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Nat’l Post: Rise of the health truthers

February 9, 2015 — 

As a preventable measles outbreak continues, the National Post writes about how society should balance — if at all — the facts of science against the personal views of citizens. The crux of the problem is the scepticism people have towards the scientific community, which, ironically or just comically, is a community comprised of the most sceptical and cautious people found in any society.

Enter U of M sociology professor Christopher Fries.

As the article reads:

“Far from being scientifically illiterate, these individuals have a well-developed understanding of both the principles and practices of science,” says Christopher Fries, a health sociologist at the University of Manitoba.

“However, it is actually this understanding that leads them to be suspicious of scientific knowledge. They understand that technoscientific knowledge, while at times valuable, is shaped by commercial and economic interests … This leads many to be skeptical of science as a way of knowing.”

The result is many people “shop around and pick and choose diverse elements with which to construct [their] lay beliefs about health and illness — a little science here, a little ethnic and indigenous knowledge there.”




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