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A View from Kestrell

Science and Media

I admit that this book review of Perfect Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman edited by Michelle Feynman, got me thinking about the connections between the teaching of science and what role media plays…

  • April 10, 2005

I admit that this book review of Perfect Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track: The Letters of Richard P. Feynman edited by Michelle Feynman, got me thinking about the connections between the teaching of science and what role media plays in it.

But then I found this article from yesterday’s Guardian in which 250 scientists respond to the question: What is the one thing everyone should learn about science?

I’m intrigued by the tension between responses which concern themselves with “uncertainty” and those which use words such as “one answer” or “truth,” those which place faith in numbers and those which call for a greater need to refute the collection of numbers as a means of establishing “a truth”:

“…you cannot prove that all swans are white by counting white swans, but you can prove that not all swans are white by counting one black swan.”

There’s a lovely motto to adopt for journalistic writing and media studies, along with Richard Feynman’s mantra. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

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