Importance Of Taking A Medical Billing Course

1 July, 2013 (05:53) | Uncategorized | By: admin

Medical billing is crucial for hospitals as well as those specialist doctors who accept to treat patients with a medical insurance cover. Usually, after your cover details have been verified, a follow-up has to be made to claim payment from the insurance company for the services rendered. It usually takes quite a process to have the hospital receive money from the insurer. Nowadays, many employers look for people who have taken up a medical billing course. This is because they have been equipped with all the skills necessary to perform this job well without much orientation strain on the hospital, for example.

One who has taken up a medical billing course will also have knowledge of some of the crucial elements in medical billing. Coding, for example, is an angle which causes much confusion to people who attempt to carry out medical billing without training. When you take the time to go to an accredited institution for this kind of training, you can rest easy knowing that in the end, coding will not be much of a challenge. This course also makes you more competitive. Moreover, there are several doctors and hospitals which treat patients with insurance cover so it is highly likely that you will get a job. Get more details at www.medical-billing.net

Three Tips On How To Stop Panic Attacks

20 April, 2013 (16:29) | Uncategorized | By: admin

images1It is very necessary for you to know how you can handle panic attacks on yourself as well as on them around you. Facing panic attacks can be the most devastating state one can face. The sweating, hyperventilation, chest pains, trembling, numbness, and tight chest can cause one feel like they are going to die or lose their mind. We shall look at five workable tips on how to stop panic attacks.

One, you can decide on acting normal as if nothing has happened to you. If you are working, continue working and do not let this state interfere with your duties. Entertaining the feelings of panic attacks can cause further effects of the symptoms that come with the panic attacks. Another tip on how to stop panic attacks is through avoiding any stressful situations in your life. If you realize that, an environment or situation can cause a panic attack, run away from it as fast as you can. Learn to entertain positive thoughts and positive environments in your life. This will contribute a lot in bringing a stop to panic attacks.

Another vital step you can take is for you to invest the right diet. Good “brain foods” such as nuts, oats, and many vegetables is very essential. They send positive signals to the brain causing one to maintain a positive attitude.

How To Stop Panic Attacks In Non-Medical Methods

Panic attack victims have a history of struggling with the condition for quite a long time in their life. The condition renders the victims to undergo poor social lives since they feel unfit to be with their family and friends. Several anxiety conditions and discarded professional aspirations are some the issues that the sufferers get to deal with. How to stop panic attacks can be so stressing because they are fear driven in nature. Different methods work for different people but below are some of the universal methods that are drug-free which can control the condition.

Meditation is the first one in this category. This method reduces the effects that the victim feels by reducing the intensity of the panic attacks. It works pretty well if used on a consistent basis. You can achieve this by making it a fundamental part of your daily schedule. You can have it done 20 minutes in the morning and evening. To get the benefits of meditation, you need to relax and not sleep during the process. Lie down and maintain a meditative environment and position to avoid sleeping.

Exercising regularly can help produce the endorphins substances that are responsible for raising your level of moods. Doing it rightly will lower the rate of suffering the condition and acquaint you with a good coping life. Others include psychotherapy which works to reduce the body’s anxiety. How to stop panic attacks will mostly depend on the person. You can resort to talking to a professional health counselor to release the feelings and get the proper guideline.

Control The Adrenalin Rush And Stop Panic Attack

images2There is an adrenaline rush any time you are about to experience a panic attack. This is a scary experience that can be related to the very scary instances in your life. It is important for you to take control and learn on how to stop panic attacks. You will end up breathing faster and quicker, in turn, this will lead blood to rush to your large vessels and it is very important to learn how to stop panic attacks if you are headed this way. This also heightens your senses and their reaction thus a lot of discomfort to you. Most of the people who experience panic attacks and know how to stop panic attacks are at an advantage of taking control of the situation.

It is important to note that all these are effects that occur when your body is getting prepared to deal with danger. The adrenalin rush is to help you out to fight danger but it the adrenalin rush is not necessary when it is released by the body. There is no reason as to why the body does so thus it is important to learn how to stop panic attacks. Let not anxiety mess with your natural lifestyle. Learn how to stop panic attacks.

