Let’s talk about talking, shall we?
Many scientists and experts believe that to win over the public – to make them feel the same way they do towards their work – is to impart more facts to the public.
Let’s say you want to convince people that your research into genetic engineering should be funded, but people are uncomfortable about the possible applications. So, you painstakingly explain the science behind what you’re doing, pointing out at length how many safeguards you have in place to stop the genetically modified murder-pigeons from escaping the lab. The public, you think, just need to be better informed, and all will be well. Environmental science, biotechnology, nuclear physics, murder pigeons – all the public needs to do is understand, and they’ll agree with us. There’ll be no more controversy.
This is a very tempting argument, and it sort of feels like it should be true. But the problem is that it’s not even slightly how things work.