El lenguaje científico, la divulgación de la ciencia y el riesgo de las pseudociencias


Scientific language is characterized by its specific characteristics. Common general words appear here with specific meanings, frequently different from the ones used in the daily language. Scientific discourse is also characterized by the great relative amount of specific vocabulary, exclusive of this discourse. This makes scientific language to reflect a certain degree of opacity, particularly to people alien to its use; this in turn creates a sort of barrier which in practice isolates the scientific community from the rest of society. It is no surprise that specialized scientific language is often employed by some scientists –those who believe themselves to be a part of an intellectual élite– as a sort of communicative barrier, which keeps them at a “prudential” distance away from the laypersons and distinguishes them from the rest of people.

Fortunately these elitist scientists are nowadays a minority, for most of them understand that science must, above all, establish a fluid relationship with society. And here comes popularization of science. For science to reach society in its widest extension, and to be understandable, it must get rid of this incomprehensible scientific jargon in order to adopt a closer and more quotidian language. All this collides with an opposite trend: the adoption by the “pseudo-sciences”, such as homeopathy, osteopathy, or psychoanalysis, of a deliberately opaque language which imitates scientific language with the sole aim of arm these pseudo-sciences with a patina of respectability, which serves to protect themselves hence hindering the access to them and the comprehension of the general public.


scientific discourse; popularization; pseudo-sciences; reception; society

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