Where science communication can help? Most people including myself don’t want to admit their ignorance. And yet we’re all ignorant about most things in life. Some people don’t know a lot about astronomy or physics.
Some people can’t really tell you how their car works. To some people anatomy is just a bunch of vaguely squishy things inside our bodies. But in order to do that, we first need to admit that we’re ignorant, which is incredibly hard – harder than we think.
How do airplanes work? What’s the political structure of your country? What’s the capital of your country? How do you raise livestock? How does evolution work? What’s the French word for “ignorant“?
And here’s where science communication can help. There are few very few areas in life where people are willing to admit their ignorance. A public event on a “neutral” topic like science is one of those places.
Have you ever been to a science lecture, and listen as the audience asked questions at the end of the talk? Each and every one of those questions was a single human being opening up, allowing themselves to be vulnerable, and admit their ignorance.
For most people most of the time, this admission of ignorance and willingness to be vulnerable started and ended with that single question. But in some cases, they learned something without realizing they learned it.
They learned that they can open up, be ignorant, and be respected and praised and have their curiosity satisfied. Perhaps, without knowing it, they use that moment to become a little more brave than they were before, and allow themselves to admit their ignorance about something else.