SC NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/ JAMES ELWICK
Kleinmann: “Why is Thinking About Science and Technology so Hard?”
What should the role of publics be who do not have technical expertise?
Facts versus values
Facts beat values
Let experts decide
Normative standpoint: How should we do things? What is the correct way?
Scientific claim: if you believe in my fact you will follow my values (fact trumps
Technology is a tool for progress (always?)
Technology develops according to technical criteria not social choices
Let experts decide
-Each subsequent form of technology is better than the last
-How are we measuring the progress?
-Is more technology always better?
THE PROBLEM OF SPECIALISM
We live in a world where we rely on specialists to do things
The more complex the device, the less we know about it
A problem of difference (cannot grow our own food, cure our own illness, fix our
What does it imply for the role of public and the role of experts? READING COMPREHENSION
Thesis: “The quality of decisions made on highly technical matters might very well be
improved by broadening the array of knowledge producers beyond traditional experts”
Experts assessments reflect their social location
All knowledge reflects a perspective
There is a tension between democracy and experts
Publics should have input whenever they are affected
Tasks (to do in order to support the thesis)?
- Show the limits of partiality of experts‟ knowledge
- Show how non-experts can improve decision-making
- Show that there are barriers to public participation
THE DEFICIT MODEL OF PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING
The issue is what publics possess, not what they lack
Opposes the downloading idea of how science engages with broader publics
Concentrates on how public issues are “framed”
Are public issues framed in a narrow or broad fashion?
- As if what is at issue is just the facts, not the values
- Treating a public issue that involves expert knowledge as one that is about expert
EXPERTS ARE LIMITED
Epidemiology: Woburn (MA). 1960-70‟s water pollution and leukemia
Experts: getting it wrong (blaming the water) means a lack of competence,
so they erred on side of saying no link
Publics: but residents want the caution to err on the side of saying there
might be a link