Science Corner: S-U-C-C-E-S… Leave off the Last ‘S’ for Science!

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That would explain why Apple fans are so enthusiastic… Photo by GotCredit

Since I’m interested in the challenges of science communication, I enjoyed this exploration of how to apply the science of communication to communicating science. (Although I’m not overly fond of the terms ‘science denial’ or ‘science denier’ for reasons related to my thinking here.) Even if science isn’t your thing, the very practical insights and tips are relevant to any situation where you are communicating with people who understand the world differently from yourself. For example, the advice seems just as applicable to the challenge of clarifying misconceptions about the Bible.

Notice especially just how well Jesus modeled the SUCCES paradigm. There is simplicity and elegance to his teaching, such as when he summarizes the law in two commandments. He was definitely unexpected, preaching peace to a people that wanted revolution and becoming a servant to a people that expected a king. He cited the most, indeed only, credible source he believed in, his Father. He used plenty of concrete metaphors in his parables. He acknowledged the emotional nature of man, displaying compassion and empathy to those in need. And he was not only a storyteller, but also the subject of the greatest story ever told. It’s interesting that science now gives us the tools to understand why Jesus did what he did and why it has been so compelling for millenia.

I’m particularly interested in the “Concrete” part, the use of relatable metaphors. What analogies or metaphors do you find helpful when talking about your discipline?

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Andy Walsh

Andy has worn many hats in his life. He knows this is a dreadfully clichéd notion, but since it is also literally true he uses it anyway. Among his current metaphorical hats: husband of one wife, father of two elementary school students, reader of science fiction and science fact, enthusiast of contemporary symphonic music, and chief science officer. Previous metaphorical hats include: comp bio postdoc, molecular biology grad student, InterVarsity chapter president (that one came with a literal hat), music store clerk, house painter, and mosquito trapper. Among his more unique literal hats: British bobby, captain's hats (of varying levels of authenticity) of several specific vessels, a deerstalker from 221B Baker St, and a railroad engineer's cap. His monthly Science in Review is drawn from his weekly Science Corner posts -- Wednesdays, 8am (Eastern) on the Emerging Scholars Network Blog.

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