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adowton's picture

Middle ground

 An issue that comes to mind when discussing this topic is the use of Wikipedia to get scientific information. On the one hand, we are discouraged from using this information for fear that it might not be completely accurate. I believe anyone with a Wikipedia account can modify/edit articles and I am not sure whether there is some sort of monitoring entity that prevents people from getting too out of control/off base when they are modifying content. Knowing this, I guess I understand why we are not supposed to use Wikipedia as a source for our papers, however, I’m not going to lie…I use Wikipedia all the time to help me understand certain things. Whether I use it to understand a concept that’s confusing me from a dense textbook assigned for class, or simply as a starting place to gather ideas for writing a paper, I find it an incredibly useful tool. I think this is because it is more successful at accomplishing the task we agreed scientists are often bad at…communicating with the general public. I find as a student, that my knowledge is insufficient to understand some things at the level scientists present them on, but I have had some exposure to the issue/facts so I am sometimes frustrated by the “dumbed down” version. Where is the middle ground? I can sometimes find it in a place like Wikipedia. I think it would be great if people (perhaps a collection of scientists and non-scientists to get both perspectives) were to put sincere effort into creating an internet forum/television show with the GOAL of presenting scientific information in a way that addresses the people who stand in middle ground.

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