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‘Us and Them’ Podcast Recording Focuses on Distrust in Science

Panelists+speak+on+distrust+in+science+during+a+live+podcast+presentation.
Matthew Schaffer
Panelists speak on distrust in science during a live podcast presentation.

Deteriorating faith in science was the topic of a live taping of the “Us & Them” podcast that drew a crowd of community members to the Drinko Library Atrium on Thursday, Oct. 19.

“Us & Them,” hosted by award-winning podcaster Trey Kay, featured a panel of guests including Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman, author and education historian at the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Habiba Chirchir, biological anthropologist at Marshall University; and Dr. Adam Franks M.D., associate residency director at Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The panel discussed a wide range of topics, including faith in COVID-19 vaccines, climate change, evolution and the role technology plays in sowing distrust in scientific research.

“Misinformation markets itself a bit better than we do as scientists,” Franks said. “In America, there’s a tribalism where if I believe in one thing, I can’t believe in that.”

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The panel focused on the role of increased information that technology and social media have made available to the public, despite some of that information lacking verifiable research.

“What is fueling the distrust is that there is so much coming out,” Chirchir said. “Having all that information coming through all the different media…we have so much information that it is hard to know what to trust or distrust.”

The panel discussion led to an audience Q&A, where community members lined up to ask questions and share their concerns about the current level of distrust in scientific research.

The taping marks the second stop in the podcast live event series exploring the diminishing trust in America. West Virginia University hosted the previous stop of the series, where the discussion centered around the diminishing trust in the media. There are more stops planned for other institutions across West Virginia.

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