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Public discussion probes Americans’ attitudes toward science

A panel discussion addressing questions about Americans’ attitudes toward science, “Science Under Attack: Politics, Policy and Science in America” will be presented on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at Bazarsky Lecture Hall, located in O’Hare Academic Center on Salve Regina’s campus.

Presented by the Pell Center, the event is free and open to the public. The discussion will be moderated by Pell Center senior fellow Joseph Grady.

Science seems relevant to many of the most important questions we face as a society – from combating disease to providing for our energy needs to growing enough food to feed a rising population. Yet it’s not clear how Americans feel about science and scientists.

A recent article in the New York Review of Books argues that while we tend to trust and value scientific findings in principle, we're willing to throw out scientific perspectives if they clash with economic interests or religious views, or simply if they make imperfect predictions. As controversy about global warming shows, many Americans may even wonder whether scientists can be trusted.

Grady is a cognitive linguist whose academic research and publications have focused on the ways in which understanding and communication are shaped by universal metaphorical patterns. He has taught linguistics at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, and also spent a number of years as a consultant helping to analyze and develop brand names.

For the past 15 years, Grady has applied his expertise to the challenge of helping create more informed and constructive public dialog regarding policy choices. He is co-founder and principal of Cultural Logic LLC and the Topos Partnership LLC – communications research and strategy firms that help nonprofit organizations develop messages that change minds and engage support. Working with Cultural Logic and Topos, He has helped develop message strategies for many of the country’s most influential nonprofits and foundations, in issue areas from global warming to health coverage access to early childhood development. In addition to developing effective communications strategies, he has helped develop innovative research approaches for assessing the public’s current thinking on a topic, and for testing the impacts of different ways of talking about policy-related topics.