Courses

HISTSCI 197. Why Trust Science?

The covid-19 pandemic has poignantly illustrated what can happen when scientific advice is ignored.  Yet, at the same time, opinion surveys show that many Americans are distrustful of science and scientists, particularly when scientific findings seem to contradict their worldview. This class examines the basis for trust in science. We will explore the question of whether there is a scientific method, the role of consensus in science, the reasons why scientists sometimes come to faulty conclusions, and how we, as citizens, can judge scientific information and make informed choices in our lives.  Topics may include the scientific basis for understanding climate change, the ozone hole, the sources of pandemics, the benefits (or lack thereof) of vitamins, and why you should wear sunscreen and floss your teeth.

Professor: 

Professor: 

Season: 

Fall

Days: 

M
W

Time: 

12:00-1:15

Course ID: 

216010

Subject Area: 

History of Science

Research Areas: 

  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2020-2021 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

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Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Email: huce@environment.harvard.edu
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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