Scientists needing to persuade society at large shouldn’t be relying on their data alone to persuade but instead should employ PR tactics, suggests Wired’s Erin Biba (and a number of PR company employees, natch).
I don’t totally agree with the idea (scientific integrity and all that jazz) but some of the thoughts/suggestions are entirely valid and scientists could go far by listening to some of the advice and criticism.
For instance, this suggestion toÂ remove science’s holier-than-thou attitude, replacing it with personal stories of those at its core (the scientists themselves):
It didn’t even occur to the [American Association for the Advancement of Science] panelists [at a recent climate change symposium] that someone might find that here’s-the-data-we’re-right attitude patronizingâ€”and worthy of skepticism. “Until scientists realize they need us, we can’t help them,” [Kelly Bush, founder and CEO of PR firm ID] says. “They have to wake up and say: ‘I recognize it’s not working, and I’m willing to listen to you.’ It’s got to start there.” Science increasingly must make its most important cases to nonscientistsâ€”not just about climate but also evolution, health care, and vaccine safety. And in all of those fields, the science has proven to be incapable of speaking for itself. It’s time for those with true passion to get over the stigma, stand up, and start telling their stories.