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Briefly review the debate over the nature of popular science as a means of legitimising the scientific enterprise.

“Popular science is more interested in legitimating science than enlightening the public.” Select three samples of popular science from books, magazines, and/or television documentaries and critically assess whether they provide support for or against this claim. Your answer should briefly review the debate over the nature of popular science as a means of legitimising the scientific enterprise. Your three samples can be from different sciences or disciplines but may also be from the same discipline or issue. Thus one could take the case of evolutionary biology and examine the recernt film Creation (on Charles Darwin), Richard Dawkins’ popular account of evolution in The Greatest Show on Earth and recent articles on evolution published in New Scientist magazine. Or one could choose entirely different disciplines (e.g. quantum physics, genetics, computer science) and examine the similarities and differences in each case. And remember: what is missing from popular science accounts is often as significant as what is included. (1750 words) List of references required at the end and is not included in word count.


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