Tag Archives: optimism

Is everything “broken”?

Photo: Chair (cropped), Zen Sutherland via Flickr.com CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

No, it isn’t, of course, but you’d sure think it is if you chat around the water cooler, pay attention to Twitter, or read blogs or Nature News.  Publishing is broken. Tenure is broken. Peer review is broken. Academia is broken. Reassuringly (I guess), at FiveThirtyEight Christie Aschwanden recently posted a long essay arguing that science isn’t broken. It’s an excellent and persuasive read, but the fact that it exists at all is pretty good evidence that a lot of people think science is broken. It’s not just science, either: Google will return lots of hits for “politics is broken”, “health care is broken”, “the music industry is broken”, and many more. What a broken world, we tell each other, we’re living in!

Why is our discourse so rich in “X is broken”? Continue reading