Kristian H. Nielsen to present in symposium on "Science communication and scientism, a historical perspective"
Science & You Conference, Metz, France, 16-19 November 2021
This panel is intended to discuss the trend in science communication, which leads the communication of science in public settings to become a channel for the ideology that science is the epistemic gold-standard and that it can solve all problems. In other words, this panel will shine a historical light on the relationship between science communication and scientism, which philosopher Richard Williams defines as the ‘over-reliance on and overconfidence in science as the source of knowledge regarding all aspects of human life and ultimately, all human problems’. The thesis for this panel is that a consequence of the rise in prominence of scientism in science communication, and its corollary which is to invite people to blindly submit themselves to the cognitive authority of science, is the progressive fading away of the notion that science communication is primarily meant to empower people in relation to science, to make them autonomous about it. One hypothesis this panel intends to discuss is that the increased visibility of fake news in science communication, constructing an anti-science public discourse, may be seen as a consequence (unwanted?) of the hegemony of scientism in science communication.