If, like me, you're confused about the message that Mooney and Nisbet are conveying then I urge you to listen to this podcast [Matthew Nisbet]. Here's the introduction on the Point of Inquiry website.
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Nisbet explores the issue of “framing science” in the public mind, how scientists may be failing at effectively communicating the importance of the implications of science for society, and steps the science community may take to more expertly sell their science to a disinterested public. He also argues about Richard Dawkins and his effect on the public appreciation of science, and the impact of linking atheism with science for issues such as stem-cell research, teaching evolution in the public schools, and global warming.Nisbet links to the podcast on his website [Podcast: More on Framing (and Dawkins)] where he says,
In this week's show, host DJ Grothe and I engage in a lively forty-five minute discussion. You can listen here.I take that to mean that Nisbet thinks he did a good job of explaining these things during the interview.
I offer more details on:
--> the nature of framing and media influence.
--> does framing mean false spin?
--> the likely negative impact of Dawkins.
--> communication strategy specific to the teaching of evolution in schools.
--> what the Discovery Institute understood about framing (also see this post.)
--> the role of framing in the debates over climate change and stem cell research.
--> the use of "science navigators" in communication campaigns.
-->an effective means for engaging the broader American public on atheism.
I urge everyone who has an interest in this debate to take the time (45 minutes) to listen to the interview. At the end of it you should have a very good idea of the issues. Nisbet tries to frame the framing debate to make it look like it's all about "proper" media communication. He sets himself up—along with Chris Mooney—as the social scientist who really understands how society works. Scientists are the social bumpkins who need a lot of coaching from the "experts."
It doesn't work for me. To me it reveals that Nisbet is simply expressing his own personal opinion about many issues. For example, he makes it very clear that, in his opinion, Dawkins is harming the cause of science education. The interview is full of
After listing to the interview I think I now know enough about Nisbet to ignore him from now on. He doesn't have anything useful to say as far as I'm concerned so this is the end of my involvement in this debate. The fans of framing will no doubt be ecstatic about the interview.
I'm reminded of the two cultures debates in the 1960's. If you don't know what I'm talking about then please follow the link to the Wikipedia article.