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High-profile panel to address causes, consequences of the politicization of science

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2011 Science is playing an increasingly prominent role in many controversial political, religious and socio-economic debates, such as those about embryonic stem cells, genetically modified foods, teaching evolution and climate change. As a result, scientists are finding themselves forced into the fray and frustrated when their data and findings are misunderstood by policymakers and the public and even misrepresented for political gains.

At 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10, at the Experimental Biology meeting in the Washington, D.C., Convention Center, three high-profile panelists will share their views on how science, the media, politics and society interact and, perhaps more importantly, what scientists themselves can do to communicate more effectively and restore their credibility.

Sponsored by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the symposium will feature commentary by Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn, Dr. James McCarthy, the chairman of the board of directors for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and author Michael Specter, a New Yorker staff writer who wrote the book "Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives."

The panel will be moderated by NPR science desk correspondent Richard Harris.

"Controversies over the politicization of science in recent history on issues like climate change and embryonic stem-cell research have begun to create an environment in which the public questions the political motivations of even the most unbiased scientist," says Ben Corb, the public affairs director for ASBMB. "This panel really will explore the critical need for scientists to stay above the fray, while also reminding politicians to leave politics out of our nation's laboratories."


Contact: Angela Hopp
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

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