Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


The language of science is largely metaphorical. Scientists rely on metaphor and analogy to make sense of scientific phenomena and communicate their findings to each other and to the public. Yet, despite their utility, metaphors can also constrain scientific reasoning, contribute to public misunderstandings, and, at times, inadvertently reinforce stereotypes and messages that undermine the goals of inclusive science. This paper 1) examines the generative potential of metaphors to the advancement of scientific knowledge and science communication, 2) highlights the ways in which outdated metaphors may limit scientific inquiry and contribute to public misunderstandings, and 3) critically analyzes the implications of cryptic social and political messages embedded in common metaphors in the life sciences.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.