Science communication: fault lines between scientific and indigenous knowledge
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Local or traditional knowledge is developed over centuries in communities inhabiting specific environments an often exhibiting a variety of cultural attributes. Within such domains, sustained efforts of knowledge production are revealed by the merging of practical know-how with specific belief systems, as well as local technological innovation. At more or less the same time, for somewhat different reasons, the global knowledge growth of the natural sciences graduated into distinct disciplines, each with its own methodological and theoretical framework. The focus of discussions among science communicators about scientific knowledge and indigenous knowledge is usually from either a sociological or an epistemological point of view. In the sociological field, pseudoscience and the social aspects thereof are often conspicuously in the foreground, while the epistemologists are inclined to rate the degree of order and planning higher in so-called modern science that in local traditional knowledge systems. The tension between these sciences not only characterizes the science communication process that takes place, but also illustrates the dilemma faced by policymakers in their efforts to ensure the fair and democratic take-up and dissemination of scientific findings.