06 August 2008

Science: slowly becoming a lost cause

I finally got around to reading "Dumbing Down of Science" by Karen Heller. I recommend this article to all those who lament the current social apathy towards science, maths and learning in general.

Her point is that an institute like the Franklin has transformed from an educational outlet to a movie-style bonanza.


Frequently, the Franklin seems as scared of learning as it does of science. Lopping off the "Institute" is an indication. What I watched was kids dashing madly, going from one pit stop to the other, without absorbing much. There was so much insistent fun (!) and no, this-isn't-really-science stuff that the place is transformed into just another consumer palace.
I agree with the writer and I think the glamorization of science, in most undesirable tones, is also evident from numerous science shows on the telly.

Have you noticed how a traditionally academic science show now looks like the next box-office thriller? Every time you introduce an additional helper, the camera will resort to the Matrix style dizzing spiral around the character, before zooming in for a close up? How nature programs are all about mating rituals or gory killings? A highly ranked science show is now all about explosions and blowing up everything you can get your hands on?

Whatever happened to the monotonous narration by a somber looking presenter as we sat down in front of the telly, simply because we were sincerely curious about photosynthesis or as to why the earth has two moons?

It's all about ratings and mass appeal now.