Saturday, February 7, 2015

Science and Reasonable People

Because vaccine data is reported in Washington schools, this is a great opportunity to assess attitudes across Washington State with overlaps of demographics and political views. This from the Seattle Times provides a easy way to see the vaccination rates across the state:

Science/policy/communication and how people decide is a subject I have no real expertise. My lack of expertise has improved over time from experience both good and bad. On some matters I am still perplexed. Hence, the vaccine issue is of great interest in trying to glean some lessons.

Joel Achenbach at National Geographic provides a nice overview of the topic of science and policy ranging across a variety of science/public policy matters Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? Some good thought provoking stuff and some resources I am familiar with. What I like is the emphasis on the idea that people are reasonable. Their reasons and rationale for rejecting science are --- well often reasonable. But the reasonableness has very little to do with science, but is instead motivated by social and tribal politics and philosophy or simply good old greed. It does not mean they are right. And being wrong has consequences.

I found this interview of Eula Biss to be very informative

It might be best to start with the assumption that most people are reasonable. It does not mean they are right. And I still get a sense that debunking, shame, and pointing out facts will still have their place.



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