Scientific Consensus and the Public Trust of Science

October 26, 2018 3:00 PM
Room EDUC 104- Department of Philosophy

Please join us for the third talk of the Philosophy department colloquium this Friday, October 26th, in room EDUC 104, from 3 to 4:30pm. Dr. Matthew H. Slater is coming from Bucknell University for a talk untitled "Scientific Consensus and the Public Trust of Science." The talk will be followed by a public discussion and some refreshments. See you all there and then!
It is well known that large segments of the American lay public doubt (or outright reject) the best science available on a range of ideologically-entangled issues. Surprisingly, in some quarters, this rejection grows more confident as scientific literacy increases. What can concerned scientists, science educators, and science communicators do to improve this situation? I will argue that we need to take a step back and think more carefully about our goals for the public’s understanding of science and advance a more socially-oriented conception of scientific literacy. For it is only in the context of an understanding of the social processes underlying scientific work that the epistemic significance of scientific consensus becomes clear. I will close with some suggestions for shifts in our communication and education strategies on contentious scientific issues.