Current events in recent weeks have provided the perfect segway for my research topic and board game design for DIGC310. March for Science is a movement that occurred in major cities all over the world in an effort to purify scientific method and demonstrate the involvement of politics in innovation and discovery.
The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.
Now the reason that sparked March for Science is partly the on going climate change debate, even though there is a majority consensus there are some public figures who’s voices are projected through social media and cyberculture, spreading doubt amongst the public. But climate denialists aren’t the only voices that are being enabled, as cyberculture has changed the game making controversial topics more available to the public and giving air time to both parties.
Many scientists have become influential pop culture figures through platforms such as radio, television and you tube, creating a huge fan base and changing the stigma around science. Dr karl is a science professional who co-hosts a radio show on Triple J, inviting listeners to call up and ask science related questions. He has become quite popular with younger listeners as he is open to answering controversial and open minded questions.
Sir David Attenborough is another example of a a scientist who has risen to fame, and in this case almost revered as royalty. In this case it could potentially be involuntary pop culture fame, however it has sparked interest into animal behavior through his series Planet Earth.
Poster created and distributed through popular David Attenborough fan page.
An Australian Senator of the far right wing One Nation Party Malcolm Roberts is a climate denalist who is very active on social media, often sparking debates with renown science figures in the public sphere. Roberts is not a scientist but instead has a history in the coal mining industry. As it is beneficial for the mining industry for there to still be doubt surrounding climate change, it is possible that Roberts is a denialist to reach a political agenda.
Earlier this year Dr. Karl re-tweeted a video posted by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which presents data about the global temperature increase over the past 150 years.
Malcolm Roberts commented on the video claiming that the data had been manipulated and not scientific fact. Dr Karl obviously regarding Roberts statement not worth the effort, previous attempts to explain the science proving unsuccessful, gave a simple response. You can see the exchange below
Twitter has enabled debates about controversial science to be aired in the public sphere. Giving a voice to both arguments and holding each party accountable for their opinions by the potential millions looking on.
Malcolm Roberts again took on another renown science personality on a climate change episode of Q and A. The video below shows Brian Cox with empirical evidence of the average surface temperature warming trend, and Malcolm Roberts claiming again that the evidence has been skewed. Q and A airs live tweets from the viewers at home whilst the debate is occurring, allowing the public to 1) be involved in the conversation and 2) see what other viewers at home are thinking.
Cybercultures have changed the playing field when it comes to science communication, allowing the public to be up-close and personal with the debate of controversial topics and enabling access to to resources that would have previously been unattainable. Scientists have become the subject of popular culture and sometimes ‘worshiped’ by followers. Through my research I hope to further study the effects that cyberculture has impacted on science communication and if it is likely to be constantly changing the way the game is played.