On June 28, 2018, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City, Science Friday’s host, Ira Flatow hosted a panel of experts for a sold-out discussion on the social, cultural, behavioral, and economic roots of science denialism.

Science denialism is not a new phenomenon—attempts to establish uncertainty about science arose in the discussions surrounding the health effects of tobacco and the viral cause of HIV/AIDS. But the most effective ways to both counter and prevent it remain a challenge, especially in a world where facts do not always have a foothold, and social media provides a new express lane for misinformation to spread.

The evening began with welcome remarks from Richard Marlink, director of Rutgers Global Health Institute, and Melanie Brickman Borchard, director of life sciences at New York Academy of Sciences, discussing how climate change, vaccines, and other topics remain the subject of public debate as a result of science denial. Furthering that, despite rigorous testing and peer-review, scientific facts are not always accepted.

Panelists Allan Brandt, Dominique Brossard, Kelly Brownell, and Kelly Greenhill called upon their respective expertise in history, communications, policy, and political science, to help attendees better understand science denial, and provide a transparent dialogue for enacting meaningful responses to denialism today. A networking reception followed an informative question and answer discussion with attendees.

The recorded panel discussion is available via Livestream.


The June 28 event was so popular, that a follow-up event, entitled Science Denial: Lessons and Solutions, was held on November 2, 2018.