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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

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation

October 24, 2006

why do we have science anyway
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!
slide3
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
baseline assertion
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!

corollaries
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
we have a problem
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
as charles dickens would say
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
on the one hand
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

On the one hand

We’re living in the best of scientific times

advances in science are coming at a fantastic pace
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
slide10
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.

slide11

Descartes

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Mind and Body are Inseparable

slide12

Descartes

Freud

Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

on the other hand
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

On the other hand….
slide14
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”
these are factors internal to science
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

These are factors internal to science…
the context for science and society is also influenced by external factors
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
events of 9 11 2001 dramatically affected science
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
slide18
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
american competitiveness initiative
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
many countries are recognizing the science economy jobs imperative
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
slide22
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!
slide23
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
something else is going on in how people relate to science and technology
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
people generally still respect science and technology
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

People generally still respect science and technology….
us public s view of scientific research
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

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

what do europeans consider as scientific
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

people need to know about science as an enterprise
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
there is increasing tension in the science society relationship in part because
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
slide32
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
now values and politics are being overlaid onto simple risk benefit calculations
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Now, values (and politics) are being overlaid onto “simple” risk/benefit calculations
scientific issues that abut against values
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
intelligent design claims to believe in gradual change
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
slide36
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

The latest attempt to bring religion into the science classroom

many neuroscience issues abut against human values
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
overlay of values is having serious consequences for the whole science society relationship
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
we can t just educate our way out of it
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”
what can we do
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
public understanding
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Public Understanding +
public education
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

Public Education +
communicating communicating to the public with the public
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
we need to hear from the public about
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
the engagement movement is gathering substantial momentum
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
fundamentals of effective engagement of the public with s t
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

one can t deal with
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

One can’t deal with
  • Evangelical fundamentalists
  • Evangelical atheists
  • Militant agnostics
one can work with
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

One can work with
  • Undecideds
  • Rational middle
aaas public engagement programs
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
aaas center for public engagement with science and technology
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
aaas glocal strategy
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

AAAS “Glocal” strategy
working with local opinion leaders and resources
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
slide56
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

we need to restore equilibrium to the science society relationship
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

We Need to Restore Equilibrium to the Science-Society Relationship
slide58
Science and Society

Canada Foundation for Innovation – October 24, 2006

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