Science as a right up for discussion
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.