“Science in the Public Forum” Ira Flatow on Atheists Talk, October 24, 2010

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Where is Science in the Public Forum Heading? It’s time for a discussion!

Most know Ira Flatow as a science journalist, producer, and as the host of “Science Friday,” broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) every Friday afternoon. But did you know about his Minnesota connection? He was the original host and writer for the Emmy award winning “Newton’s Apple,” which broadcast from the television studios at KTCA in St. Paul, Minnesota. Science communicators Greg Laden and Lynn Fellman will ask Ira about the major changes in delivering science news and the effectiveness of new media for science education. Science is changing our culture and Ira has insights on the value of communicating science through the humanities.

Ira Flatow is a national science journalist working in multiple media: TV, web, blogger, national speaker and book author, and most widely known as the host of the very popular radio show “Science Friday” which is a major stopping point for science geeks on their weekly rounds.

Greg Laden is a scientist, a science educator, author and Scienceblogs.com blogger focused on biological anthropology, the creation-evolution “debate” and human evolution.

Lynn Fellman is a visual artist who also speaks and writes about the intersection of art and science; most recently at the “Personal Genomes” meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Lab.

More details, links, here.

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
*Please note:
Links to books and other items on this page and elsewhere on Greg Ladens' blog may send you to Amazon, where I am a registered affiliate. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, which helps to fund this site.

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13 thoughts on ““Science in the Public Forum” Ira Flatow on Atheists Talk, October 24, 2010

  1. I almost forgot- Happy Creation Day!
    Only five more days ’til Begin Begatting Day!
    (I wish I could find a tee-shirt for the occasion)

  2. So… is Ira Flatow an atheist? Strange there’s no explanation of this connection and rationale for him being on the show, either here or on the linked page. Please explain – thanks.

  3. Mary, one of the things I like to do on Atheists Talk is to bring in issues of interest to atheists. In this case, we are talking about science communication which is something that is a vital issue to many atheists. Also, we are not limiting our guests to atheists. I hope you listen and enjoy the show!

  4. I assume Ira is an atheist, because I assume everyone is an atheist until they tell me differently (or demonstrate differently). The world is a much happier place that way!

    But yes, what Mike said. Of the handful of shows I’ve done as a guest or interviewer, only one had any sort of explicit connection to atheism, and that was about missionaries. I don’t consider myself qualified to talk about atheism as a topic, especially in comparison to the many well informed highly educated experts that Atheist Talk seems to have going for it already.

    By the way, one potential guest of about a year ago, who would have been a real coup to get on the show, happens to be a Christian and was reluctant to be interviewed because of the assumption that guests had to be atheists. A potential listener and facebook friend who happens to be a Christian said to me the other day, on hearing about tomorrow’s show, that she might even listen to it since she loves Ira.

    So there are guests who won’t be guests who should be, and listeners who should be listeners who won’t be be. As it stands, I think if anything Atheist talk is suffering from a bit too much purity rather than too little!

  5. Thank you, Mike and Greg, for the clarification. I was hoping that Ira wasn’t planning on “outing” himself on the show, as though I would personally love to hear him come clean if he had such a persuasion, I think it would be devastating, politically and popularly, for his show’s listenership.

    I look forward to hearing what he has to say from the other side of the interview desk, especially the issues that fall within the science/atheism Venn diagram overlap.

  6. “They’re trying to create more heat than light.” Favorite quote so far by Ira in regards to broadcast media on science.

  7. The statement “science cannot survive on free market alone – government is needed to back it” is trivially true. (I fear I may have just poked an acolyte of Ayn Rand. If so, I apologize for the potential derailing of this conversation.)

  8. Explanation ahead, sir! Okay, I admit it: it was my gut reaction to Amanda’s comment that got me going. The comment reads like a set-up to an Objectivist/Libertarian/Church of the Holy Free Market objection to use of public funds to support science. I think that it is patently obvious that private and public investment in the sciences are both necessary for these fields to succeed. Okay, maybe “science” would “survive” with no public (tax) money, but it surely would not thrive. Would the “free market alone” have built the LHC?
    Again, I say that the necessity of backing science public and private funds is a trivial fact. A=A, the necessity of public and private investment in science necessitates public and privates investment in science.
    Maybe not the clearest explanation ever, but an explanation nonetheless.

  9. Clamboy: I agree with what you are saying completely. However, Amanda was not suggesting a free-market only science. She was simply underscoring by restating what both Ira Flatow and I said because she completely agrees with it and thought it was the main point of the discussion.

    Looking back at her comment, it does look like a libertarian jab, but I am certain that it is not. These brief twitter-like Internet conversations are like that.

  10. See, this is what happens when one responds to a comment when one doesn’t (when I don’t) know anything about the individual making the comment.

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