6 episodes

We look at how to tackle the destructive rise of scientific misinformation and disinformation. Each episode is a live recording of one of the public events hosted by Challenging Pseudoscience, at the Royal Institution. We’re a diverse collective of journalists, scientists, academics and social media experts who came together in 2019 to look at this problem from different angles. The group is supported by the Royal Institution and the Open Society Foundation, and based in London. The goal is to identify how we can foster better access to more reliable scientific information.

Challenging Pseudoscience Challenging Pseudoscience, at the Ri

    • Science
    • 2.7 • 3 Ratings

We look at how to tackle the destructive rise of scientific misinformation and disinformation. Each episode is a live recording of one of the public events hosted by Challenging Pseudoscience, at the Royal Institution. We’re a diverse collective of journalists, scientists, academics and social media experts who came together in 2019 to look at this problem from different angles. The group is supported by the Royal Institution and the Open Society Foundation, and based in London. The goal is to identify how we can foster better access to more reliable scientific information.

    On the legacies of eugenics

    On the legacies of eugenics

    This episode is a recording of a talk given by medical historian, Marius Turda, at the Royal Institution in September 2021. His talk explored the historical roots of eugenics. He argued that the longevity of eugenics is due not just to its promise of drawing together social and cultural theories of human improvement, but also the credibility it was given by the scientific elite from the 1870s onwards.

    He shares that after the Holocaust, the tree was denuded of its branches, but its roots remained buried deep, embedded in our society, culture and politics. They continued to provide sustenance to various social, economic, and educational policies across the world. He considers that, a  century later, we engage with the legacies of eugenics across time and space and reflect on what eugenics means for us today. This remains a sensitive and emotional issue for many people, not least because for so long eugenics has reinforced discriminatory practices based on race, class, gender, disability and age.

    He argues that the time has come to cut down this tree and remove its global roots. The personal and collective reckoning with the legacies of eugenics can then begin.

    Original event link: https://www.rigb.org/whats-on/events-2021/september/public-unearthing-the-roots-of-eugenics

    More about Marius's work: www.confront-eugenics.org

    Host: Marius Turda

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 48 min
    Science museums and the 'culture war'

    Science museums and the 'culture war'

    This episode features a panel discussion hosted online by the Association of British Science Writers in October 2021. The theme was the so-called ‘culture war’ and its effect on the UK's science and technology museums. The panelists discuss their personal experiences of government influence on museum independence and policy, and who should and shouldn’t sit on their boards. They take questions from the audience on the impact of the official ‘retain and explain’ policy, which expects publicly-funded institutions to keep statues and busts where they are.

    The panellists were writer, historian of science, and ex-trustee of the Science Museum in London, Sarah Dry, and lecturer and researcher Aminul Hoque who was a trustee with the Royal Museums Greenwich until early 2021. The discussion was hosted by Chief Opinion Editor at Nature, Sara Abdulla.

    Links mentioned in the talk:

    Oliver Dowden's letter to museums

    Museums Association response

    Original event page

    Host: Sara Abdullah

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 51 min
    Fake news fighters

    Fake news fighters

    This episode features a panel discussion held at the British Science Festival Live in Chelmsford, UK, in September 2021. The theme was fake news and how to tackle the spread of scientific misinformation.

    The panelists discuss how social media algorithms help the spread of misinformation and fake news, they speak about the language to be aware of when spotting misinformation in science, and how the fallacies of race science have spread over time.

    They also take questions from the audience on the best ways to help prevent the spread of fake news, who is responsible for tackling misinformation and more.

    The panelists were computer scientist and author of Rage Inside the Machine, Robert Elliot Smith and academic and author of Skin Deep, Gavin Evans. The discussion was hosted by neuroscientist and author of The Gendered Brain, Gina Rippon. Gina also launched her new Noise in Neuroscience project, which aims to tackle sexist science.

    Host: Gina Rippon

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 41 min
    Misinformation and censorship on social media

    Misinformation and censorship on social media

    This episode features a panel discussion held at the Association of British Science Writers online in June 2021. The theme was misinformation and censorship on social media. The panel discussed how algorithms that feed us science news on social media sometimes promote disinformation and inadvertently demote good scientific content. The panelists explain why this can happen, who is affected and what we can do to prevent it. 

    The panelists were Ben Deighton and Maarten Schenk. The discussion was hosted by Angela Saini. 

    To find out more about the original event visit: https://www.absw.org.uk/events/56-misinformation-or-censorship-science-reporting-and-social-media



    Host: Angela Saini

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 50 min
    Vaccines: Warriors and worriers

    Vaccines: Warriors and worriers

    This episode was a panel discussion about vaccines hosted by the Royal Institution in February 2021. The panel explored how vaccines work, why some people are sceptical of them despite the evidence, and how disinformation about vaccines spreads online. They also took questions from the audience, offering lots of practical advice. The discussion was chaired by the Financial Times science columnist, Anjana Ahuja. The panel were Zania Stamataki, Marianna Spring and Abigail Thorn.

    You can find information on the original event here: https://www.rigb.org/whats-on/events-2021/february/public-vaccines-warriors-and-worriers

    Host: Angela Saini

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 1 hr 20 min
    Disinformation and how to counter it

    Disinformation and how to counter it

    This episode was a panel discussion on the theme of disinformation held at the Association of British Science Writers for their online UK Conference of Science Journalists in October 2020. We focused on the difference between misinformation and disinformation, the tactics of those spreading pseudoscientific theories such as climate change denial, anti-vaccine misinformation and pseudoscientific racism. Our panel looked at how science journalists can cover and combat this dangerous form of online abuse. The panel was hosted by science journalist Angela Saini and the panelists were Amil Khan, Ewan Birney, Michael Marshall and Mike Wendling. 



    Find out more about the original event here: https://www.absw.org.uk/events/5-uk-conference-of-science-journalists-2020

    Host: Angela Saini

    Producer: Hester Cant

    Artwork: Hana Ayoob

    Music: George Ash

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

mwg32 ,

Viewing pseudoscience thru a partisan lens

Ideological narrow and predictable. Pass.

RealPoohBa ,

How about the likeliness of telepathy now in 2022?

Would like to know where it can potentially develop to: I U c n e r m R .