Announcements, Announcements! First up: Michael Specter coming to Yale

By Carl Zimmer | September 28, 2010 5:16 pm

I’ve got several announcements to post over the next few days. Many eggs are beginning to hatch.

First up: New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter will be coming to New Haven to give a public talk on Monday, and then talk to my writing class Tuesday morning. Specter is the author of many important articles about science and medicine, some of which became the basis for his recent book, Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. You can find more about him on his web site and hear him talk briefly about denialism during his recent TED lecture.

Michael will be speaking on Monday, October 4 at 4 pm at Morse College at Yale (302 York St.). It’s a Master’s Tea, which means we’ll be gathering in a living-room-like setting, with real tea for those who want it. I organized a tea at Morse in the spring for Rebecca Skloot for her self-made book tourHere’s an article about it, complete with a photo of the comfortable furniture.

(Thanks go to the Poynter Fellowship for making Specter’s trip possible!)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Meta, Talks, Teaching

Comments (2)

  1. I like a lot of Specter’s work but I was troubled by parts of Denialism. He seems to conflate anti-science denialism, such as creationism and vaccination denialism, with what I see as more legitimate concerns about the political economy of genetically engineered crops and the unknown consequences of large-scale bioengineering. By lumping together, under the label of”denialists,” those who oppose vaccination (because of personal anecdotes and fearmongering) with those who raise questions about whether it’s a good thing for agribusiness to be able to patent vital food crops and require a license for their use, Specter seems to conflate two very different sets of concerns, the second of which is much more nuanced than the label “denialism” implies. The first involves refusing to accept knowledge, and finding specious reasons to reject it; the other involves the consequences of technological intervention in the world on a large scale. It’s denialist to claim that crops that are genetically engineered to include Bt require fewer chemical pesticides–but is it denialist to claim that the advantages of such genetic engineering are not so clear-cut?

    I’d be curious to know how he responds to such questions.

  2. Brian–Well, if you live in the New Haven area, please come and ask these questions! If not, I’ll be curious to see if others do.

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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