Author: Ryan Glaubke

Communicating Science in an Era of Post-Truth

A resurgent populist politics has galvanized public skepticism of the scientific community by portraying academics as a remote elite, distinct from the American populace. This delineation leverages our innate tribal instincts to breed distrust of expertise, providing fertile ground for bad actors to sow seeds of doubt about what we know to be true of the world. Naturally, an army of professional scientists have stood up to this rhetoric, amplifying their voices on social media and assembling political action committees (such as 314 Action) to help fight the onslaught against truth. But too often, scientists and science advocates fail to connect with their audiences. And with social divisions exacerbated since the election of Donald Trump, efforts to reach the lay public have only grown more difficult. So how can we have meaningful conversations about science during a postmodern age in which both populist Left and Right insist that expertise is suspect and truth is relative? For decades, it was assumed that a lack of scientific literacy contributed to the public’s adversarial attitudes towards politically polarizing—yet …