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Dialogue is better than monologue!

I’ve already asked Bev to pass on my thanks to everyone at FDL for the hosting of the recent FDL book salon on Andrew McKillop and my new book The Doomsday Machine – looking critically at the arguments put for nuclear energy. Inevitably, I guess, the comments however tended to be about side issues, such as the links between Climate Change politics and nuclear lobbying.

On the other hand, it was really a nice surprise to have someone as expert on the issues as Gregg Levine running it! I had read several of his pieces, like “New York Times, GE Throw Energy Industry a Party; You Were Not Invited Monday” (April 16, 2012) and these raise lots of issues that cry out for further debate and investigation!

The trouble is, the format of an FDL  page does not really allow it. Generally speaking, web pages with comments are barely interactive, even if they do allow for more feedback than conventional media. As for the ‘live book salon’, this is a little better, but try as I might on the day, I could not get more than one exchange on an issue with a reader on any one topic, and the same thing with Gregg as the salon host.

How can we improve on that? I have seen sites using slightly different tools that do allow for more true ‘interaction.’ Discussion boards, where someone, like  Gregg, starts a thread, and then posts are successively added underneath, over a period maybe of a week, do seem to be able to dig deeper and to allow for rapid post and response exchanges. Obviously FDL has a range of topics and interests, but perhaps a discussion board could complement all its existing features

Comments please!

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Martin Cohen is a philosopher and social scientist and author of 8 popular books and has been translated into around 20 languages. His most recent books are Mind Games (Blackwell-Wiley 2010) and Philosophy for Dummies (UK edition, Wiley 2011). He wrote an influential series of articles in the Times Higher (London) arguing that Climate Change politics was based on corrupted science and irrational thinking.

During the 1980s he was one of the first to highlight water quality issues in Europe and wrote an influential briefing paper on the topic for the European Parliament. In the 1990s he was instrumental in reversing a controversial decision to build a motorway through the Yorkshire Moors in the north of England, and in 2002 he was invited by the Chinese governent to Yunnan to explain how environmental rights and indigenous communities rights needed to be treated both seriously and holisitcally.