Technology-doubting postmodern academics undermine public acceptance of science

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The backlash against modern technology is widespread: Protests against genetic engineering, vaccines, “chemicals,” modern agriculture, neuroscience, nuclear power (and almost any other form of power), animal research, and embryonic stem cell research threaten to hold back, if not reverse, decades of progress. What can scientists do to address this problem?

[A typical response is the] alignment of values between scientists and the public…[but this solution] is utterly problematic according to Marcel Kuntz, Director of Research at the prominent French institution Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

image-2-c-marcel-kuntzDr. Kuntz blames sociologists who embrace postmodernism, a cultural and philosophical movement…”characterized by broad skepticism…[combined with] a general suspicion of reason.”

This is deeply problematic when confronting activists, many of whom do not understand complex scientific topics.

Dr. Kuntz’s conclusion is forceful: “Postmodernism is often confused with values of respect and democracy. However, science is not a matter of democracy – it is about the application of a method, and it is an elitist activity, open to all provided that one learns and applies the scientific method.”

[But b]ecause many scientists receive funding from taxpayers, many Americans feel that politicians have a right to dictate what scientists can and cannot study…[This] point is still legitimate and, in our current cultural and political climate, nearly impossible to dispute.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Scientists Should Fight Postmodern Public Values

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