Why we should trust scientists (Naomi Oreskes)

Many of the world's biggest problems require asking questions of scientists — but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry — and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science.

Noami Oreskes is a professor of the History of Science and an affiliated professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She received her PhD at Stanford in 1990 in the Graduate Special Program in Geological Research and History of Science. In her 2004 paper published in Science, "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change,” Oreskes analyzed nearly 1,000 scientific journals to directly assess the magnitude of scientific consensus around anthropogenic climate change. The paper was famously cited by Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth and led Oreskes to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Oreskes is the co-author of the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, which looks at how the tobacco industry attempted to cast doubt on the link between smoking and lung cancer, and the 2014 book The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, which looks back at the present from the year 2093. Both are written with Erik M. Conway.

Why we should trust scientists (Naomi Oreskes)

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