Misinformation In and About Science
Science is the greatest of human inventions. Through its norms and procedures, we have improved human health and longevity; we discovered the germ theory of disease, electromagnetism, and plate tectonics.
But what about the health of science? Internally, we see challenges, such as the reproducibility crisis, a rise in predatory publishing and pseudoscience, and now integrity threats from generative AI. Externally, we see attacks on science through disinformation campaigns, agnotogenesis, and political point-scoring.
Turning the proverbial microscope on science, I will first examine some of the potential mechanisms spreading misinformation. This includes the role of perceived expertise and perceived consensus in governing online discussions about science and health related topics. I will then end with a discussion of various intervention strategies, including efforts in policy, that my group has been exploring to mitigate the effects of misinformation in and about science.
The lecture will also be live streamed via Zoom.
Jevin West is a visiting associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information and an associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington (UW). He is the co-founder and the inaugural director of the Center for an Informed Public at UW, aimed at resisting strategic misinformation, promoting an informed society and strengthening democratic discourse.
His research and teaching focus on the impact of data and technology on science, with a focus on slowing the spread of misinformation. He is the co-author of the book Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World, which helps non-experts question numbers, data, and statistics without an advanced degree in data science.