Re: Popular(izing) Science

From: John Marlow (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 04:46:44 MST

**See below. Portions snipped.

On 21 Feb 2001, at 9:28, Amara Graps wrote:

> From: John Marlow (
> ...So then, well and good, I'm glad to hear it.
> But where did this phrase:
> >largely UNpopular with other scientists, who tend
> ^^^^^^^^^^
> to look down upon such sharing of secret knowledge
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> with the unwashed masses
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> come from? Do these words come from _your_ experience
> with scientists?
> "secret knowledge" ??!! (== "science concepts" ??)
> "unwashed masses" ??!! (== "nonscientists" ??)
> I find these phrases antagonistic and a complete disconnect with
> my knowledge and experience. I've been in the sciences 20 years,
> and I've yet to encounter another scientist who treats
> nonscientists with this kind of scorn, as you describe above.

**Well, that could be because they're treating YOU as a colleague.
Were you in the company of nonscientists who were complete strangers
with no knowlege of the disciplines? Or maybe you just hang out with
nice guys.


**Actually, the 'secret knowledge' thing is Gould's. The 'unwashed
masses' is mine. The same principle is at work with cops and
religious leaders: Knowledge shared is power lost. This is why cops
fight open public access to public records, and why the Church
conducted masses in Latin and hated Gutenberg.

**I've not met many scientists I truly disliked, though I've read
(and read of) a good number of insufferable ones with the decidedly
unscientific attitude that "If the facts don't fit the theory, they
must be disposed of."


> Amara
John Marlow

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