Raed's Blog

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I wanted to share with you some good new: I quit smoking few weeks ago.

I think I was lucky in picking the first Times article that reveals mutations in the genetic map (the first article). As I argued in the discussions in the seminar that such article was supported with extensive evidence from a group of experts while demonstrating a video discussion as well. I am thankful to everyone who wondered about my smoking habit while we discussed this article.

I also wanted to blog this to announce this development – which I hope by doing so it will provide me with support as well as it may increase my commitment in the current moments.

Cheers,
Raed

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Following our discussions about Popular science, participatory science and the engaging approach, I think this youtube post sparks ideas around these issues:

Since 2004, the internet witnessed the evolution of the web 2.0 technologies. These new technologies were Characterized with more focused on users as well as participatory media or what so called “user generated content”. These dramatic evolutions in the web have eventually changed not just classical journalism, but also the whole news media empires. The following example may capture these constantly changing trends on the web:

First example, From “Informing” to ” Empowering: Through arguing that the world has witnessed transition from Industrial Society to the Information Society in the 80’s, and from Information Society to the Knowledge Society in the 90’s. Mitch Resnick argues that Knowledge Society is not enough in today’s rabidly changing world, and that transition from knowledge to the creative society is taking place ( Sowing the seeds for a more creative society – Resnick, 2007). Resnick reflects on his personal experience as making shifts in career from journalism towards Computer Science and media technologies to engage children in creative learning experiences. ( read the full story: From “Informing” to “Empowring”)

Example two, Social network: which are all about the users and the user generated contents. These social networks and blogs become a convenient way to discriminate information, news, events, video and photos.

Example three, youtube: “People are watching hundreds of millions of videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube”. and that is, actually, generate user content videos more than the whole mass media had ever produce. its astonishing facts!

Further useful links on the subject:

1- Changes in the Media over the Past 550 Years

2- Center for Future Civic Media – MIT Media Lab

3- ​​​​​The Debate Zone: Will people pay for content online?

4- Mainstream Media Miss the Point of Participatory Journalism

5- Media Shifts

6- Your idea to save journalism will not work because..

In its very beginning, the Media, risk and Science book for Stuart Allan acknowledged the “speed of which the conceptual agendas of cultural and media studies are changing”. In fact, while going through the first chapters of the book, various debates and ideas unfold. I think it is important to capture the context during which the book was published – by 2002 – in order to draw contrast between the relationship between Media, Science and Society in a historical, contemporary and future contexts, which eventually may help us to identify a pattern for these constantly evolving strands.

A discourse, debate or conflict?

I thought it is necessary to provide brief philosophical perspective first before jumping to the the details. When ever I tried to dig deep to realize ideas, I end up on Wikipedia jumping from one topic to another and reading philosophical articles. The bad thing is, it is a time consuming process, but the good thing is, it provides me with answers.

White coated scientists who believe in the experiment as main source of knowledge production and truth claims are ideologically conflicting with philosophers (social and human scientists, historians …) who believe that reason and reasoning is the main sources of knowledge production and truth. In short, philosophers use logic and reason so they claim the existence of absolute truth, while the white coated scientists believe in the experiment that provides contextual truth – based on empirical foundations. Although, I came from a background in computer science, and I value the experiment and its contextual truth, but I value more reason and absolute truth particularly when it comes to core ideas about ideology and epistemology.

It is an interesting exercise and debate that I’ll refer to in future posts, but for now, and before returning to our core subject of Science and Media. I feel compelled to record the importance of reason and absolute truth for the supreme dilemma of scientists – and for ordinary people as well: I’ve known and met many accomplished scientists or researchers who embarked on human rights and social justice tracks after or while pursuing graduate or post graduate research in science and/or technology. In fact, if happened that you asked one of them about the new shift in his or her attitudes, s/he may answer and say “well, I am a humanist”. In other tragic stories, I’ve heard and read many tragic and unfortunate stories about weird-beard scientists who committed suicide, by jumping from the tallest building in-campus, after finishing their post doc studies. Definitely there might be hundreds of reason behind such tragic actions, but I think that purposefulness in life, which actually based on epistemological and ideological precepts, might has a lot say about these stories.

Why science is important to the public?

While going through Allan Stuart book, we touch the critical issue of the public confidence of science and publicizing science. The author emphasizes this issue as he analyzes a report titled “Science and Society” by the British House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology (March 200). The report shows “serious crisis of public confidence in the biological and physical science and their respective technological applications”. This “crises of confidence” in science may actually spark many questions, media is definitely one of questioned fields that might hold answers to the confidence issue in science. The following points might be of help in tackling arguments around the popular face of science and the public confidence:

Assuming that there was no crises of confidence before the report, it is clear that media has played a role in formulating this crisis. But, how can media really affect the public opinion? One argument may say that media provided to the people more access and exposure to the media, and that media was a tool that exposed negative aspects in science, thereby, facts revealed and people realized the unfortunate truth about biological and physical science. Second argument is that science was/is misrepresented in the media, and that media has manipulated science facts and provided disguised picture of the physical and biological science. Third argument is that the report and it surveys were conducted on a time people in the UK were blaming scientists for the delay in finding a scientific treatment for the “mad cow disease”. Finally, it also could be mixture of all of the above three arguments.

Epidemic diseases that threaten the public definitely affect public opinion, and therefore the image of science that is suppose to find prompt treatments. Drawing on HIV-AIDS experience in the US, not finding a proper quick treatment to the AIDS did not only affect scientists’ image negatively, but it also open doors for activists to be part of the game and affect the epistemic practices of biomedical research, which may emphasizes that science is not autonomous and the public image is important (Steven Epstein, 1995).

The above arguments lead us to the core of our subject: the image of science in the media, one sort of media to highlight is journalism.

This Blog is intended to document and share reflections on the course of “Science and the Media” – SSTS04 at Lund University.  Here, you will find summaries of the ideas in the reading literature of the course, discussions in class, and personal reflections as well. please feel free to add any comments and let us know what you think.

Raed


Raed

November 2017
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