Science, Technology & Society: Can scientists learn from a history of rejection?

Conflicts between science and society have been occurring since the advent of the scientific method, and are unlikely to abate in the future. Most such conflicts arise from the application of science, usually in the form of technologies. The current debates over biotechnology are therefore simply part of an ongoing historical deliberation over new products and new knowledge. Just as a new technology or piece of research can be garlanded with all manner of claims and promises, so too can it be met with public scepticism or outright rejection. In this talk I will highlight historic aspects of rejection of science and technology, and also suggest possible approaches we could consider for dealing with this so that new technologies and new knowledge can be assessed by society in a more balanced fashion.

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