Love and Power – Making sense of science & statistics, control & conspiracies

An MP3 version of this talk can be found in your podcast feed, looking for my Talks and Thoughts.

How can we find a way through conflicts in and around science? What about experts and simplifications, uncertainties and advice, control and its consequences? Tensions are only going to get worse as the fallout and impact of Covid becomes clearer.

In this talk, I consider two notions of power, as explored in the New Testament: dunamis, which might be thought of grace and space power or the power of love; and exousia, which is the power exercised by authorities and might be thought of as command and control power.

This sense of the dynamics of love and power can illuminate the communication of science, across five areas:
– reductive science and the bigger picture
– scientists as provocateurs and experts
– issues of cause and correlation
– science, impact and hidden agendas
– the status of science and conspiracy theories

For an academic article on some of the issues raised, have a look at my piece in Rethinking Biology (Eds Michael Reiss, Fraser Watts & Harris Wiseman), “The Public Understanding of Biology: a journalist’s perspective”, online here.