Why do most people find science boring?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Magical Realist, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    When Discovery Channel first started, one could look forward to interesting documentaries on astronomy, physics, biology, technology, and paleontology. Remember "Walking With Dinosaurs"? It was the one place one could go to learn about science. Nowadays, the Discovery Channel is a wasteland of hillbilly reality shows and dangerous occupational docudramas. You'd be lucky if you see even one science show there in a month. Why is this? Why is science so boring to the general public? Is it not being presented in an exciting enough way? Or do most people find it too abstract and irrelevant to their everyday lives?

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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    It takes more time and energy to produce a purely science show which means more money has to be spent for all sorts of things that those hillbilly shows don't have to have done. So they put on crap like you posted and will continue doing so. I suspect soon that there won't even be one truely science show on that channel.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
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  5. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    " Why do most people find science boring? "

    ignorance is bliss.
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  7. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    Most folks find physics Bohring, but it's not Fermi.

    Mythbusters is still fun to watch, and they occasionally do some serious science, whenever they can pry themselves away from the pyrotechnics. One of those "dangerous jobs" programs featured replacing a number of 30+ ton dipole magnet beam sections for the LHC. That was fun to watch, even if it was presented from the technical level of a master crane operator.

    Why sports activities have so much interest (as opposed to science) has always puzzled me. Don't ever bother me about whatever team has carried a ball down a field to make a goal, and projectile motion involved in such sports is the most boring part of physics. I might watch sports if there were more serious injuries and we could follow the injured players into the operating rooms. Otherwise, I'd be more entertained watching paint dry, ducks swimming in a pond, listening to good music, read a good book, feed pigeons, or just watch a sunset.
  8. brucep Valued Senior Member

    Was Not Was. Brings back good memory.
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Sounds like a job for a new broadcast DTV subchannel in the ongoing revival of antenna-TV. Instead of vintage movies and comedies/dramas from the 1950s-1980s, it could specialize in showing all the old science programs and documentaries made over prior decades.

    Aging, nostalgic viewers that ratings/advertising couldn't care less about: "Yay!"

    Millennial Generation, late GenX: "Zzzzzz..."
  10. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Science tries to educate, while media is primarily based on entertainment. Entertainment allows the audience to be passive and reactive to an external stimulus; actors move you. While education requires one be active and engaged in a learning process.

    This difference is based on sexual position. In sex, the top person is typically more active (freedom of motion) while the bottom person is more passive/reactive (more pinned down). Entertainment does the work for you, putting you on the bottom; receive and react. Education is more work and places you on the top, having to do the work of learning. Science becomes more like a lecture in school and requires work and active study, since it can be hard to understand and grasp. While entertainment is like going to a play where you are passive and react to the stimulus. This is easier and reaches a wider audience.

    The advantage of the entertainment approach is connected to the needs of sponsors and advertisers. The advertisers do not want you be too objective, skeptical and questioning, like a scientist. This would make it harder to sell, anything. They need you lying in the bottom waiting for them to do you. If you like they way it is done; jingle, you may fall in love with their products.

    There is a term, coined by a talk show host, called the low information voter. This term has a connection to a hybrid between science and entertainment. One is fed information like in science, but not enough to be objective and questioning to all the facts. One is given just enough to be able to draw a desired conclusion, while also stimulated for a passive emotional reaction. In the sex analogy, this like lying side-by-side, not exactly passive or active but a bit of both, so one can draw a conclusion that incites emotions; global warming.

    As an example, say you are walking along and you see two men discussing something. As you get closer, one of the men is raising his voice and yelling at the other. Based on this limited data, one may conclude they are arguing with that one guy being more aggressive. It may end in a fight.

    To this data point, I would like to add a second data point. The guy being yelled at, is partially deaf, and has asked the other guy to speak up because he is interested in what the other guy has to say. The added data will cause you to draw a different conclusion. The low information or one data conclusion may have got you angry or defensive, while the double data conclusion changes the feeling to calmness.

    With the hybrid all you get is part of the data, so even a bright mind, drawing their best conclusion, will draw a conclusion out of touch with actual reality, while inciting an emotional reaction. In side-by-side, the passive (entertainment) and active (education) stimulate each other until both feel they are top and/or bottom, while actually being neither. News with political bias does this, with facts presented, but not all the facts, so your conclusions will get funneled as desired. Campaign adds also use this.
  11. Landau Roof Registered Senior Member

    Feeling kind of lonesome tonight, are we?
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    For one thing, it's intimidating. If a layperson expresses a scientific opinion, he or she is very likely to be wrong. Even worse, there's inevitably going to be some nerdy guy that tells them how ignorant they are, to shut up and get some education. People learn quickly that science isn't always a fun thing for the uninitiated to try to talk about.

    For another thing, it's hard. (And that's intimidating too.) People will sometimes opine about the meaning and interpretations of quantum mechanics. But that kind of talk is always going to be little more than butt-farts unless the writer understands the exceedingly arcane technical details of quantum mechanics, its mathematical formalism, and the experimental evidence that's said to back everything up. In order to get to that point, the person is going to have to already have a strong grounding in classical physics and the confident ability to understand and use calculus, differential equations and even more esoteric bits of higher mathematics. So a person isn't really going to be in a position to contribute intelligently to the philosophical discussions about the meaning and implications of QM unless he or she has the equivalent of a bachelors degree in physics. Science is a subject for initiates, for elites.

    That leaves science TV shows in the position of talking about the most amazing aspects of science ('comic inflation'! 'Higgs' boson'!) without really explaining the details, the context, or why the scientists believe it's true. People sense that they are being talked down to.

    I've always felt that from the point of view of the street, science isn't all that dissimilar from religion. Both tell people that they should believe amazing and sometimes very counter-intuitive things, for reasons that are rarely made clear. What we are assured are the truths of science and religion seem to equally be matters of faith for most of us.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  13. river

    Actually I think that why people find that science is boring is that , its soooo.....unimaginative
  14. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Are you serious? That's not true at all.
  15. river


    I understand your thinking

    But what if one thinks outside the paradigm ?
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Nothing at all wrong in thinking outside the paradigm/box or square...In fact all new science at one time was outside the box, and needed to run the gauntlet of proper peer review, before acceptance.
    Those hypothesis that are nonsense and unsupported will naturally fail.
  17. river

    Yet peer review as we know from the experience of climate change holds little water
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Peer review as we all know from experience, although not being perfect, is the best system we have.
    Peer review is essential.
    If any "out of the box" thinker has anything worthwhile, with any basis and support of evidence, he would not, and should not be afraid of peer review.
    Most unsuccessful alternative hypothesis pushers though, will rather scorn and deride this successful system, in light of it excluding their own ridiculious ideas.
  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Like I said, it is not perfect, but the best we have and overall pretty successful as experience will tell us. Which makes your claim nothing but cheap talk.
    Peer review is essential to weed out the nuts.
  20. river

    The thing is , is that , who controls who is on the peer review panel ?
  21. paddoboy Valued Senior Member


    Oh cut your conspiracy crap river.
    Scientific peer review stands relatively firm and successful.
    Scientific peer review is essential and always will be.
    Scientific peer review sorts the wheat from the chaff.
  22. river

    Oh cut this naive BS , pad
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member



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