Science as a right up for dis­cus­sion

Journal Pioneer - - COMMUNITY -

Is ac­cess to good science a right?

It’s a tough ques­tion that will be dis­cussed at an up­com­ing panel dis­cus­sion hosted by UPEI.

The event talk, ti­tled Science as a Right is be­ing co-pre­sented by the univer­sity and the Cana­dian Com­mis­sion for UN­ESCO. The event will be on Dec. 10. In recog­ni­tion of UN Hu­man Rights Day. It will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bea­cons­field Car­riage House, 2 Kent St. in Char­lot­te­town.

In this time of al­ter­nate facts, fake in­for­ma­tion, and psy­cho­log­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion by au­thor­ity fig­ures to make us doubt what con­sti­tutes real science, it is im­por­tant to rec­og­nize that even if science seems in con­flict with im­me­di­ate eco­nomic or po­lit­i­cal goals, mak­ing the truth pub­lic is es­sen­tial for ac­cu­rate eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions, said a state­ment from UPEI.

The panel will be Chaired by Kather­ine Gottschall-Pass, dean of the Fac­ulty of Science at UPEI and will dis­cuss a num­ber dis­cus­sion will be­gin to ad­dress var­i­ous is­sues.

“Free and open ac­cess to science is the best way to im­prove so­ci­ety, and this panel dis­cus­sion will em­pha­size the im­por­tance of science in pol­icy and de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Science is the gath­er­ing of hy­pothe­ses and the end­less test­ing of them,” said Gottschall-Pass. “It in­volves check­ing and dou­ble-check­ing, self-crit­i­cism, and a will­ing­ness to over­turn even fun­da­men­tal as­sump­tions if they prove to be wrong. But none of this can hap­pen with­out open com­mu­ni­ca­tion among sci­en­tists and with the pub­lic. With­out it guar­an­tees pub­lic ig­no­rance.”

The panel will in­clude:

Dr. Adam Fenech, di­rec­tor of the Cli­mate Re­search Lab at the Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land, on the sup­pres­sion of fed­eral gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists. A five-year study by Canada’s in­for­ma­tion com­mis­sioner, Suzanne Le­gault, con­cluded this year that com­plaints that former Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper was muz­zling sci­en­tists were “well founded,” and that some fed­eral sci­en­tists say they still feel muz­zled by the cur­rent gov­ern­ment.

Dr. John McIn­tyre from the Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land, on events south of the bor­der. Con­tra­dict­ing the sci­en­tific con­sen­sus, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has de­clared cli­mate change a hoax and vac­cines a source of dis­ease.

Dr. Joshua MacFadyen, the Canada Re­search Chair in Ap­plied Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Lead­er­ship, and Cul­ture at the Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land, on com­mu­ni­cat­ing the science of sus­tain­abil­ity.

Stephanie Arnold, grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land, on com­mu­ni­cat­ing cli­mate science to the younger gen­er­a­tions.

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