Yesterday I gave a talk at a seminar organised by my friends in the Djurhamn project. This was interesting from a scholarly, a professional and a social point of view.
Not least piquant was that I ended up chatting briefly with two ladies whom I have criticised sharply in various media over the Ales stenar sign-post debacle. One was very friendly, telling me that she welcomed my voicing frank opinions, in a way that was too sweet to appear condescending. The other, whom I once offended pretty badly already during the Kristian Berg conflict, had a more restrained demeanour. In her talk she told us that she doesn’t like the word fÃ¶rmedling (“dissemination”) in science popularisation, as it “presupposes an hierarchical relationship between the speaker and the audience”. This helps to explain why the Ales stenar signs turned out like they did.
My perspective on this is that scholars and scientists who do not know their stuff better than the average Joe should not get paid. Also, in my opinion there is no reason for scientists and scholars to cooperate with those few popularisers and science journalists who have this kind of hyper-relativistic lack of respect for specialised knowledge. I certainly don’t claim to know all there currently is to know about Swedish prehistory, but I have made its study my full-time occupation since 1990 and I do know quite a bit more than the average tourist, thank you very much.
The day ended with my first Skype conference, as paternal duties kept me from attending the October board meeting of the Swedish Skeptics in meatspace. How cool!