Wondering How To Stop Panic Attacks? Here Is The Guide

16 March, 2013 (17:04) | Uncategorized | By: admin

images3Panic attacks are known to strike without any alert to the body and can make the victim feel helpless. The attacks set in with a feeling of fear despite of the frequency that you have been having them. Nevertheless, there are proven ways that can provide solutions on how to stop panic attacks. However, everyone should be familiar with the causes, symptoms and management of the attacks. This is crucial knowledge to help control the vice.

First things first, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms so as not to mistaken it with other conditions like the heart attacks. Some of the common symptoms include stomach and chest pains, sweating, depersonalization and sensations that smother the body. The symptoms may be terrifying but are not that detrimental as imagined. The symptoms actually get displayed because the brain imagines of incoming danger. Once you set your brain that the condition is harmless, you are now in position to curb the problem.

You need to know that panic attacks are triggered due to a certain factor inside or outside the body. Unpredictable events in life leading to stress are the major issues behind the panic attacks. However, others may be due to genetic reasons, post trauma, substance abuse, and life phobias. A number of victims are known to suffer panic attacks because they are unable to contain stress within them. You should actually maintain a positive attitude and approach when taking the steps on how to stop panic attacks. The best thing is to avoid the trigger objects or situations. Therapy procedures, counseling and the technique of relaxation are the best ways to go about it.

How To Stop Panic Attacks On Students

Students are so vulnerable to panic attacks. The reason as to why this happens is that they all have goals that are laid out for them concerning their studies. All students no matter their age all go to school to succeed and get good grades. The most unfortunate thing is that all of us were given different abilities. In a school, there those students who shine in particular subjects such as the sciences. Others shine in Mathematics, languages while the rest perform better in the arts. The problem is that for the teachers, recognizing such details come later when the student has proceeded to higher classes.

Many parents do not understand their children’s strong points in class. They would want to compare the results of their children to the other ones who are performing better in class. This is a major cause for panic attacks. When a student is subjected to pressure from the teachers and the parents for good performance, they tend to develop fear and panic of the unknown. To stop panic attacks on students, a parent should try to identify the strong points of the child. Encouraging a child toward his or her strong points is a great way to start. Another very effective way is to keep rewarding them on any positive progress they make.

Approaches Of How To Stop Panic Attacks

images (17)When you are faced with the problem of panic attacks, you need to be aware of the options that you have in managing and even defeating the scenario. Usually, when you go to a professional, he will weigh the approaches that he can use in helping you beat the problem. Use of medication as one of the alternatives of how to stop panic attacks will no doubt feature prominently. As a matter of fact, there are a number of drugs that you can use to beat this problem. Drugs like Lorazepam have been used to treat people with this condition. Panic attack remedies

Also, the doctor is likely to prescribe for your self-help options as a means of beating this challenge. This will involve changes in the diet if need be, exercise regimes to help you cope with stress and even ways of relaxing your body and mind to keep anxiety under check. Most people confess that the changes they made in their lives were very instrumental in helping them defeat this challenge.

Psychotherapy is yet another approach that can be taken to help you out. This is an approach that will delve into the root cause of the problem so as to tackle it. More often than not, you will also be told that self-help groups are instrumental in giving motivation when it comes to how to stop panic attacks.

Traffic Tips On How To Stop Panic Attacks

Panic or fear attacks do set in the body without an alarm to the individual. The attacks can be so frightening especially when driving or travelling. The attacks tend to differ with the environment that the individual is at. It is detrimental when going at high speed than when having your body stationery. However, there are some simple tips on how to stop panic attacks while in traffic. Before applying the tips you should first try to solve the feelings of anxiety and panic first.

Every driver or rather traveler should be in the know of how the attacks come about and the effects they bring or subject the body to. The fight or flight response reaction seems to be the major reason for every experience that the body gets. The advantage with the response is that it prepares the body to take a necessary action. The attack comprises of the brain, body and the means of conveying the message. The presence of a frightening object or danger
initiates the brain to send a message to the body. During a panic attack, the brain sends a false message in which there is no threatening situation. This makes the body to prepare itself for something non-existing.

The best way to avoid the attack is to train the body on means of assuming the message. This can be achieved by assigning it new tasks or thinking of other things. During driving, pull the vehicle off the road and park it safely. Remember you are dealing with an attack as a result of fear and not a heart attack. Divert the brain to concentrate on other issues and control your breathing. Use the knowledge you have on how to stop panic attacks and help prevent the threat of a crash.

