From diets and healthcare to climate change and vaccines, it seems every side is using “science” to back up their argument. Yet discerning solid science from quackery is not always easy. As politicians, influencers, and activists of all stripes push scientific claims, emotions run high and further complicate our capacity to know what is real. So how can we avoid being duped? Natalia Pasternak, a microbiologist and visiting professor at Columbia, will show how critical thinking can help us to see through the clutter to distinguish the claims with the strongest scientific backing. She will discuss the dangers of institutions staying silent while others promote useless or dangerous claims regarding our health, the environment, and other areas of life and society.
Natalia Pasternak is a microbiologist, with a PhD and post-doctorate in Microbiology, in the field of Bacterial Genetics at the University of São Paulo. Currently, she is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University’s Center for Science and Society and a fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (USA). She writes for the Brazilian national newspaper “O Globo”, The Skeptic Magazine (UK), and Medscape (WebMD). She also hosts two weekly science radio shows in Brazil, serves at two Brazilian universities, and is the president of the Question of Science Institute. She has received numerous awards and accolades from multiple countries for her work on science, skepticism, and critical thinking, including making the BBC’s 100 most influential women of 2021. She has written three books: Science in Our Daily Lives (which won Brazil’s national literature prize for best science book in 2021), Against Reality: Science Denialism, its Causes and Consequences, and most recently, What Nonsense, which has become a bestseller in Brazil. Her research focuses on how to improve science communication and combat denialism and misinformation, bringing scientific thinking for future policymakers, and helping to create an international collaboration for science-based global policies.
Sat., Sept. 16
7 Saxon Woods Rd., White Plains, NY