[ASC-list] Trustworthiness of Science Communicators (was: Where's ASC headed ...)
charlesw at cse.unsw.EDU.AU
Fri Nov 15 08:45:01 UTC 2013
Each year Reader's Digest publish a list of roles we deal
with in our lives and rank them on the issue of trustedness.
This year they are ranked on a range of 1 (jointly firemen and
paramedics) to 50 (Door-to-door salespeople). Looking at a
couple of previous years the rankings seem to have fairly stable
Politicians are ranked at 49 on the scale of 50 just one above
Door-to-door salespeople. Psychics are no longer on the list.
For 2013, scientists are ranked at position 12 out of 50, three
below Veterinarians (some of whom will offer, on payment/command,
euthanasia for your unwell pet) and just one above Armed Forces
Personnel (some of whom will offer involuntary euthanasia for
people who might be quite well, on command, to those who
politicians perceive to be ideologically on the other side) ...
According to the list, journalists, at position 43 out of 50, are
in the company of CEOs (41) - above sex workers and call-centre
staff - but are ranked three below Tow-truck drivers, and 6 below
Does this information reflect in any way on our current
discussion about ethics, perspectives and/or the future we see
o. Do ASC members identify with the journalism stream or the
scientist stream - or are we something different again?
Are communicators of science different from
journalists? Or are communicating scientists more to
be trusted than those who are less communicative?
o. Is the Reader's Digest list / implementation "just nonsense"
(some people differ in their reaction to RD's ideology).
o. Why isn't science at number 1? We give scientists a lot
of money and quite a bit of freedom on what to investigate
... Can't scientists be trusted completely? Does being
communicative have an opposite effect - of making us seem
o. Why aren't journalists much higher on the list? (Journalism
courses at Universities must wonder about this ...) Are we
associating too much with CEOs?
o. Do the positions on the table indicate something fundamental
about the behaviour of these groups ... or are they more
an indication that the public "don't understand" or that
they "got it wrong"?
o. Should our code of ethics reflect a need to significantly
improve our trustworthiness level?
"Creativity and innovation are measured not by what is done,
but by what could have been done ... but wasn't"
Charles Willock charlesw at cse.unsw.edu.au
c/- School of Computer Science and Engineering
University of New South Wales,
New South Wales Australia 2052 http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~charlesw
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