Don’t mistake me–I am all for promoting the wonders of science and scientific research–you will be hard pressed to find a better advocate than me. And after all, there is a growing awareness among scientists that research should be translated into layman’s terms, so that the general public can have some rudimentary understanding of what we scientists are up to, day and night.
However (and this is the key “however” that comes immediately prior to the rejection of a manuscript or grant proposal), we must take special care not to over-simplify and patronize (to “dumb-down”, as the new expression says). Worse yet, we must never–and I mean never–fall prey to the danger of hubris and gloating, especially to “The Emperor of all Maladies“.
Accordingly, I was rather shocked and extremely disappointed recently to see a campaign advertisement in a highly visible and public place flaunting the “Emperor of all Maladies“.
CANCER DOESN’T STAND A CHANCE? WHO THE HELL ARE WE KIDDING?!
Who among us does not have friends and family who suffer or have suffered and died from cancer? Can those responsible for this campaign–“Cancer Doesn’t Stand a Chance”–stand in front of the beaved families of millions of cancer victims and look them in the eye?
In my humble view, such bombastic statements are very dangerous to scientists and research, as they are simply untrue and ultimately harm the integrity and credibility of science and scientists.
Anybody care to weigh in on this one?