Tag Archives: debate

Science tells a human story but scientists don’t care

I read something interesting from the Archdruid Report. It suggests that science provides a narrative to contextualize human lives. That’s interesting, but not the intention or concern of scientists.

…When the late Carl Sagan spun his compelling “We are star-stuff” myth for the viewers of Cosmos, for example, he was engaging in reflection rather than abstraction. His goal was not to communicate an abstract rule but to weave a narrative of meaning that provided a context within which human life can be lived.

He makes an interesting point about science. I see it as the fringe of knowledge, pressing outward. There is an aspect to which the Archdruid points that is the opposite. He suggests that science is a competing reflective narrative in our culture.  I don’t disagree, but I can vouch for this: scientists don’t see their work in this context. Sagan was building a narrative to directly compete with The Religious Narrative.  I think religions see see only this aspect of science, and it’s an aspect of science to which the scientists themselves are oblivious and uncaring.  That disconnect is part of the problem with communicating science to non-scientists. It’s one reason Carl Sagan was so smart.