The Reasons Behind A Clicking Hard Drive

23 February, 2013 (01:48) | Technology | By: admin

You should call a computer technician once the hard drive of your computer starts producing a clicking sound. It is advised to turn off the computer to contain the damage caused by the scratching of certain components. You should expect that the hard drive will eventually experience glitches because it is exposed to motion and heat. The components of the hard drive will acquire very minimal grazes as time passes by. If the hard drive is not well-ventilated, its components may expand due to heating and cause disruptions. You should create a backup using another media so you will have something to fall back on once the hard drive crashes.

hard-drive-partsThe clicking sound from the hard drive can be caused by bad sectors. This could happen if the disk tries to spin on the same area and fails. The drive could reset continuously if the magnetic domains are already weakened. Clicking sounds can also be heard when the head scratches the disk platter. It is advised to turn off the computer to prevent further damages. The data could be erased if the platters are extensively damaged. You should allow a computer technician to handle this matter.

How To Respond To A Clicking Hard Drive

You should be alarmed if you can hear a clicking sound coming from the hard drive because this can be an indication of a physical damage. It is important to understand that the components of the hard drive are exposed to wear and tear. This is due to friction, excessive heat, power spikes and electro-static discharge. There are two types of physical failure; mechanical and electronic failure. You should take a clicking hard drive seriously because this can lead to permanent data loss. Once the hard drive begins to produce a clicking sound, you should turn of the computer right away. You can contain the damage by doing because the components will stop moving once the power supply is removed. It is not advised to open the computer and dismantle the hard drive without the correct tools and environment. An attempt to repair the hard drive without sufficient skills, knowledge and tools may intensify the damage. The data stored in hard drive might be deleted permanently if the damage is extensive. It is recommended to call a dependable computer technician or a data recovery firm like this to handle this matter. It is also not suggested to run any recovery program while the hard drive is crashing.

Your Hard Drive Is Clicking: Should You Be Alarmed?

You should backup your data very quickly once the hard drive starts producing a clicking sound. This is because a clicking hard drive signals a physical failure. The hard drive may be function for a little while but it will eventually become inaccessible or unrecognizable. The damage might grow worse if you are going to keep the computer running. In some cases, the head of the disk scratches the surface of the platter. This produces a clicking sound. If you are going to leave the computer running, the magnitude of the damage will heighten. Therefore, it is advised to turn off the computer right away. You should stop the movement of the components to prevent permanent data loss.

If your skills and knowledge about computer hardware repair are insufficient, you should not attempt to fix the damage on your own.  Fixing a hard drive requires comprehensive knowledge and skills about computer hardware and electronics. It is also very necessary to have the right tools and environment. You should not dismantle the hard drive because this could lead to further technical hitches. You may also approach a data recovery firm to retrieve deleted files and restore the hard drive´s functional condition. There are many data recovery firms out there.

Good Resources:

Hard Drive Clicking - Fix And Repair | Hard Drive Recovery Group 
Problem With Hard Drive Clicking - Thinkwiki

Does The Scientific Community Get Respect?

30 November, 2012 (19:52) | Science Fun, Technology | By: admin

A recent survey’s tracking of public confidence in the people running various institutions, surveyed every year or so since 1973, shows the scientific community ranked second among thirteen institutions, behind only medicine. Third was the military, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court. At the bottom of the list were Congress, the press, and TV.

future-einsteinRemarkably, among the thirteen institutions, the scientific community and the military were the only two that showed an increase in public confidence from 1973 to 1994. The survey data confirm the widespread drop in public confidence in U.S. institutions that virtually everyone has noted. For instance, public confidence in Congress, the executive branch of the federal government, and the press each dropped by about a factor of three over those two decades, and confidence in the leaders of education and organized religion dropped by about one-third. Confidence in the leaden of major companies dropped by about 15 percent.

Yet the percentage of adults who expressed a great deal of confidence in the scientific community rose slightly from 37 percent to 38 percent during the same two decades, with only slight year-to-year variations (low of 36 percent in 1977, high of 45 percent in 1987). Medicine retained its top ranking despite dropping over the two decades from a 54 percent to a 41 percent rating.

