2015 Archives

Lecture series takes aim at growing trend of science denial in America

First Lecture: Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes answers, “Should We Trust Science?”

Scientific Literacy Series

Science Lab

Future Lectures in the Series:


  • Nov. 5, 2015 — SMU faculty panel: “Scientific Research and Public Responses” Read more.
       
  • Feb. 4, 2016 — Professor Stephen Sekula discusses the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity as part of the Anniversary Series of the Godbey Lectures
       
  • April 7, 2016 — Stephen Ornes: “Real and Imaginary Hazards in Writing about Science”
       
  • April 8, 2016 — Panel discussion: “Teaching and Writing about Science”

Related Links:

October 29, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – The American public increasingly views with skepticism the science behind topics ranging from the safety of vaccines to climate change.

Harvard University Professor Naomi Oreskes, who wrote the introduction to Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, will explore why corporations are so invested in fueling skepticism of science at an SMU lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium.

Harvard Professor Naomi OreskesOreskes’ appearance marks the opening lecture in a series about scientific literacy, scheduled to run through April 2016, presented by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute (DCII) and the Allman Family Lecture Series.

“We have to rebuild our faith in science,” says Caroline Brettell, SMU Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of the DCII. “If we are increasingly walking down a path where we don’t believe in science – where it’s questioned in political debates and not defended – we’re in trouble.”

Oreskes, a professor of the history of science and an affiliated professor of the earth and planetary sciences, is more familiar with science deniers than most. Her 2004 essay, “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” was cited in An Inconvenient Truth, drawing the ire of many who oppose the science of global warming.

“Polls show that among ordinary Americans, understanding and acceptance of science is very high, 70-80%, but organized corporate denial is still going strong,” Oreskes says, “As the reality of the (climate change) problem gets clearer, the only way to prevent action is to continue to deny that reality, attack the science and distract people with bogus arguments and pseudo-science.”

A reception for Oreskes will begin at 5:30 p.m. at McCord Auditorium, followed by the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

At a Glance

What: Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes discusses the threat of corporate science denial in the United States.

Who’s invited: The event is free and open to the public.

When: 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. lecture, Thursday, October 29

Where: McCord Auditorium, SMU’s Dallas Hall, 3225 University Blvd.

Sponsor: Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute