Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How many parts "popular" and how many parts "science"?

Although Kai does bring up some good points challenging the criticism of Sagan, Penely’s argument seems to be centered on the image of “popular science: and whether or not it can exist. By juxtaposing Hawking and Sagan, a picture begins to develop of two not necessarily conflicting beliefs, but overlapping beliefs about how to treat science, popular culture, and the audience. Kais statement “Sagan only objects to popular science writing when it is grounded in a misunderstanding of modern science and misrepresents scientific facts, a caveat which Penley overlooks when she accuses Sagan of being anti-populist” proves incredible logical. But part of popular SF is getting people interested in science in general. I realize it is perfectly acceptable to hold SF to a higher standard of being accurate, but there appears to be many, many instances in SF of inaccurate or impossible science. Just as NASA appears to make some horrible decisions (like sending an extremely unqualified civilian into space to write a diary?), they are at least trying to be more assessable to the average American. Attempting to make science more assessable o the mainstream American audience proves to be a step in the write direction. Expecting perfection, or at least something close, is not uncommon, sometimes points should be award for trying. An “A” for effort, so to speak.


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