When the report was issued earlier this year, most of the attention was devoted to the public’s generally poor understanding of scientific vocabulary and concepts. Only 21 percent could give a satisfactory explanation of DNA and only 9 percent could explain what a molecule is. Only 44 percent knew that electrons are smaller than atoms, and 73 percent knew that the earth goes around the sun, meaning that 27 percent got it the other way around. As might be expected, only 44 percent said it was true that human beings developed from earlier species of animals. This less-than-majority agreement is probably at least as much a measure of religious resistance to the idea of evolution as a lack of knowledge. For example, a concept at least equally nonintuitive – that the continents on which we live move over periods of millions of years and will continue to do so – was correctly rated as true by 79 percent.

The more education, the more science education, and the more the respondents rated themselves as attentive to science, the better the scores. Males generally scored better, except on several biomedical-related questions.

Several questions asked about the nature of scientific inquiry. These asked about such things as the meaning of scientific study and the reasons for the use of control groups in experiments. The study found that only 23 percent of Americans understand the nature of scientific inquiry well enough to make informed judgments about the scientific basis of results reported in the media. Again, higher levels of education and greater exposure to science courses resulted in higher results.

So, as other commentators have noted before, the American public seems to have a strong appreciation for science but little substantive knowledge of it.

So what about the antiscience sentiment that has so concerned scientists – that has been the subject of books, articles, debates, and symposium sessions at the recent CSICOP twentieth-anniversary conference “Science in the Age of (Mis)Information”?

Well, this survey didn’t seek out attitudes among the populations where scientists say antiscience attitudes are rampant – in university humanities and social science departments and among other intellectuals and writers and opinion leaders. The concern, they say – and this was emphasized several times at the CSICOP conference by Nature’s John Maddox and others – is that antiscience attitudes are endemic among a relatively small but especially articulate and influential group of academics, including numbers of teachers of the next generation of liberal arts majors, our future politicians and business leaders.

Paul Gross and Norman Levitt’s much-discussed book on antiscience attitudes in academia, Higher Superstition, focused especially on the “peculiarly troubled relationship between the natural sciences and a large and influential segment of the American academic community,” which, “for convenience but with great misgiving,” they called “the academic left.”

“To put it bluntly,” they said, “the academic left dislikes science.” In addition to the academic left’s expected hostility to the uses to which science is put by the economic and military establishments, Gross and Levitt identify a “more surprising” open hostility to the content of science and to the assumption “which one might have supposed universal among educated people, that scientific knowledge is reasonably reliable and rests on a sound methodology” (p. 2).

In his new book Einstein, History, and Other Passions, subtitled “The Rebellion Against Science at the End of the Twentieth Century,” Gerald Holton indicts “a segment of academics, eloquent popularizers, and policy makers” for mounting “a challenge to the very legitimacy of science in our culture.” This movement, he says, “signals the resurgence of a recurring rebellion against some of the presuppositions of Western civilization derived from the Enlightenment period.” He adds, “The impact of this reviving rebellion on the life of the scientist, on the education of the young, on public understanding of science generally, and on the legislation of science support is measurably growing.”

It would be interesting to ask nonscience academics and other opinion leaders the same questions that are summarized in the Science & Engineering Indicators report and track the trends in their attitudes toward science over the years.

In the meantime, scientists can take some consolation from the fact that the Science & Engineering Indicators report shows that support and appreciation for science among the American adult general public remains strong and steady, while lamenting the very real concern about the public’s lack of understanding of the science they hold in such high esteem.

Public Less Positive about Certain Technologies

The one part of the National Science Board’s Science & Engineering Indicators survey that does show some public ambiguity toward science showed up in questions about the impact of several important science-based technologies.

The survey showed Americans evenly divided on the benefits and drawbacks of using nuclear power to generate electricity. This division has lasted more than a decade, say the survey authors.

A similar division exists over the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic engineering; but the balance was slightly toward the positive, and there is a clearer difference by level of education. College graduates hold a more positive view of such research.

As for the space program, the general public was evenly divided over the relative benefits and costs. College graduates and those who say they are interested in space exploration were very positive about the space program.

In all these areas, those attentive to the related policy issues continue to have strong positive views of the technologies and programs, say the survey authors. But the attentive public remains fairly small, approximately 10 percent of adults.

