Critical Approaches to Culture + Communications

A Weblog by Ron Burnett (Founded in 1994 and now celebrating 23 Years!!)

This site began as one of the first academic sites in Canada when the World Wide Web was in its early phase of development. I have maintained it through many iterations since 1994.

Rearview Mirrors

Science is about speculation, investigation and often about results that even in their best form need to be tested and tested again. "As Marc Kirschner, a professor at Harvard Medical School pointed out in a thoughtful editorial in the journal, Science: One may be able to recognize good science as it happens, but significant science can only be viewed in the rear-view mirror." This means that over time, good science, verified by repeated experimentation and testing of results can provide us with the tools to both understand dangers to health and well-being and also how myth making can undermine truth. The challenges we face in contemporary culture are many, but none is more important than coming to consensus on the importance of science to our understanding of everyday life. Scientific research is more often than not wrong and challenging. But, it is precisely because of this that great care, curatorial care, has to be taken with the information that is circulating among all the micro-communities that now make up both the real and virtual worlds. In fact, there is a merger of sorts going on between the real and virtual. This means that we have to be on guard for distortions of facts, intersections of fictions and truths, and we have to be ready to map what we read to verify its origins. We have moved from consumers of information and data to creators of data and with that comes great responsibility. It is no longer good enough to make claims based on superstitions, anecdotal comments and poorly thought out research. We need a new culture based on truth built on shared assumptions that we have agreed to that is linked to science, the best of science.