TED Conversations

Této Parvanov

Student - B.A. Commercial Music, University of Westminster

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What would a society where Science (as a concept) was promoted with as much intensity as most advertisements look like?

After wandering down the busy streets of central London, I came across the thought of how different things would be if unlikely members of society were to work together...

If a digital media expert, a leading Scientist (possibly Neil Degrasse Tyson or Richard Dawkins) and an advertisement specialist were to sketch out an idea of how to promote Science to the World, as an accessible thing, promoting natural inquisitiveness etc. I think some really positive things would come from it.

If this were to come true, do you think it would help the way people see Science? I have a fear that the majority feel it is a dull and grey subject.

Topics: in science society
progress indicator
  • thumb
    Nov 10 2012: I think science HAS become increasingly popular as an interest for general audiences. Partly this is a result of scientists and scientific magazines writing for the lay person. Part is, actually, thanks to the way modern media picks out scientific topics with crowd appeal. And scientists, noticing the expanding popular interest of their subject, have increasingly been writing books for popular audiences and are being interviewed on television and web.

    How would so many people without serious scientific backgrounds be reading about string theory or quantum physics?

    What Feyisayo writes is true on several counts. Actually to understand some ideas in science takes more commitment than many are able and willing to give. As a result, the increasing popular exposure people have to science does not necessarily lead to greater understanding of what science is and how it works.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2012: With digital media archiving it is easy to find scientific material which is not only accessible but highly education. This can be done on youtube, forums or even official Scientific websites such as NASA. There is no doubting the accessibility of Scientific information.

      I agree with Feyisayo and how he talks about the amount of effort you need to put in, in order to be a recognised Scientist. I am however, hoping that the majority of humans are to be Scientifically literate. There is a big difference between having Scientific literacy and conquering the frontier of Science itself. We all live in this World, it would be marvellous if we all knew why it works the way it does.
      • thumb
        Nov 10 2012: I don't think either Feyisayo or I has been talking about what it takes to become a recognized scientist. Both of us, I believe, are talking only about what it takes to understand much scientific information and many scientific theories.

        There is a difference between seeing/hearing/reading information and understanding.
        • thumb
          Nov 10 2012: Ahh well maybe I misunderstood...

          I understand that there is a difference, but I don't think it's a bad idea to be seeing/hearing/reading information even if you can't understand it at first. I guess that is the point where a lot of people seem to give up. However, if you are going through Scientific news, information, documentaries, debates and theories, you will at some point start to grasp the concepts discussed. From then on it's just building blocks of knowledge, even if you don't fully understand something, you can still learn from it.
      • thumb
        Nov 10 2012: It is wonderful to have lots of information available about science and other topics. There is no controversy at all in that.

        And as I wrote, it is extremely widely available even without serious additional efforts by advertising specialists. It is just a very, very popular area of interest in our time, with every form of media, commercial enterprise, and educational institution aware of it and tapping into it.
  • thumb
    Nov 10 2012: The amazing series "Through the Wormhole" is exciting, but it is not broadcast on basic cable. Questions that researchers are asking cannot help but make people think and inspire our young people, but if you can't afford the higher-level channels, you can't get it (except on YouTube - if you even know about it).

    In the USA, I think this might be because of the Christians. I've seen warnings from Christians calling out the alarm, announcing in all caps, WARNING: MORGAN FREEMAN IS NOT A CHRISTIAN! (Morgan Freeman is the host and he is a black man. Racism is very much alive in the USA (she says with her cheeks red from shame) and the USA has become a despotic Christian theocracy.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2012: Ahh yes, I have seen a few episodes of "Through the Wormhole." I stumbled across it on youtube, so when there is a will to see something there is a way. The Ascent of Man AND Cosmos are both fully on youtube so it is a more than respectful method of acquiring knowledge!

      I am a militant atheist (as Richard Dawkins put it) and the racist behaviour from violent theists is really quite frustrating when they are trying to bring education to the masses. Which side would you rather follow? The one that encourages learning and questioning or the one that encourages mass ignorance. It is sad to see this being the case. No need to blush, USA isn't the only place where ignorance exists.
  • thumb
    Nov 23 2012: Not convinced people think it's dull and gray. Why don't you ask the people around you if they think it's dull and gray. For example, most people are enamored of their cellphones, and they know science produced them. Thus they might not think science is dull and gray.
  • Nov 10 2012: Science appeals to a section of the society, just as the arts and humanities appeals to a section. I believe that what you call natural inquisitiveness is an intrinsic part of human nature; its just that some people (scientists) dedicate themselves to the study of the mysteries of matter, energy and nature. Some people ask different questions and do get different answers (humanities, arts, theology, psychology and so on)

    I don't think that majority see science as dull and grey; science takes much more than so many people are willing to give, it is only for people who continuously ask questions, who are not complacent, who are not encumbered by the ways of the world (the norm);and who believe that anything is possible.
    People of this kind are rare, even though a lot of us may credit ourselves as having these qualities on inadequate grounds.
    Science has shown by its results that it could provide answers to certain questions; but not to all questions. So its important would not be threatened by whatever a 'majority' feels.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2012: That people might feel "threatened by science" is a sad statement about the civilization we live in.
      That science should not takle certain questions is even stranger an idea.
      • Nov 10 2012: The tendency towards either radicalism or orthodoxy is too simplified a way of viewing things. Real scientists would never arrogate to themselves the ability to answer all questions. If you read my comment well I did not state that science should not tackle certain questions, my position is that science can not answer all questions in this world.
        No discipline can.
        • thumb
          Nov 10 2012: But science is not just astrophysics. Science is just a method, a philosophy, an idea that knowledge has to be explanatory.
          Could you give me an example of questions which cannot, in principle, be answered by it?
  • thumb
    Nov 10 2012: I just found an interesting link which has a striking resemblance to the question I asked. This might actually be happening!