Science and Society: step 1 is to set the question…

Why is there reaction to science-related issues in some countries, and in others not so much?

Having lived for almost a decade in a country where there were big reactions to science issues (MMR, GM, mad cow, etc), and having moved back to a country where the reactions are not so big – one could say non-existent – it makes me wonder why is this the case?

Of course it comes down to society, but why? What I mean is, of course there are big differences between the British and Greek societies, but which of these differences cause reaction in the former and not in the latter?

This question has been brewing in my mind for quite sometime now since it is different to communicate science to a society that is against it, than to a society that simply does not care. (A related question: why it does not care?)

Ι decided to set the task of answering the question above when I read the rapid response of some people in – once again – the UK.

In a recent comment, Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins (you can find the article here), basically said that scientists, with Martin Rees and Lord May as their archbishops, “just want money” “based on faith, not reason”. Jennifer Rohn, two days later published a post in her blog were she “proposed making Monday,” today that is, “Spoof Jenks day, with bloggers taking the opportunity to writing an anti-science post in the style of Simon Jenkins”. The idea was well received and in just 2 days there were not 1, not 2, not 5 but 11 Spoof Jenkins posts (you can find them at the end of this post but for a more updated list please check at the original post by Jennifer Rohn). Please also use the “#SpoofJenks” hashtag on twitter.

So this is a science-related issue and there was a fast reaction from the scientists. (I am so damn impressed when the reaction is so great!). In other cases, it is the creationists that react fast. I does not matter who does. Here I am talking about the reaction itself.

It makes me wonder, why is it that in the UK, in France, in the US, in Germany, etc there are reactions whereas in other countries there are not that many? Is it just my unfamiliarity with Greek reality or is this truly the case?

So, for the next couple of months this is what I will be thinking about… any help, ideas, will be much appreciated!

PS. The SpoofJenks posts
1. Get over it, scientists: your cushy days are numbered
2. Urgent new priority for UK science
3. A Mammoth of Research
4.Jenks from tectum to rectum
5. Perpetual Poetry in Motion
6. Not a guest post and not by Simon Jenkins
7. Simon Jenkins collects his tithe
8. A day in the life of Simon Jenkins
9. We know too much
10. Cancer: Scaremongering ‘Scientists’ Ramp Up The Fear
11. Bloody scientists think they know everything

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