Darwin-L Message Log 5:12 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<5:12>From ad201@freenet.carleton.ca  Tue Jan  4 19:44:17 1994

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 94 19:19:44 EST
From: ad201@freenet.carleton.ca (Donald Phillipson)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Hello all from a newcomer

Mike Dickison (adzebill@matai.vuw.ac.nz) wrote from New Zealand

>Re the popular linguistics debate: Some recent writers on popularising
>science suggest that *educating* the public isn't the way to help them
>distinguish between good science and sloppy science. They advocate not
>teaching people science, but teaching them *about* science. Voters that are

Canada announced 1987 "Innovaction" of which one element was the declared
commitment that citizen knowledge of science was prerequisite for sound
national science policy.  (Sounds fishy to me as a historian, but there it
is.)  The backup for this was special research contracts to investigate
knowledge of science, about a dozen awarded since that date, mostly to
academics new to the field.  Surprisingly, since attention had been
focussed 15 years earlier on mass media and adults, this recent research
concentrates on school curricula and children.

No clear pattern has yet emerged, either of what has been learned or what
political use it might be: but I try to monitor this and can report here
if there is any demand for such information.  There has been a change of
government so anything could happen at the client level.  It was not
encouraging to see how divergent were projects actually awarded grants.

 |         Donald Phillipson, 4050 Hall's Road, Carlsbad           |
 |      Springs, Ont., Canada K0A 1K0; tel: (613) 822-0734         |
 |  "What I've always liked about science is its independence from |
 |  authority"--Ontario Science Centre (name on file) 10 July 1981 |

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