April 20, 2007
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D., is a professor in the School of Communication at American University. His research tracks scientific and environmental controversies, examining the interactions between experts, journalists, and various publics. In this area, Nisbet has published numerous peer-reviewed studies, with his work having been cited more than 100 times over the past couple years. In addition to his research, Nisbet co-authored with Chris Mooney the much-talked-about Columbia Journalism Review cover story on intelligent design, and he has written for other popular outlets such as Foreign Policy and Geotimes magazines. He also contributes the semi-regular “Science and the Media” column for Skeptical Inquirer online, and he tracks current events related to strategic communication at his blog Framing Science, which was recently named by the NY Daily News as a “top political blog.”
Nisbet is a frequent invited speaker at conferences and meetings across the U.S. and Canada, and he is often called upon for his expert analysis by major news organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell University and an A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College. From 1997 to 1999, he worked as Public Relations Director for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry at the Center for Inquiry-Transnational.
In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Nisbet explores the issue of “framing science” in the public mind, how scientists may be failing at effectively communicating the importance of the implications of science for society, and steps the science community may take to more expertly sell their science to a disinterested public. He also argues about Richard Dawkins and his effect on the public appreciation of science, and the impact of linking atheism with science for issues such as stem-cell research, teaching evolution in the public schools, and global warming.