Science Denial: Media, Public Policy, Power, and Scientific Truth


Who has the power to speak publicly for science, set scientific agendas, and give shape to science policy? Why do some reject their positions? How does news coverage of science perpetuate the trend? This Matrix prospecting team will convene scholars from across the UC campus to critically examine the process of scientific consensus and contestation, with a specific focus on the category of “science denial.”

The group will explore how the “denialism” label encourages specific forms of discourse and shuts down others in public debates about vaccination, climate change, GMOs, and other topics. They will draw on the historical, anthropological, communications, and STS literature that has illuminated the long history of public misunderstanding of science and contextualized and problematized the idea of a science-ignorant public, in order to explore questions about the social construction of scientific truth that are pertinent to the present historical moment.