The Principles Behind Data Recovery

10 November, 2012 (19:56) | Technology | By: admin

Data recovery is always considered a tough task because there are very few unusual failures that occur in modern data systems. Most of the times the problems are never seen before and data recovery company has to deal with a new problem in every case. Experience helps but not entirely. Most of the data recovery system works on improvisation because when you see a different problem every time then it can be solved only with good improvisation techniques. Good data recovery company must be aware of all the advancements that have been made in data systems and hard drives because without hddiagramproper knowledge of this field, they will not be able to cope with unseen problems. Basics must be done correctly and only then they will be able to diagnose the proper fault. In the past people were not familiar with advanced techniques of data recovery and they just used software techniques to recover data. These days software techniques are not enough and data recovery companies go deep into hardware to recover your data. You must analyze the data recovery company and make sure that they have appropriate technicians that can deal with all kinds of software as well as hardware failures.

Features Of Good Data Recovery Company

If you are looking for a good and effective data recovery company to work with then you must know that there are certain features that must be present in the company. First of all make sure that company is experienced in this field and they have some successful cases on their back to prove their experience. There will be lots of false claims and guarantees provided to you but these claims and guarantees worth nothing if the company has no successful experience.

Success rates are also a factor because most of the companies have worked a lot in the field but they just do not have that kind of success rate. These sound very small things but everything matter when you want a capable and efficient data recovery company. If you search online you will come across many data recovery companies that will be ready to offer you their services but make sure to visit these companies on ground before hiring them. Check their tools and make sure that they have professionals that understand data recovery work thoroughly. There are companies that work on hit and trial basis but try and find some solid and efficient company with some real tools to help you.

Always Look For Qualified Data Recovery Company

Business has been digitized these days and every organization has got big data needs. There are special data servers that work 24/7 to make sure that company has continuous supply of data resources. Companies keep on expanding their data systems from time to time but problem starts when system crash occurs. System crashes are a common issue that every company goes through and the worst effect of these systems crashes is data loss. It can be on personal employee level or it can be at the highest level of organization. In the past people did not trusted digital data sources just because of this but now days people have got no choice but to go for digital data. Facilities have been improved, security of data systems is also improved but still you have to suffer a lot when data loss happens. You have to search for a qualified data recovery company to help you out because most of the data losses are very complex. They have specially designed tools, software and other related services that they use to make sure that your company does not lose any critical data. You just have to look for the best and most qualified data recovery company to help you out, such as this one.

It’s A Lifestyle, Friends

22 October, 2012 (15:31) | Learning, Technology | By: admin

That passionate appreciation of the wonders of the universe revealed by science was certainly central to his effectiveness in attracting people all over the planet to study, teach, and do science. But there was more. Carl Sagan was absolutely convinced, as am I, of an urgent imperative for science education. We live in a society utterly dependent on science and high technology. We cannot hope to maintain even the limited degree of democracy that we now have if the great majority of us are alienated from the language and methods of science. The byproducts of the scientific and technological revolution of our time are a series of complex choices that require an informed electorate. How long will we remain free if those decisions are made by a tiny, unchallenged elite, speaking a language that only a few of us comprehend?

sci-litFor three days the delegates assembled in the opulent main lounge of the Union League Club of Chicago, surrounded by paintings by masters such as Innes and Monet Attached by wire to the forty-foot ceiling, and looking puny among the grand nineteenth-century decor, hung a scale-model of Sputnik I, the symbol of the event. Jon Miller recalled how Sputnik’s “beep . . . beep . . . beep” sent shockwaves through the U.S. body politic, triggering the space race and prompting a majority of people, experts and laymen alike, to conclude that the United States had fallen behind the Soviets in science and technology.

Most Americans at the time held the complacent belief, based on post-war prosperity at home and economic dominance in world trade, that the U.S. scientific and technical establishment ruled the competition. But a poll taken in the weeks after the launch showed that nearly 70 percent of the public thought that “our schools have put too little stress on science” (Opinion Research Corporation survey, January 1958).

In response to increasing pressure on the issue, President Eisenhower appointed James R. Killian Jr., the head of MIT, as his special assistant, charged with reinvigorating the nation’s space effort. NASA came into existence within a year, and over the next two decades the National Science Foundation (NSF) would spend more than $1 billion on programs to enhance education in the sciences and engineering.

