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NATS 1760 Exam Review - Lecture 2 - 4.docx

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Department
Natural Science
Course
NATS 1760
Professor
Darrin Durant
Semester
Fall

Description
NATS 1760: Science, Technology & Society - Exam Review Lecture 2 Sept 16 – Science, Technology and Citizenship 1: publics Chapter 1: Kleinman, “Why is thinking about science and technology so hard?” Scientism – inherent divide between facts and values Technological progressivism –the ability of citizens to view science and technology as reasonable subjects for wide-range public debate- maintains that accounts of "progress" should focus on scientific and technical dimensions, as well as ethical and social ones  There is a belief that facts are superior to value and those who are trained scientist know the facts and can use them effectively in decision-making - social and ethical ideas are often seen as less credible then facts Kleinman “ ‘How can citizens get involved goal’ is to find out how we can form a co-operative relationship b/w experts and publics (p.34) If you want better decisions on technical matters we should improve to get citizens involved”  The social nature of science, technology and expertise, expert’s assessments and decisions will always in some way reflect their social location – all knowledge reflects a perspective – it is all partial o May not always reflect the interest of non-expert citizens o Dismisses the “God-trick” – idea that scientist form opinion without reflecting their own perspectives or position  Not any knowledge will do in solving highly technical problems of crucial social importance o The issue is deciding what knowledge is necessary and how it should be acquired/used  The quality of decision on technical matters should be open to broader public –more knowledge producers The Limits of Expert Knowledge Woburn Epidemiology Case  1970s in Woburn, Massachusetts, community residents noted high number of leukemia cases in Woburn o Concerns about foul tasting and smelling water as discoloration in sinks and dishwaters o Residents began to investigate the possibility of a leukemia correlation from toxin in local water supply o 1980s government officials – 12 cases and 24 control cases and found that there were no characteristics that systematically distinguished those with leukemia to those without o Experts could not explore linkage b/w water quality and disease as there was no data prior to 1979 – denied a link between water-based toxins and disease o Scientist lacked data to find a link therefore dismissed a possibility for a correlation, and choose to allow the status quo not disrupting the chance that local corporation dumping waste into water as a problem  The status quo is important as the scientist may lose credibility and their professional identities(the way they do their research, what counts as evidence, and the conclusions they are willing to draw based on their evidence)  The perspective of the community more reflects that safety and ethical associations of issue with the benefit of their community, not the individual The Virtue of Lay Knowledge 1. They are the experts on particular topics that affect them regularly – they have vested interest (a personal involvement or stake in undertaking or state of affairs) 2. Lay people can challenge the knowledge or appropriateness of experts – accepted standards of proof – challenge the proof established by experts 3. Lay people can access and provide more/detailed data that without their input wouldn’t be included in expert based inquiry  Non-experts provide “a bottom-up flow of knowledge” grounded in the practice, daily lived experiences of ordinary citizens – experiential knowledge  Experts and non-experts can’t work independent of each other – as they can’t know everything separated – greater knowledge + understanding Barriers to Democratizing Techno science and Expertise  Lay people are capable of understanding science if motivated to do so and from a context-sensitive science perspective Attributional Outlook  Expertise is attributed by others - The refusal to recognize expertise IS the same as not having expertise  You lose or gain it through attributional process  You can be an expert if enough people say you are an expert, you just need enough people to agree with you almost undermine expertise as it is a political process like votes  Expertise: You’re renting it + It was delegated to you and can be easily retracted from you  EXAM QUESTION: Kleinman thesis was to get more citizens involved in decisions, use at least 2 examples, sheep farmers or AIDS activist (dirty clinic trails)  P 17-20 Strategies for overcoming the obstacles (Increase citizens resources, address disparities and inequalities, citizen juries, improve expert collaboration with non-experts) Examples Supporting Kleinman’s Theory Post-Chernobyl, Cumbria Farmers Concern for radioactive contamination on farms in England after 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former Soviet Union  (1) Scientist didn’t believe that British farms wouldn’t be affected by the cesium fallout (2) British government imposed restrictions on the sale of livestock for 3 wks (thought radioactivity in lambs would decrease) but became indefinite.  