Scientists Must Evangelize

My professors’ generation could respond to silliness like creationism with head-scratching bemusement. My students cannot afford that luxury. Instead they must become fierce champions of science in the marketplace of ideas.

During my undergraduate studies I was shocked at the low opinion some of my professors had of the astronomer Carl Sagan. For me his efforts to popularize science were an inspiration, but for them such “outreach” was a diversion. That view makes no sense today.

The enthusiasm and generous spirit that Mr. Sagan used to advocate for science now must inspire all of us. There are science Twitter feeds and blogs to run, citywide science festivals and high school science fairs that need input. For the civic-minded nonscientists there are school board curriculum meetings and long-term climate response plans that cry out for the participation of informed citizens. And for every parent and grandparent there is the opportunity to make a few more trips to the science museum with your children.

Behind the giant particle accelerators and space observatories, science is a way of behaving in the world. It is, simply put, a tradition. And as we know from history’s darkest moments, even the most enlightened traditions can be broken and lost. Perhaps that is the most important lesson all lifelong students of science must learn now.


It is no longer acceptable for scientists to sit on the sidelines and immerse themselves in their work. They must engage the public.

Folksonomies: science evangelizing promoting science

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/science/social science/history (0.356095)
/family and parenting/children (0.340034)

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Carl Sagan:Person (0.940136 (positive:0.143064)), science museum:Facility (0.706782 (positive:0.690585)), Twitter:Company (0.430146 (positive:0.370090))

Carl Sagan (0.979340): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Pseudoscience (0.728499): dbpedia | freebase
Scientist (0.604837): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
High school (0.579374): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mars (0.574931): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Science fiction (0.562605): dbpedia | freebase
Education (0.552031): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
SETI (0.521312): dbpedia

 Welcome to the Age of Denial
Periodicals>Newsletter Article:  Frank, Adam (August 21, 2013), Welcome to the Age of Denial, New York Times, Retrieved on 2013-09-26
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  • Folksonomies: politics science denial