The history of science shows how to change the minds of science deniersRoundup
tags: climate change, Science
Ephrat Livni is a writer and lawyer. She has worked around the world and now lives in Sarasota, Florida. Ephrat wrote for the Jerusalem Report, ABC News, and FindLaw, served in the Peace Corps in Senegal, taught English in Japan, was a public defender in Palm Beach County, and worked as an attorney at Google in Silicon Valley.
Most of us don’t think of science as a story. If we think of it at all, it’s as a series of discoveries made by a few geniuses whose insights somehow changed our lives.
A new book aims to transform that perception, turning it into a tale the whole world is writing together—a fable involving heroes and villains, triumphs and tragedies, and very high stakes for humanity and the planet.
Robert Crease, a science historian and chairman of the philosophy department at Stony Brook University in New York, is the author of this upcoming book, The Workshop and the World. Crease is concerned about science deniers, especially people in positions of authority, who discount evidence that human activity is changing life on Earth for the worse, driving climate change and disrupting the delicate balance that all living things rely upon on our interconnected planet. He believes that by understanding the history of science, we can “keep the world from falling apart,” in his words.
This might sound like a very tall order. But in Crease’s view, each of us has a stake in making the world better. We may not be great thinkers ourselves, but our participation in telling the tale of science is crucial, he argues.
Beginning with Francis Bacon in the 17th century and ending with Hannah Arendt in the 20th century, the philosopher lays out the story of the scientific workshop—which is his shorthand for the process of scientific thinking and the actual experiments scientists conduct. In his book, Crease provides examples of 10 great thinkers in history who saw possibilities, confronted authority, and took action, advancing unconventional ideas for their time that directly or indirectly improved our lives today. Their efforts provide examples of how to respond to people and institutions who ignore scientific evidence when it’s convenient for them, despite relying on science in other areas.
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