Miller described the importance of Sputnik I this way: “[Sputnik] was a significant event, because it caused a major reexamination of education in the United States, increased funding for virtually all science and technology, attracted large numbers of talented young people into science, and stimulated a public curiosity about space that continues to today.”

What Is Scientific Literacy?

One of the conference speakers was physicist and author James Trefil. Trefil served as a collaborator with the late E. D. Hirsch in writing The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. His ideas reflect the same principle that motivated the book – that scientific literacy for a nonspecialist boils down to having enough basic knowledge about science to be able to understand a newspaper article or to speak familiarly about the subject in a general discussion. After working with Hirsch, Trefil published another book in the same vein called 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Science. Again, what he argues is that scientifically literate citizens should be conversant with the major conclusions of the basic sciences and able to comprehend a nontechnical presentation of scientific ideas that draw upon this shared foundation of knowledge.

Many participants felt that scientific literacy involves more than just having command over a prescribed set of factoids. Jon Miller said scientific literacy is about having the rock-bottom skills necessary to “participat[e] in the modern world.” More and more jobs will require technical training; everyday decisions will increasingly require an ability to reason about technical issues; and public policy debates will more and more rely upon scientific data and conclusions. In short, the ability to grasp the essentials of a scientific argument – to gauge the validity and implications of scientific and technical information – will be indispensable to every citizen of a twenty-first-century democracy.

Scientific Literacy and Fate Control

Senta Raizen, a Ph.D. chemist and director of the Washington-based National Center for Improving Science Education, says that scientific literacy does concern national priorities such as economic competitiveness, but more profoundly, it is about “empowerment for the individual.” She says it is about “fate control.”

“If I’m told by my doctor, ‘You decide what treatment you want for your breast cancer,’ and I have no way of dealing with that question at all, then I could be totally at the mercy of some quack’s opinion,” said Raizen. “For me, it’s a question of whether I can handle the issues that cut close to me and are important to the society in which I live.”

According to John Durant, a professor of the history of science at Imperial College and the assistant director of the National Museum of Science and Industry in London, all of us live in societies that are “more closely dependent on science and technology than ever before in history.”

“The dangers of not knowing how one’s own society works range from a general sense of alienation that people who are undereducated can have to practical and political disadvantages,” said Durant.

A number of conferees echoed this idea: Scientific literacy, in an age dominated by science and technology, is not just about individual survival. It also takes into consideration such intangibles as personal dignity and a sense of belonging to the society in which we live. People who feel frightened or bewildered by science and technology may feel estranged from a society in which science and technology play a central role.

The question of the public’s understanding of science and technology also vitally concerns the continued democratic character of societies governed by popularly elected representatives. If progressively fewer average citizens have the knowledge to become active in debates over scientific or technical policy issues, at what point would the people lose their effectiveness in monitoring elected officials? Could a scientific/technical elite one day assume an unchallenged role in making decisions that affect the masses of ordinary people?

Miller estimates that about one in ten Americans are “attentive” to science and technology policy issues, a level that has remained stable for more than a decade. Of this group, most attend to only a tiny fraction of current debates. A certain amount of “issue specialization” is inevitable, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time people have to attend to public affairs. The question becomes, “How many people attentive to any particular issue does it take to serve as a “surrogate public?”

Miller’s work in assessing the American public’s attentiveness to the space program, for instance, reveals that about 12 percent of the U.S. population – or about 22 million people – express a high level of interest and are well-informed on space-related developments. This core group exercises a disproportionately large influence over space policy, reflecting the pattern of a “weak-party strong-interest-group political system.” What Miller says about the space program could as easily be applied to any issue involving science and technology.

Is 12 percent, or 22 million individuals, big enough to be thought of as democratic? Science and technology issues pose a special problem for the specialization model. Apart from the normal distribution of personal and profession interests, meaningful participation may require some minimal level of scientific understanding to be able to comprehend the arguments about a pending public policy issue. Given this dual set of hurdles, we might agree that an attentive public is the 20 million plus range is minimally acceptable, but urge that educational policies and practices seek to produce a large number of attentives in future generations.

Another, consideration is maintaining the ethical standards and integrity of science itself. When the work of scientists has an impact directly on people’s lives, people have an obligation to ask tough questions and challenge the scientists’ findings, when and if that seems appropriate. This is just an extension of the way science is done. Having the public involved provides another dimension of accountability.

