Chris Mooney on connections:
If science today isnâ€™t learning much from the humanities, neither is it learning enough from those with expertise in politics or in communication. And it shows. Consider the experience of American science in the 2000s. Despite producing more Ph.D.s than everâ€”with 29,854 in 2006 representing an all-time high according to the National Science Foundationâ€”science found itself continually outraged by inaccurate media coverage of science; poor science education and widespread public science illiteracy; a resurgence of anti-evolutionism; and the Bush administrationâ€™s assault on scientific expertise on issues like climate change.
Science today doesnâ€™t have any problem producing; but it has a huge problem connecting.
Alas, while some in science are beginning to recognize this problem, for others it still remains off the radar. Part of the problem may be that science convinced itself, not so long ago, that it had actually vanquished the problem highlighted by Snow. In particular, about a decade or more ago came claims (originating with literary agent John Brockman) that a so-called â€œthird cultureâ€ had come to the rescue and bridged the gap. â€œThird cultureâ€ scientists were typically thought of as including people like E.O. Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Pinker, and especially Richard Dawkins. During the 1990s and beyond, these scientists sold lots of popular booksâ€”and that, of course, represented a core element of their success.