(Mis)information and Science-Informed Policymaking: The Probability Argument

When:5 Mar 2019, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Goldstein, Room G07, Kensington Campus, UNSW
Who:Dr Erin Nash
Erin Nash

Abstract: In this paper I develop what I call the ‘Probability Argument’, which highlights the consequences—in democratic societies—of non-experts having distorted perceptions of the probabilities that empirical hypotheses are correct. In contrast to both the ‘deficit’ and ‘cultural cognition’ models of science communication, my model accounts for a number of considerations that have been overlooked in the literature, such as the impact of the communication of misinformation, the place of higher-order evidence (i.e. evidence about putative experts, and the processes they have used to arrive at their first-order claims), and the role that intermediaries play in the communication of both first- and higher-order evidence.

Bio: Dr Erin Nash is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Humanities and Languages. Her PhD thesis (Durham University, UK) was in the emerging field of political epistemology, specificially looking at the political costs of misinformation about science circulating in our public knowledge systems. Her first degree is in science, and before returning to academia she had a policy-based career in government and non-government organisations in Australia, SE Asia, and Europe. She has also recently worked with political scientists and practitioners from the AAAS in the US on a NAS funded research project on effective and ethical science communication with policymakers.

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