Sunday, April 15, 2007

Framing the frame debate

I don't want to turn this blog into only being about science framing and the frame debate raging at the moment, but I have been thinking a little on the issue since I wrote the last post.

I think there is a fundamental world view difference in play, which might explain the rather strong reactions to Mooney and Nisbet's pieces in Science and the Washington Post. While most of the people involved in the framing debate is at the very least agnostic, if not outright atheist, there seem to be two main views on how religion is a problem when talking about science. One camp, Mooney/Nisbet among them, seems to think that the debate about religion is the problem, since it keeps religious people away from science, while the other group, PZ Myers/Larry Moran among them, thinks that religion is what keeps religious people away from science.

Those two world views calls for fundamentally different ways of framing the debate. One calls for avoidance of outright debate about the scientific merits of religious claims, while the other one calls for direct confrontation where science and religion collides.

What Mooney and Nisbet has done wrong is to ignore their own advice, and instead of framing their ideas in a neutral way (compared to the two world views), they have phrased it in such a way that it goes fundamentally against one world view.
Yes, the ideas behind framing has merit, and many science communicators could benifit from taking it into account, but don't expect people to embrace your ideas, if it's sold in a way that involves rejecting, or at least suppressing, a fundamental worldview.

I hope they take this into account in their future writing on the subject.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if anything, we now have a lot of data to look at. Perhaps we stumbled across the "third rail" of science-related communication? ;-)


April 20, 2007 5:25 PM  

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