Following the debate thread #7-1 | Can storytelling help science get its message more efficiently across in the public sphere?

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

Au fil des débats #6-4 | Incohérences sur les pseudo-sciences

Le problème des « médecines » ou des « sciences » alternatives ne résiderait ainsi que dans les motivations de ceux qui offrent des services ou des thérapies basées sur des croyances ou des superstitions, pas dans le fait de promouvoir la pensée magique et irrationnelle. Cette distinction fait pourtant l’impasse sur la question morale qu’il y a à proposer une vision du monde qui ne repose sur pratiquement rien de solide et à confondre ainsi la réalité avec l’imaginaire.

On craint souvent que les enfants ne soient pas capables de distinguer la fiction télévisée et cinématographique (ou vidéoludique) du monde réel. Pourtant, quand je vois tous ces adultes qui prennent leurs rêves de forces surnaturelles pour la réalité, je me dis qu’il y a bien plus dangereux que la télévision ou les jeux vidéo!

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Le fil d’Ariane #1-1 | Enquête sur les créationnismes

De nombreux rapports et ouvrages dénoncent depuis des années les dégâts causés chez nos contemporains par les multiples mouvements créationnistes. Les médias mettent souvent en garde contre l’entrisme et le prosélytisme pseudo-scientifique des fondamentalistes chrétiens. Cependant, le créationnisme européen reste peu connu du grand public, de même que ce qui distingue fondamentalement, au niveau épistémologique, le créationnisme, sous toutes ses formes, et la vision scientifique du vivant. Ce sont ces lacune que le présent ouvrage de Cyrille Baudoin et Olivier Brosseau, intitulé Enquête sur les créationnisme: Réseaux, stratégies et objectifs politiques, cherche à combler.

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On-the-spot reaction #3-1 | Opposing GMO without knowing what GMO stands for

choux_furieuxSomething that has always surprised me is how little people opposing GMOs know about GMOs or even about overall genetics. They will make many wild claims about how marketed genetically modified plants can cause cancer, poison you and destroy the environment, but when you ask them to get into more details, they will either run to Google, trying to find any sources of authority that will comfort their opinion, or call you a Monsanto shill. Or they’ll change the topic turning to issues such as immoral patenting, corrupted greedy corporation and sold out scientists (forgetting about the few but very real scientists on « their side » who are putting ideology before science, like Gilles-Eric Séralini).

But what happens when you’re interviewing people away from their computer and asking them to answer on the spot, before a camera, meaning that they can’t even search for info on the Web from their smartphone? This is what Jmmy Kimmel did at a local farmers’ market and the result is probably actually quite unnerving for any anti-GMO activists. If the persons who accepted to be interviewed can be considered to represent the average US consumer of organic food, then this video could show without any mistake possible that the anti-GMO movements have been able to scare people about GMO although most have no clue at all what GMO are or even what those three letters stand for! So, when they claim that people have a « right to know », we are here left wondering « what » they would like people to have the right to know….Well, that is, if this video is really representative of the population it claims to sample. I must say that some of the answers seem to me to so ignorant that it leaves me wondering….

Au fil des débats #6-3 | On en parle et On s’en lave les mains

Après les dangers du WIFI sur la pousse du cresson (et par extension logique, sur la santé humaine, hein!) et la lithothérapie, la drammathérapie, l’aromathérapie, voilà qu’avant-hier matin, On en parle, toujours à l’instigation de Lydia Gabor, a décidé de faire de la publicité gratuite et spontanée pour une énième …

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