Extra! Get Yer “Science Writing in the Age of Denial” Conference Recaps Here!

This week about 200 science writers gathered in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin for a conference on Science Writing in the Age of Denial, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with support from the National Association of Science Writers. (Conference hashtags: #sciencedenial, and then, when that hashtag was temporarily disabled by spam, #denialconf).

In case you’re just hearing about this conference now and wondering what this is all about, here’s a quick summary from the conference website:

Science writers now work in an age where uncomfortable ideas and truths meet organized resistance. Opposing scientific consensus on such things as anthropogenic climate change, the theory of evolution, and even the astonishingly obvious benefits of vaccination has become politically de rigueur, a litmus test and a genuine threat to science. How does denial affect the craft of the science writer? How can science writers effectively explain disputed science? What’s the big picture? Are denialists ever right?

Day 1 featured plenary speakers Arthur Lupia (Communicating Science in Politicized Environments); Sean B. Carroll (The Denial of Evolution, and the Evolution of Denial: We Have All Been Here Before); Gary Schwitzer (Cheerleading, Shibboleths and Uncertainty); and Naomi Oreskes (Neoliberalism and the Denial of Global Warming); and star-studded panels associated with each. Day 2 was a series of workshops digging into how science writers can apply insights about science denialism to improve the reach, integrity, and impact of their work.

Because I was involved in helping organize the workshops portion of the conference, I didn’t take many notes along the way—so here, rather than recapping the conference myself, I’m aggregating the many blog posts, news articles and Storify collections that have captured the essence of this meeting. Here’s what people have been saying about the conference (If I’ve missed something you think should be included, get in touch):

Summaries from the conference website by UW students

Christie Aschwanden, The Last Word on NothingThe Impasse: When the “truth wins” assumption fails (crossposted in Grist)

Charlie Petit, Knight Science Journalism Tracker: U. Wisconsin-Madison: Science Writing in the Age of Denial an undeniable success

John Rennie, The Gleaming Retort: Recap of “Science Writing in the Age of Denial”  Part 1 and Part 2

Chris Mooney, Point of Inquiry podcast interview with Naomi Oreskes

Nathan Seppa, Science News: Science denial in the 21st century

Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio: Science-Climate Denial Gap Explained

Zen Faulkes, NeuroDojo: The denial manual

Erin Podolak, Science Decoded: Thoughts on Science Writing in the Age of Denial

Kate Prengaman’s storify

Maryn McKenna, Superbug: Science Writing and Denialism: Accuracy, Clarity, Courage

A couple of conference speakers have also made their slidesets available:

Denial in Madison, Wisconsin: Ice fishing on open water

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3 Responses to “Extra! Get Yer “Science Writing in the Age of Denial” Conference Recaps Here!”

  1. Zoom says:

    nice thought of Cristine Russell “It’s not a belief system, that suggests that the evidence is something that can be dismissed.” A bit disappointing that creationists have no chances to argument or take a part into rational discussion, so they keep denying.

  2. […] Extra! Get yer “Science Writing in the Age of Denial” conference recaps here! | […]

  3. […] of the output of the conference is discussed at The Open Notebook. While so often the content of a news article on science can turn off a reader, sometimes it is the […]

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