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Jean Goodwin: Communicating Science to the Partisan Tribes
WhenFriday, Oct. 27, 2017, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room120
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsScience, Technology & Society Studies (STSS), Communication, and the Simpson Center
Target Audiencefaculty, graduate students, undergraduates

Jean Goodwin (J.D., Ph.D. SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Communication, North Carolina State University) speaks on science communication in an era of heightened partisanship. We used to be concerned about the way motivated reasoning distorted some scientific topics. Still, we could hope that the sources of information people trusted would prove trustworthy, and slowly nudge them in the direction of critical thinking. Now, though, we can be even more worried, for motivated reasoning about science has become socially organized. Media silos, elite willingness to make scientific findings into wedge issues, and the widespread absorption of science into partisan identities all serve to pollute the science communication environment. The temptation then is for scientists to take up arms, join the tribe of the righteous, and fight back in the war against science. This temptation should be resisted, since such defensiveness reinforces tribalism. There is another way. In this talk Jean Goodwin analyzes a lecture by pro-GMO scientist Kevin Folta to show a nondefensive approach to communicating controversial science.

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