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Controversies

How to handle scientific controversies

Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo.

Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo.

What controversy: Is a controversy misrepresented or blown out of proportion?

Here’s a headline unlikely to run in any paper: Senate getting along: No fights or arguments for days! That’s because good news is generally no news. Clashes, on the other hand, are exciting and often important. So it’s not surprising then that media reports on science often focus on controversy. However, when a scientific idea is portrayed as controversial in the popular media or in a policy, that conflict might be one of a few different types, which stem from different sources:

http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/sciencetoolkit_06

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An evolving controversy: The struggle to teach science in science classes, Berkman and Plutzer, American Educator, Summer 2012
http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/berkman_plutzer.pdf

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Science controversies past and present, Steven Sherwood, Physics Today, October 2011, page 39

Copy of article on Physicstoday.scitation.org
Copy of article on Semanticscholar.org

 

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