Today is Towel Day 2015, the day when your faithful towel can be your solution to any problem! Don’t panic and take advantage of this easy day. Tomorrow, it’s back to normal and boring complex situations! And you’ll be allowed to panic again!
This is a translation from a column published May 23, 2015 by Corinne Lepage, a French politician, former Minister of the Environment and former Europe-Ecologie MEP, on the occasion of the last global March against Monsanto. In this text, she accuses the European Union and member states of failing to protect their citizen against the danger of corporate greed in general, and of GMO and herbicides in particular. A translation of my analysis of this text will follow soon, but I thought it would be interesting for English-speaking audience to read how some French political ecologists are talking about these issues at present.
In a recent article from the Science Daily, a report about a new study that was carried out by a research team at the University of Iowa, called for a more frequent use of storytelling in order to counter pseudoscience or unscientific claims being circulated, such as the anti-vaccine propaganda. The point being made is that the human brain is particularly sensitive to narratives, especially those involving personal cases, often making a public debate tilt in favor of arguments based on emotional stories:
« Stories are the default mode of human thought, » Dahlstrom said. « If you have a narrative, it fits the way you already structure the world. It’s more evocative, there’s character, there’s emotion and you can identify with someone in the story. Narratives, intrinsically, have much more connections to other aspects of your life. Whereas the abstract truths have to be applied and often that doesn’t happen. »
So, the easy conclusion that derives from this observation is that scientists, medical and health State institutions and all the other actors of the public debates around health issues should resort more to storytelling in order for their points to get more efficiently across the general audience. However, scientists are reluctant to embrace storytelling, says the author of the study, in great part because they fear that narratives can also perpetuate misinformation and inaccuracies. Plus | More