Current Thoughts for April 6

Here are some of the things I’m currently thinking about:

  • Framing and communication. I got sucked into the most recent dustup about framing, evolution, and atheism over at Science Blogs. I even started leaving snarky comments at Chris Mooney’s blog The Intersection. So I took Matt Nisbet’s advice and started reading the research on framing, agenda setting, and priming in the communication science literature. I haven’t reached any conclusions yet but the question that bugs me is the assumption that negative arguments of any kind that criticize the core beliefs of other people are doomed to failure. The default assumption of the framers seems to be that people would respect science more if only scientists were nicer and didn’t say anything controversial. I just don’t buy it. There’s a lot of complaints out there in the media-criticism-sphere deploring the polarization of politics. I don’t find it very persuasive. First, polarization is not new. Second, the evidence that polarization turns people off or makes them not pay attention seems scanty or more honored in the breach than the actual world.
  • Knowledge and information cycles. I’m trying to push myself out of the acquisition stage and into the publishing/production stage. Need to put more thoughts into the blog and elsewhere.
  • Business, consulting, freelancing. Making a living. Future career steps.