Paths to Scientific Literacy

It is hardly surprising that people who stay in school longer are typically more scientifically literate. Surveys show a definite correlation between level of education and knowledge about science. The primary goal of increasing scientific literacy then becomes keeping people involved in formal education for as long as practical and necessary, realizing that not all people have the same interests or abilities. The second is to package the subject matter of science in ways that make it attractive, while still conveying its substance.

Informal education also plays a vital part in promoting scientific literacy, especially for continuing education. Museums, zoos, arboretums, conservatories, planetaria, aquariums all help disseminate knowledge about science and help make science engaging for a mass audience.

“It’s very striking when you look at kids in science museums,” said John Durant, “to see that most of them seem to really be enjoying what they’re doing and engaging in what they’re doing. That’s a clue to the role that the informal sector can have.”

Also key is the part played by the mass media. Conference speaker Mary Wooley, president of Research America, a science advocacy group active in the area of biotechnology, said it is crucial that the media have “a reality-based understanding of science.”

Too often the media fall short of Wooley’s recommendation. Incapable of understanding technical details, many journalists tend to romanticize science stories. In the case of Sputnik, they focused on the speculative question of life on other planets or on the then-still-fantastical idea of visiting the Moon. The same preoccupation could be seen recently in the broadcast medias coverage of the Mars Pathfinder mission. The spectacular geological data that was returned, showing a more Earth-like Mars than had been previously thought, was hardly discussed in the mass media. Instead, journalist after journalist repeated the same question: “Did Pathfinder turn up any evidence for life on Mars?” They kept asking this, even though Jet Propulsion Laboratory representatives made it clear from the beginning that the mission was never designed to look for any evidence of Martian life, past or present. The media just assumed people wanted to hear about the imaginative equivalent of “little green men,” not about the real science that was being done.

Sensationalistic press coverage of scientific discoveries does nothing to advance public understanding of science. For every Nova, there seem to be a dozen shows about UFOs or strange mysteries of the occult. Speaker Larry Gross, a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication, emphasized that television is not well-suited for the dissemination of scientific ideas, because the medium stresses “limited dialogue and visual action.”

Print media do a better job but reach far fewer people. Even the daily newspapers have a tendency to sensationalize science. George Hersbach, president and CEO of a biotech manufacturing company in the Netherlands called Pharming Health Care Products, spoke on this topic. His company uses transgenic cows and rabbits to produce chemicals, manufactured normally in a healthy human body, for patients whose bodies are unable to make them. The press and broadcast media tend to run stories about Pharming that stress loosely related, but controversial, subjects such as human cloning. The actual work of the company hardly gets mentioned. Sometimes the full text of an article presents a more representative view of Pharming’s business, but the headlines and lead paragraphs don’t. “Nobody reads the whole article,” said Hersbach. “The articles could be good, but the headlines bad.”

The conference examined many other questions about public attitudes toward science. For instance, political decisions regarding research funding can often be influenced by popular perceptions. From a strictly self-interested perspective, the scientific community should understand how the public views science and technology.

Another concern of conference attendees was the responsibility of scientists to earn the public’s trust. Some conferees suggested that scientists had mainly themselves to blame for any problems in the public’s view of science. They felt scientists must pay more attention to the moral implications of their work and the uses to which others put it. However, the concern that came across most forcefully was that the continued health of our democratic society will depend more and more on having a citizenry that is informed about science and technology and that can reason effectively on such issues.

The “Truth” In Science

2 July, 2012 (04:25) | Science Fun | By: admin

Science is already chastised as a new religion and scientists as its high priests by a wide range of critics, from followers of Thomas Kuhn to deconstructivists. For science has become too successful. To remedy this situation, its detractors the sociologists, philosophers, and historians of science – those who know everything about science, except what it is – turn to spite and postmodernism. Scientists hunker down to escape the flak and, crouching low, disclaim that their work has any connection with truth.

whatThere is an understandable moral cowardice in this, but it is unjustified and, at heart, inexcusable.

Of course science is a creation by humankind, and we are fallible. Of course science is a cultural artifact reflecting its time and place. How could it be otherwise? We do not need the relativists to tell us this.