Scientist miscalculated the period it would take for levels of cesium to fall based on inadequate understanding of the local conditions o Scientific info came from alkaline clay soils (cesium is absorbed and immobile), however the Cumbria soil is acid peaty soil (cesium remains chemically mobile and available to be taken up by plant roots)  Therefore sheep were continuing to ingest contaminated vegetation o Scientist were inattentive to the local environment, and knowledge of this environment was where local farmers had expertise- scientist (partial perspective, based on universal generalizations and principles)  To test cesium in soil and its affect on sheep – scientist set up experiment in which sheep’s were kept in a fenced plot – Farmers noted that it would not be effective as sheep like to roam and fenced in would they would lose muscle tone o Scientist eventually abandoned the experiment, as a result of penning, as it wouldn’t hold accurate results Aids Activism  Fought to phase out placebos in AIDS and HIV drug testing –ethical concerns -increased risk of dying from placebo  In order to be successful the study required that a sufficient number of patients die: only by pointing to deaths in the placebo group could researchers establish that those receiving the active treatment was effective  Clinical subjects concerned with placebo would find means to obtain drugs being tested, and consequently the “purity” of the control would be undermined  Activists’ insight into to the kinds of appropriate trails earned respect from many biostatisticians and gained them an increasingly important role in discussion about clinical trial designs: 1. Changes in Research Protocol 2. Worked with community medical professionals to design community-based drug trails Ex. Community Research Initiative (CRI) in New York, people with AIDS or HIV infection participated in decision-making about trails conduction and design  Activist had local knowledge and immediate and very personal investment in AIDS treatment- different insight  Many of these activist started with little background in science, but managed to learn the main technical concepts of AIDS- related biomedicine (attending scientific conferences, scrutinizing research protocol and learning from sympathetic professionals) Endometriosis Association (EA) Case Endometriosis-is a disease in which tissue like endometrium, which lines a women’s uterus is found outside the uterus  For many years researchers have labelled this disease as primarily as reproductive or fertility disease (or the disease was seen as fundamentally individual + psychological) – many were unhappy with the inadequate research  EA women wanted to enhance understanding of the disease- sought to challenge traditional views of the disease and has promote innovative research methods  EA created a disease registry to collect data about women with the disease, which revealed: 1. Endometriosis affects very young adolescents 2. It affects women of all races 3. All income groups at various stages of their lives 4. Having a baby or hysterectomy is not necessarily a cure 5. IT IS A GLOBAL PROBLEM  Challenged the narrow notion that the disease affects primarily white career women and that the traditional cures  Registry data suggested that endometriosis is a immunological disease with reproductive and immunological symptoms  Through highlighting their individual and personal knowledge and searching out new information, members of the EA successfully challenged existing assumptions about endometriosis Kleinman’s Conclusions 1. Lay people can contribute to the production of knowledge relevant to solving broadly technical problems 2. Lay and expert knowledge together can produce more complete and more helpful understanding 3. Citizens can have involvement in highly technical situations as lay people are fully capable of understanding highly technical matters 4. Real barriers to lay participation in decision-making in matters traditionally restricted to experts stem from pervasive forms of social inequality and inequity Lecture 3 Sept 23 – Science, Technology and Citizenship 2: experts Chapter 2: Collins & Evans, “Why Expertise?”  There is a growing public distrust in science  Not every scientific assumption is accurate but we ought to prefer the judgment of those who “know what they are talking about”(experts are often wrong, but their advice is likely to be no worse and may be better than those “who don’t know what they are talking about”)  Expertise comes from the possession of real and substantive expertise, it is not relational and dependent on others Realist vs. Attributional Ex. Realist “…the degree of expertise in speaking a language remains the same in whichever country the language is spoken.” (p.25)  Expertise is not based on a majority of people saying it is an expertise; it is something of the elite. It is not about a person with the ability to speak French in a country where it is not widely spoken gains them expertise, while in France hey are not concerned an expert – the didn’t lose anything but there expertise status  Attributional – In France, everyone can speak French, thus speaking French is not an expertise. Expertise is what people say is expertise known via attribution) ***Both perspectives want to overcome the tension between experts and democracy Realist Outlook “What actually is”– Collins and Evans  Expertise is some quality you posses  The refusal to recognize expertise is NOT the same as not having expertise  Cannot lose it because someone else says you are not an expert, others don’t determine an expert status – you can lose it through some process, can’t lose it through an attributinal process  Go through a socialization process to acquire the ability to be specialized, they don’t gain it through a lot of people claiming them a specialist  Show how we can value experts without losing sight of citizens  EXAM QUESTION:  P 24-25 The tension between people who posses something and people who do not there will always be a tension based on a realist view Tacit Knowledge, Polanyi Tacit Knowledge- knowledge that is difficult to copy, write down, visualize or easily transfer from one person to another  Genuine understanding through social immersion in groups who posses – experience/training – it is embodied o It is not plainly expert vs. non-expert, there are many different ways to being an expert or having expertise  Tacit Knowledge: o Weak  Tacit because of the relations b/w people  Can be made explicit, depending upon social organization  Ex. intermediate; concealed and unrecognized knowledge: practicality o Medium:  Tacit because of the way it is inscribed in our body or brain  Can be made explicit if the limits of the body or brain are overcome  Ex. tennis, chess (but see Kasparov on