Sense about Science ? equipping people to make sense of science and evidence
News and Comment
Standing up for evidence and reason in Europe
24 June 2016A lot of people have contacted us in recent days worried that during the referendum debate it started to become more acceptable to openly and cynically embrace untrue statements and dismiss expertise, and wondering what this means for people who are working to achieve the opposite of that.
Our director Tracey Brown has a letter in The Times today about disregard for experts and evidence.
We have been committed to expanding that respect for knowledge, evidence and reasoned argument, and there are now many initiatives and groups that play a part in this goal. In fact it’s a cause that has loosely connected many of us, though it may not have been crystallised in this way for some before. So we hope that you will join us very actively in our plans over this year to promote the alternative idea of the role of evidence in public life and how the public can insist on it.
We’re looking at bringing people together in the autumn to discuss whether there are new challenges for encouraging reason and evidence in public life, in a more global context. Is it really a post-truth world and how can we deal with it? What do fact checks mean if facts don’t count? Or accountability for use of evidence? Above all, though, we’re interested in continuing progress with including, convincing and empowering more people to pursue this vision of public life and countering despair about the public’s capacity for reason.
In the meantime, next month we will launch Sense about Science EU and we will be marking the launch at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) conference in Manchester, the largest gathering of European researchers that happens every two years.
We’d like to invite you to join us, with researchers, policy makers and media from Europe and the wider world, on 26th July for the launch. It matters that the rules and regulations that govern our lives are based on sound evidence, it matters that decision makers are accountable to the public for what they say, and that researchers and citizens play the fullest role in achieving that, wherever they are from. That is the mission of Sofie Vanthournout, our new SAS EU director and she is looking forward to sharing it with you: sign up here. (And please share with European colleagues who might be at ESOF.)