Michael Specter: Irrational rejection of science threatening our lives
Information is the key to life. We want to know what to eat, how to protect our environment, what risks to avoid and what to do if illness strikes. But when it comes to acquiring information, it is the best of times and the worst of times. It is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness. Newspapers, television, radio and of course the Internet bombard us with information at an unprecedented rate, but when it comes to scientific issues the quality of the information is variable. Television doctors entice us with claims of breathtaking breakthroughs, global warming is hotly debated, evolution is questioned and the peer-reviewed literature, our supposed gold standard, brims with flawed studies. The challenge is to separate fact from folly, foolishness from wisdom. The 2013 Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium aims to do just that. Our four invited speakers have all forged stellar careers based on separating the wheat from the chaff and will explore diverse areas of science as they answer the common question, “Is that a fact?”
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