Uncertainty and Science

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Hardy, Barbara
Sackett, Penny
Doherty, Peter
Adams, Phillip
Adelaide Festival Corporation
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Radio Adelaide
Adelaide Festival of Ideas session, Adelaide Town Hall, 6:30pm, Friday 7th July, 2011. Chaired by Phillip Adams. Proper scientists are not really certain that the sun will rise tomorrow. Indeed, they will tend to hedge their assertion that it is a highly probable event with a little lecture on how the sun only appears to rise, when in truth it is that the earth turns. Then things will get seriously complicated. None of this can, or should, stop people from taking the UV warning for the next day seriously, however. Skin cancers are also highly probable, and well worth planning to avoid. In so many areas of discussion, people demand ‘certainty’ from the experts before they will make a decision. The gap between what an honest researcher can tell us and what we demand has never been so acute, and the need to bridge it is urgent. This session aims to make a start on rebuilding the dilapidated intellectual infrastructure that causes bottlenecks in these essential discussions.
Science, Future contexts, Scientific research