Dr. Alan Cline
February 19, 2006
Topic: The Disregard of Science and the Responsibility of Citizens
About the speaker
UT Professor Alan Cline will give a version of his Visions of Computer Science lecture for a non-academic audience. Alan Cline is the David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Computer Sciences #2. He recently has been accepted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at UT.
In various ways, science is under attack. Political leaders ignore science or reject its conclusions. Funding agencies reduce money for university-based scientific research. News media either ignore science or attempt to give equal weight to science and anti-science. Religious leaders fight science and castigate scientists. Elementary school teachers present science as simply sets of facts to be memorized. Regular citizens have little understanding of what science is, how the scientific method works, or what value it has for them. Meanwhile the reaction of scientists is a perplexed befuddlement coupled with a hope for better times. I will present evidence of the misunderstanding and rejection of science from many quarters. I find that the scientific community itself bears a significant portion of the blame. I will discuss steps to be taken toward the reversal of the trend – notions that require more than simply hope. Alan's slides can be viewed in here.