Soapbox Science

Welcome to Soapbox Science

We’re almost finished introducing you to each of the blogs in the new look nature.com blogs network. We’ve already heard about the blogs run by journal and portal editors such as the News blog, the Spoonful of Medicine, the Sceptical Chymist,  StepwiseNaturejobsTrade Secrets IndigenusHouse of Wisdom,Methagora and Free Association. We’ve also heard about some of the blogs run by the nature.com Communities team; London and NYC. Now we introduce the Soapbox Science guest blog….

Take a stand on the soapbox!

Welcome to Soapbox Science, the nature.com guest blog hosted by the nature.com Communities team.

We aim to publish some of the most thought-provoking, informative science-inspired posts in the blogosphere. Soapbox Science posts could be controversial, opinionated, speculative or just to inform and may be written by any scientist, science communicator, author or science project coordinator with something to say. Contributors might already have a blog elsewhere and want to share their latest project here or maybe they don’t blog and just want to step onto the soapbox to let us know what’s on their mind.

Since Soapbox Science‘s inauguration in September 2010, the topics discussed on the blog have included new tools and techniquesthe history of sciencephilosophy, psychology or ethics, details of expeditionsoutreach activitiesscience organsiations and the subjects presented in popular science books. Don’t hesiate to get in touch if you have something to say about any of these areas.

Instant replay

In our archives you will already find diverse contributions from authors located around the world. Some of our more popular posts in 2011 are reviewed below:

It just doesn’t feel right – What determines our morality? and how consistent are our ethical judgments? In this provocative post, Simon Laham suggests that our sense of right and wrong may not be built on as solid foundations as we might like to think:

“When prodded, people’s moral foundations tend to wobble a little bit. Although many of us like to think that our moralities are firmly grounded in principles – thou shalt not kill, love thy neighbour as thyself – and that moral judgments spring from the logical application of such principles, it just so happens that many of our moral judgments aren’t driven by the rational, deliberative contemplation of moral rules at all. Rather they are driven by intuitions.”

Risk perception – Why are we so bad at determining the risk involved in certain situations? David Ropeik (who was also a panelist at the inaugural Science Online NYC event) explains the problem:

“…no matter how right our perceptions feel, we get risk wrong. We worry about some things more than the evidence warrants (vaccines, nuclear radiation, genetically modified food), and less about some threats than the evidence warns (climate change, obesity, using our mobiles when we drive). That produces what I have labeled The Perception Gap, the gap between our fears and the facts, which is a huge risk in and of itself.”

Science owes much to both Christianity and the Middle Ages – Author James Hannam explores the relationship between science and religion:

“Few topics are as open to misunderstanding as the relationship between faith and reason. The ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role to play in the history of science than commonly believed.”

Fractals: How nature just keeps on giving Jovan Nedic shares his passion for explaining interesting geometries with some pretty pictures and some interesting examples:

“River networks, clouds, coral reefs, leaves, lightning bolts, birds wings, broccoli, and the cardiovascular system are just a few examples that illustrate the abundance of this fractal pattern in nature. So there must be a reason as to why this is a naturally occurring phenomena and more importantly, could we exploit this in some way?”

Talk back

If you’ve enjoyed these, we’ve got more great posts lined up for 2012 and invite you to join the conversations. If you’d like to contribute a guest post, make a topic suggestion, or nominate someone, please get in touch.

**The views expressed in each blog post belong to the author and are not necessarily shared by Nature Publishing Group.

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