maximally productive, the science-society relationship must be both positive and strong


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We have a problem

  • The science-society relationship is experiencing substantial tension

    • Is at risk of significant erosion


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

As Charles Dickens would say…..

  • We’re living in the best of times

  • And the worst of times


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

On the one hand

We’re living in the best of scientific times


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Advances in science are coming at a fantastic pace

  • The rate of incremental advance is accelerating

  • New technologies are enabling quantum jumps in understanding


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Functional MRI of a “normal” subject writing a talk

Anterior

Right

Ventral

R

L

Broca’s area

posterior

Left

Parietal Cortex

L

SMA

R

Broca’s area

Dorsal

L. Chang, M.D., T. Ernst, Ph.D., O. Speck, Ph.D.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Generating words (left brain dominant)

Chang, et al.


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Descartes

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Mind and Body are Inseparable


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Descartes

Freud

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

On the other hand….


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Other issues within science are not going so well…and negatively affect the broader (societal) context for science

  • Incidents of scientific misconduct

  • Human subjects concerns

  • Animal welfare issues

  • Conflict of interest problems

  • “Publishing by press release”


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

These are factors internal to science…


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The context for science and society is also influenced by external factors….

  • Government regulations, priorities and funding


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Events of 9/11/2001 dramatically affected science

  • Travel restrictions

  • New research priorities

    • Bioterrorism

    • Cybersecurity

    • Transportation safety

    • Food safety


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Much is now being influenced by a resurgence of the “SCIENCE-INNOVATION-ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS” factor


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

American Competitiveness Initiative

  • Doubles funding over 10 years for physical sciences and engineering at NSF, DOE, NIST

  • Strengthens K-12 math and science education through teacher training and new curriculum materials

  • Makes R&D tax credit for industry permanent


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US

Canada

China

India

European Union

Israel

Japan

Australia

Belgium

Sweden

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Many countries are recognizing the science-economy (jobs) imperative


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is the epitome of a country recognizing this science-economy relationship!


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The science-innovation-economic factor emphasizes that all people need familiarity and comfort with science and technology


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Something else is going on in how people relate to science and technology

  • There’s increased tension in the relationship


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

People generally still respect science and technology….


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

US public’s view of scientific research

National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

But they have little understanding of what is and is not science

  • 60% of Americans believe in extrasensory perception

  • 41% think astrology is somewhat scientific

  • 47% still do not answer “true” to the statement: “Human beings developed from earlier species of animals”

Science and Engineering Indicators, 2004


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

What do Europeans consider as scientific?

  • Medicine – 89%

  • Physics – 83%

  • Astronomy – 70%

  • History – 34%

  • Astrology – 41%

  • Homeopathy – 33%

Source: Eurobarometer, 2005


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There’s a lesson here!


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

People need to know about science as an enterprise

  • What makes something scientific?

  • The limits of scientific investigation

    • Natural explanations of the natural world


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

There is increasing tension in the science-society relationship, in part because

  • A new dimension has been added to the public’s view of and behavior toward science and technology


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Historically, science and technology have been evaluated primarily on the basis of their costs/risks and benefits


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Now, values (and politics) are being overlaid onto “simple” risk/benefit calculations


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Scientific issues that abut against values

  • Embryonic stem cell research

  • Studying “personal” topics

    • Sex

  • “Intelligent Design” versus evolution in science classrooms and science museums


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Intelligent design claims to believe in gradual change

  • But a supernatural being guided the process

  • Claims to be a scientific, alternative theory to evolution

    • Advocates argue “teach both theories” in science classes


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The latest attempt to bring religion into the science classroom


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= “Intelligent design” initiative eruption


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Source: Miller, et. al. Science 313, 765 (2006).


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Many neuroscience issues abut against human values

  • The nature of the mind

    • Mind-body-soul concepts

    • Free will vs. determinism

  • The ability for anyone to look into your brain and watch your mind in action

    • Darkest secret thoughts

  • How to relate to brain disordered individuals

    • Personal responsibility for your brain diseased behavior


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Overlay of values is having serious consequences for the whole science-society relationship

  • Society wants to influence science

    • Rather than just the reverse

  • Creating a divide between science and the rest of society


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We can’t just “educate” our way out of it

  • The problem is not just lack of understanding

    • People do understand much of what we’re saying or want to do

    • They don’t like it

      • The conflict with their core values trumps their view of societal benefits

      • Only scientists are bound to “stick to the science”


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

What can we do?

  • Continue protesting/lamenting the situation

  • Adopt a more assertive strategy

    • Engage with the public on the issues

      • Try to find common ground


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Public Understanding +


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Public Education +


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We need to change not only the style and content but also the intent of the conversation:

Communicating Communicating to the public with the public


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We need to hear from the public about:

  • Their concerns about science and technology and their concomitants

    • Risks and benefits

    • Encroachment on human values

  • Their priorities among research areas

  • Questions they would like or need us to answer

    • Help frame the research agenda


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The engagement movement is gathering substantial momentum

  • United Kingdom

  • European Union as a whole

  • Canada


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Fundamentals of effective engagement of the public with S&T:

  • Build relationships with stakeholders, striving to foster mutual confidence and respect.

    • Be inclusive of diverse perspectives, sectors and cultures.

    • Practice “active listening”

  • Build communication around issues informed by S&T, rather than specifics of the S&T itself.

  • Practice openness

    • Put information, ideas and debate in the public realm

Science Communications and Opportunities for Public Engagement, Canadian Council of Science and Technology Advisors, 2003


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

One can’t deal with

  • Evangelical fundamentalists

  • Evangelical atheists

  • Militant agnostics


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

One can work with

  • Undecideds

  • Rational middle


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

AAAS Public Engagement Programs

  • Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER)

  • Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology

  • Town meetings

  • Family science days

  • Topical public workshops

  • Meet the scientists events

  • Broadcast opportunities

  • Partnerships with science museum and centers

  • Active outreach

    • Clubs

    • Residential communities

    • Religious institutions


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

AAAS “Glocal” strategy


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Working with local opinion leaders and resources

  • Local media and op-eds

  • Clergy

  • School officials

  • Local government leaders/politicians

  • Science museums and centers

  • Community groups


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= “Intelligent design” initiative eruption

= AAAS intervention


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

As we enter this difficult era for science and society

Donald Kennedy, Science, April 8, 2005


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We Need to Restore Equilibrium to the Science-Society Relationship


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Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006


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