Join us on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 PM in Wardman Library as we welcome science writer and skeptic extraordinaire Don Prothero to speak about his new book, Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future. Refreshments will be served!
Palaeontologist Donald Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientific community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.
More about Prothero
Donald Prothero taught college geology and paleontology for 35 years, at Caltech, Columbia, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He earned his B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, College Award) from University of California Riverside in 1976, and his M.A. (1978), M.Phil. (1979), and Ph.D. (1982) in geological sciences from Columbia University. He is the author of over 35 books (including 5 leading geology textbooks, and several trade books), and over 300 scientific papers, mostly on the evolution of fossil mammals (especially rhinos, camels, and horses) and on using the earth’s magnetic field changes to date fossil-bearing strata. He has been on the editorial boards of journals such as Geology, Paleobiology, Journal of Paleontology, and Skeptic magazine. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Paleontological Society, and the Geological Society of America, and also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Science Foundation. He served as President of Pacific Section SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) in 2012, and served for five years as Program Chair of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Charles Schuchert Award for outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. In 2013, he received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing the geosciences. He has been featured on numerous TV documentaries, including Paleoworld, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, Prehistoric Monsters Revealed, Monsterquest, Prehistoric Predators: Entelodon and Hyaenodon, Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism, as well as Jeopardy! and Win Ben Stein’s Money.
More about Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future
Many forms of denial of consensus science (such as creationism, climate deniers, anti-vaxxers, AIDS deniers, etc.) are active in today’s culture, attempting to prevent the public understanding and teaching of established scientific ideas that threaten their ideology. All of them borrow from “The Holocaust Deniers’ Playbook” for strategies that create smokescreens to cast doubt on scientific truths, quote out of context, cherry-pick or distort data, and deliberately mislead people in order to prevent widespread acceptance of scientific ideas. Such denial of the reality that face us in the future is not only bad philosophically, but directly kills people, and threatens our society and its ability to be competitive in science and technology.