A War on Science? Vaccines, Climate Change, GMOs, and the Role of Science

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Marriott Balcony B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Scientists and science advice are playing an increasing role in public policy issues. The validity of the science involved with controversial issues has come to be the focus of much public debate. When this happens, the science itself is often politicized, which can have distressing implications. At other times, the complex social, political, economic, and moral issues involved in public policy deliberations are overlooked or oversimplified, in favor of a narrow focus on the relevant science. In both instances – when science is politicized and when political issues are “scientized” – science and scientists are placed in awkward and often problematic positions. Critics of the political ramifications of scientific advice are often criticized as being “anti-science” or of waging a “war on science.” Is this really about challenging science, or it is just that “science” is now so powerful, it is valuable to have “science” on your side? This session brings together historians, scientists, and philosophers to explore current issues: vaccines, GMOs, and climate change. At root in these cases are concerns about the appropriate role of science in contemporary public affairs. The scholars involved in this session are experts on issues in which science, public opinion, and democratic deliberation intersect.
Mark A. Largent, Michigan State University
Christian Young, Alverno College
Anita Guerrini, Oregon State University
Roberta L. Millstein, University of California, Davis
Mark A. Largent, Michigan State University
Addressing Vaccine Anxieties and Combatting Anti-Vaxxers
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