the map is not the territory
The mighty mighty Cursor relayed news of a little "frame war" 'tween ScienceBloggers - Chris Mooney and Matthew Nisbet on one side and P.Z. Myers on the other: Mooney and Nisbet say that science must be "sold", while Myers says nevermind the bollocks, here's the rigor.
Both, in my eyes, completely miss the point. I've read their WashPost editorial a couple of times, and Mooney and Nisbet seem to have a poor understanding about the frames versus facts thing, as well as what a frame's really all about - indeed, it seems to me they're really advocating spin, even though they say they're not, and overall they come across as patronizing eggheads.
I'll leave Lakoff and others to pick over the Mooney-Nisbet article, but I was surprised at what Doc Myers wrote as a response, driving off the cliff with his assesment of the religion versus science thing. This one crucial paragraph caught my eye, all chock-a-block with straw people, places, and things that I doubt would meet his own strict standards:
No, science and religion cannot get along. They offer mutually contradictory explanations for the world, and it is bizarrely naive to pretend that people who believe that the literal events of Genesis are an account of the original sin of which we must be redeemed by faith in Jesus can accept a scientific explanation of human origins. The 'frame' there is that one side has an account of chance and complexity and an oh-so-awkward affiliation with ancient apes that is based on evidence, and the other side has threats of hellfire if you don't believe in an Eden, a Fall, and a dead god reborn. Evolution is a strong and explicit threat to that faith.
It's hard to argue that, because it's not totally clear to me what "an explanation for the world" is. In all humility, however, I can attest that people who strive to understand the world would generally agree that there is no such thing as "an ultimate truth" - what I assume Myers is referring to here - and to subscribe to science and science alone as the key to that ultimate truth is just as "bizzarely naive" as it would be to do via a fundamentalist worldview. While science does in fact offer us a language and way to describe how things happen, both science and religion are still, and have always been, cultural creations.
(Myers does his argument no justice by falling back on the notion that religious faith = a fundamentalist worldview, i.e., that "the other side has threats of hellfire if you don't believe in an Eden." Yes indeed, fundies do suck, but there's been any number of believers that have gotten along okay with science just fine since the turn of the 20th century)
Mooney and Nisbet have the right idea - looking toward a cultural common ground to better explain scientific concepts - but they're trying to play baseball on a hockey rink. P.Z., unfortunately, mistakes the map for the territory.
UPDATE - More on the Nisbet-Mooney side from tristero over @ Hullabaloo.