Popular image of Biotechnology = BADPosted: April 17, 2008
I came across this report on attitudes to biotech arising from its portrayal in films, by the Australian Institute for Biotechnology, and it made for some pretty interesting reading.
We all like a good yarn, and in the last 10 years or so we’ve seen some films that were absolute crackers where science – and particularly biotechnology – has been central to the plot. I’m thinking of Jurassic Park and Gattaca and The Island and you can probably think of more.
A problem arises, though, when creating an exciting story leads writers to take liberties with the scientific principles: for the audience, probably unfamiliar with the technologies, a degree of accuracy is then assumed which is simply inaccurate.
Cloning is a perfect example: the processes involved are never accurately shown and the outcomes are almost universally bad/evil… Which leads most people to have at least a subconscious belief that the same technology in the real world is bad.
I wonder if schools, at least here in Australia, are doing enough to counter this trend? Or are we too afraid to be seen to adopt a position that we, as educators, are complicit in this widespread ignorance?