There is nothing more likely to turn off scientists from reading an article than if the words “Loch Ness Monster” appear in the title. However, confronting bad science is an important task and science’s inability (and strength) to prove the non-existence of something – exemplified by the eponymous monster from Loch Ness – is often used as a stick with which to beat science. In Martin Pitt’s article the issues are laid out with clarity and reason.
Communication between scientists and those of other disciplines is more than sitting on promotion, review or resource allocation committees in universities. Information seeking and the growth of the web encourage the understanding of those in science and the liberal arts of each other’s culture. In “Communicating Information across cultures”, Deborah Andersen draws a comparison between the work patterns of those in science and the humanities. The idea being that the growth of electronic knowledge resources will help to bridge the cultural gap and promote interdisciplinary understanding.
Rhetoric has certain negative connotations in science – even to the point of some scientists denying that “genuine science” employs such devices. The balance between promoting good communication on the one hand and distorting science on the other is sometimes a fine one. In “Science and Rhetoric”, Neil Ryder underlies the importance of metaphor as a basis for scientific imagination as well as an aid to communication.
We present an interview with Nick Bostrom, a philosopher of science based at Yale. His background is in Physics, Neuroscience, Logic and Philosophy. He co-founded (with David Pearce) the World Transhumanist Association, which is an organisation that promotes the use of technology to overcome human biological limitations. The interview covers the interplay between science and philosophy in relation to the human condition.