But, though science does not seek The Truth, it does indeed seek truths, and the truths of science are unlike social truths and unlike moral truths. Within human societies there is always great need for pluralism and tolerance. Science, however, is not a social or a moral truth, it is not a way of bringing disparate ideas together, harmoniously, peacefully, democratically. Science is not pluralistic, nor is it tolerant.

In science, pluralism and tolerance will imperceptibly fade into relativism, where there is no such thing as external truth, objective facts, intrinsic, self-sustaining reality, where there is only “my truth” and “your truth.” There is never any need to compare, contrast, question, doubt, argue, seek to learn from what the data say and what the Universe tells us. When this happens, truth – for there is such a thing – is in dire peril. And science ceases to function.

This is the opposite extreme from the fanatic, the person who is certain he is in possession of The Truth. Each extreme, that of the fanatic and that of the relativist, is deadly, for it can tear civilization apart, the one where There Is No Truth, the other where not only is there Truth but I Am in Possession of It, and therefore You had better watch out!

What is truth? said jesting Pilate, not staying for an answer. The linguistic philosopher Alfred Tarski replied that “it is all that is the case,” it is “analogous to the function of true in ordinary language.” (In other words, truth is what happens to be true.) This, we are informed, is a “semantical theory of truth.” I begin to suspect that Gell-Mann’s doctor is a wise man.

Perhaps we can do better. Perhaps we can say truth is what is out there, whether we know it to be there or not. We have nothing to do with its creation, but if we are diligent and careful, and perhaps lucky, we can discover truth, bits and pieces of it. Other philosophers believe truth is to be found if we sit very still and think very deeply about it.

Sitting still and thinking is not in and of itself a bad thing, it is what the philosophers like to call “necessary but insufficient,” for there is also the pressing need to go out and look, to experiment, observe, collect and make some sense out of the information with which we are in some danger of being drowned, once we open the floodgates of empiricism.

The empirical approach is, as we all know, the scientific approach, and there is nothing particularly new or thrilling about it. It was put forward as a system by David Hume 250 years ago, and even he harbored dark doubts about it. It tells us that what was true about external phenomena is likely to remain true – likely but not certain. This is because external phenomena obey deeper truths, truths we may not know of. Hume went on to argue, in a troubled frame of mind, that just because the sun had risen every morning for countless eons, that is no guarantee that a morning will not come some day when it does not rise. We even know, as Hume did not, that such a morning will indeed come some day, though not for a few billion years yet. This very knowledge of Earth’s doom, sad though it may be (for one half of it will inevitably fry as surely as the other half inescapably freezes), is what gives the lie to both fanatic and relativist.

For it will happen. Whatever the fanatic or relativist proclaims to be “the case” it will happen. It will happen because: 1) truth is external to man; and 2) truth exists. Fanatic and relativist can shout and stamp and proclaim all they wish. The day will come when the Earth’s rotation and revolution will be the same duration. The truth is out there (sorry, relativist) and not in us (hard luck, fanatic), it may or may not make us free. In fact it is more than likely to make us very uneasy, for we realize we cannot control it, cannot bend it to our will, cannot make it conform and perform to our little likes and dislikes, and it does not give a damn. It is sovereign. And it does not need us to tell it what it is and what it must do. Science tells us this.

And this is why fanatic and relativist, the one who is certain he holds truth in his clutches and the other who is just as certain that everyone holds it in his and in her clutches and each one clutches a different thing, are jealous of and angry with science and would destroy it if they could. For it tells them both they are not only fools, but impotent fools. And so if they cannot destroy this terrible message they can at least destroy the messenger, the bearer of ill-tidings, the truth-bringer, science and all its works.

And what does our noble truth-seeker, the scientist, say to all this? He says, What has science to do with truth? I have my petri dishes and my statistical tables to tend to. Don’t bother me with trifles and philosophy.

The truth is not trifling nor is it a philosophic point for pre-Socratics and post-moderns to conjure with. Science may be a reflection of our age, but if it is good science it is something far more. Truth is not a relative measure for each of us to make in our inertial frame of reference. It is what is out there.

If the fanatics and the relativists wish to ignore the truth that is out there, let them. Perhaps we all are in need of Gell-Mann’s doctor’s prescription. But when scientists deny that their work involves what is true, what is the real state of things, then what does science become except an elaborate, intricate game, one to be played or put away in the closet, whichever we choose.

We have no such choice, there is no such game. And we had better stop fooling ourselves that there is.