The forces that twist what we hear and believe about research
Do people still “trust” science? In many controversial areas — such as climate change, vaccinations, gluten-free diets and, most notably, GMO foods — there appears to be a growing gap between what the public believes and what the science says. For example, a 2015 survey found that 88 percent of American scientists believe genetically modified foods are safe, but only 37 percent of the general public feel the same way. The researchers noted that this is the “largest opinion difference between the public and scientists.” What is driving this trend? In this fun and provocative presentation, Professor Timothy Caulfield will explore what the evidence tells us about a range of controversial science topics and the forces that twist what we hear, including celebrity culture, publication practices, market forces and our own psychological biases.
About our speaker
Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Over the past several years he has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavors that have allowed him to publish over 300 academic articles. He is a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation and the Principal Investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary projects that explore the ethical, legal and health policy issues associated with a range of topics, including stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, obesity policy, the commercialization of research, complementary and alternative medicine and access to health care. Professor Caulfield has won numerous academic awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He writes frequently for the popular press and is the author of two recent national bestsellers: “The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness” and “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.”