Discussion Role of Science in Society

Learning Goal: I’m working on a physics discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

What is the role of science in society? Here is a snippet from a paper by Brito, Saraiva, and de Lima (Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography, 2012, Vol 2, Issue 5).

“What is the role of science in society? Is science improving our ability of living in a sustainable way? Does science communicate effectively with society? In a societal point of view, science should provide solutions to our daily problems, as well as to technical and philosophical issues. Science should enhance the quality level of responses provided to society. On the other hand, science requires a high level of support from society. The financial support is perhaps the most visible, and of course, a critical issue in managing science. However, science also needs to engage in communication with society. Feedback and understanding from the common citizen is essential to improve science and to protect the natural environment. Nevertheless, communication between scientists, managers and policy makers still represents a major challenge.”

So what do you think is the role of science (and specifically astronomy) in society? Why should a society want to keep an institution such as science around? Should science play a role in addressing scientific illiteracy? Given your answers to the previous questions, is science in the USA doing a good job in that role? What criteria should be used to judge whether or not science is successfully meeting its societal role? Conversely, does society have a role or obligation to science? Is society doing its part to meet that obligation? Address any or all of these questions in your post.

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