chess and decision-making) o Strong:  Tacit because it is collective  Can only be acquired by being embedded in society  Ex. traffic; dancing: improvisation: babies v pets; empathy Examples of Tacit Knowledge  Humans have the ability to develop and maintain complex bodies of tacit knowledge in social groups that non-human entities cannot but they cannot explain their natural understanding of the language  No non-human can have the fluency in natural human language that come naturally to most humans o Humans learn natural language by being immersed in the social group to which the language belongs + maintain fluency by continual social interaction with the group  Mere proximity to the group is not enough – non-humans, humans with brain damage or those not taught language early enough but are exposed to language-speaking groups do not become fluent  Most levels of expertise are learned through social interaction and maintained by it too – to “know what you are talking about” implies successful embedding within the social group that embodies the expertise The Folk Wisdom View Folk wisdom view - Claim that ordinary people are wiser than experts in some technical areas Theoretical Ideas about Expertise 1. Meta- expertise – about making judgments about experts and expertise from our own expertise 2. The speed of politics exceeds the speed of scientific consensus formation ( too much greed for scientific authority is bad for science, forcing scientist to act in scientifically inauthentic ways)  We need to be able to use fallible science (capable of making mistakes) and technology  Simply a matter of how to use science and technology before there is consensus in the technical community The Problem of Legitimacy and the Problem of Existence The “Problem of Legitimacy” - expressed the growing mistrust from the general public of experts, in which the “Problem of Extension” aims to place restrictions around the legitimate input of the general public in the technical part of scientific discussions, so that the boundary between the knowledge of the expert and that of the lay person does not disappear. Thus, boundaries must be set around the distinct domains of expertise in order to achieve the most accurate planning and decision-making of an issue. Scientism Scientism4: The view that science should be treated not just as a resource, but as a central element of our culture Chapter 3: Collins & Evans, “Science, the Citizen, and the Role of Social Science” Technological Decisions within the Public Domain are both Political and Technical Phase: 1. Distinction b/w science and politics – “What is the appropriate ratio of science to nonscience in a decision?” 2. Distinction b/w science and pseudo-science – “Which are the science that should bear upon a decision?” 3. How can public recognize what they need to recognize to make appropriate decisions? ***Both questions 1 and 2 are about the problems in “framing” a technological debate Example of the Need for a Distinction between different Types of Expertise  Macro-economic forecasters try to predict the inflation rate or the unemployment rate of a country a year o There forecast are based on masses of historical data, a strong understanding of economics and complex computers models – but the still get estimates very wrong  “Should we then abandon the expertise of the economist just because they are often wrong?” o Economic forecasters simply know more about how the economy works than anyone else o The preservation of the institution of expert economists, even if current economic prediction is often far from the mark – one day it may be possible to make more accurate predictions – but this can only be guaranteed if the institutional difference b/w the fake and the real is preserved along with the expert  However, the weight of an expertise will increases as their input becomes more reliable The Politics of GM (genetically – modified) Foods  Through a focus groups research it was claimed that “ordinary people” have a good or even scientific understanding on the issue  However, through closer examination most “ordinary people” did not understand – biotechnology was too scientific for non-experts to grasp + most of the people did not trust the experts based on the unnatural aspect of gm foods (transmuted expertise - a class of meta-expertise’s where judgments between experts are made on the basis of criteria which are not technical, ex. demeanor, consistency, etc. Political or personal judgments are transmuted into technical judgments) Collins & Evans Goals 1. Separate the technical and nontechnical – separate the science from the nonscience 2. Give the public their right to be involved in technological-decision making through politics but with the proper guidance to show them what is right science and the different processes and expertise 3. We can involve citizens but we need to involve people who actually know what they are talking about not just any one from the publics – as you need some type of expertise 4. Defining the different levels of expertise and knowing what citizens to involve in technical matters Chapter 4: Evans & Plows, “Listening Without Prejudice?” Types of Expertise By defining different types of expertise it allows us to make more precise questions about the kinds of knowledge that experts and non-experts posses, when and how they acquire this knowledge and how these different types of knowledge can be used in different kinds of decision-making processes No expertise  Neither interactional nor contributory expertise, but you do have the meta-expertise and other judgment abilities  You can make judgment about peoples track record or creditability or if they are trustworthy, everyday judgment of people - not a specialized skill Interactional expertise  Enough knowledge (linguistic knowledge), research and social interaction with contributory experts to interact interestingly with participants who have contributory expertise - you can alternate well  Tacit social and cult
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