Content tagged essay

Conservation Optimism

posted on 2019-05-13

“These lectures always make me depressed”, a colleague of mine said as we walked out of the tropical biology course last Thursday. “Why?”, another asked. “Because every time, they show you just how badly we're messing up nature.” The rest of the group had to agree: studying ecology can be horribly depressing at times. Species are disappearing faster than we can count them, whole ecosystems are collapsing right in front of our eyes, and we don't seem to be able to do very much about it. So how do we deal with this desparate outlook? And is there any cause at all for optimism?

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Communicating Science

posted on 2019-03-25

“What can we do to communicate our research to the public?” This was the question for a discussion session with some of my colleagues last week. Many scientists see the need for this kind of communication, but few know how to go about it, and even fewer actively do it. After all, how do you explain your work on, say, a channel protein of the Venus Flytrap to your neighbour, and why should he bother listening? It is a challenge. But believing that it's worth the effort to try, here are some general principles we found.

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Silicon Valley Syndrome

posted on 2019-01-14

“Silicon Valley Syndrome” is the name I give to a wide-spread myth that is frequently found in affluent, tech-savvy circles. It is the belief that “Every social problem can be solved if you just throw enough technology at it”. This belief lies at the heart of many, many attempts to make the world a better place. Their proponents will say things like: “We can save democracy by combating fake news with algorithms”, or “We can solve Third World hunger using satellite imagery”, or “We can improve education in poor areas by giving every kid an iPad”. These are all laudable attempts, and yet their fundamental assumption is all too often sadly misguided. Why is that?

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"Die einzig wahre Religion?!"

posted on 2018-12-24

Ist es vermessen, zu meinen, man habe den “einzig wahren Glauben”? Diesem Vorwurf sehen sich Christen oft ausgesetzt. Jüngst wieder in einem Streitgespräch über Glaube und Vernunft, das Spektrum der Wissenschaft im Oktober veröffentlichte: Gleich zweimal brachte ihn Volker Sommer, ein agnostischer Primatologe, gegen die gläubige Physikerin Barbara Drossel vor. Dabei ist es eine Anklage, die auf logisch sehr wackligen Beinen steht.

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Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Daniel Vedder.
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