Poster for "Confronting the War on Science"

At the 2012 NSW ALP State Conference, the Labor Science Network presented a Q&A panel discussion as part of the conference fringe events.

The panel, comprising Anna-Maria Arabia (then head of Science & Technology Australia), Dr Will Grant (ANU Centre for the Public Awareness of Science) and Dr Ben Newell (Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology, UNSW), was entitled "Confronting the War on Science".

Chaired by Labor Science Network convener, Elija Perrier, the discussion sought to explore the increasing attacks on science from political and ideological quarters.

Highlights included:

  • examining the strategies used to challenge scientific discourse, including the creation of a false appearance of a debate, cherry-picking of data and other rhetorical strategies
  • a discussion around the psychology of why non-scientific and even anti-science positions hold sway with certain sections of the public
  • an examination of the benefits and drawbacks of science communication with the broader public
  • debate regarding how to best employ political techniques to advance science as a foundational principle for decision-making in the wider public