From Creationism to Climate Change Denial: An Affective Approach to Science Scepticism

Public lecture Donovan Schaefer (University of Pennsylvania)

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Details

Date

14 August 2019

Time
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Location

Philippa Brazill Lecture Theatre,
Daniel Mannix Building
ACU Melbourne Campus 8-18 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Victoria

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ACU and Melbourne Nodes of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, in association with the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, invite you to a public lecture, held as a part of their Symposium focusing on affect theory and its application in religion, history, politics, and philosophy.

Donovan Schaefer

The guest speaker Donovan Schaefer (University of Pennsylvania), is author of Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power (Duke 2015) and The Evolution of Affect Theory: The Humanities, the Sciences, and the Study of Power (Cambridge 2019).

Public lecture: ‘From Creationism to Climate Change Denial: An Affective Approach to Science Scepticism’

In crucial political and scientific controversies like contemporary climate debates, many deny well-established scientific findings. So how does such denialism emerge, gain strength, and eventually establish itself as orthodoxy in particular groups? Some argue that denialism comes from a failure to understand science. Others think misinformation spread by industry lobbyists might be to blame. Both these views assume that people are essentially making good decisions with the information that they have, and that more and better information will reduce denialism.

This public lecture takes a different approach, exploring the role that emotion plays in causing and consolidating denialism. Connecting contemporary climate denialism to the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, Schaefer develops his claim that rather than simply being a matter of lack of information, denialism is about how feeling organizes information to produce beliefs that are highly resistant to contradiction.

Schaefer’s research focuses on the role of embodiment and emotion in religion and secularisms. His first book, Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power (Duke 2015) challenges the notion that religion is inextricably linked to language and belief, proposing instead that it is primarily driven by affects. His The Evolution of Affect Theory: The Humanities, the Sciences, and the Study of Power was published earlier this year by Cambridge University Press. His current project explores the intersection between New Materialisms, science, and secularisms.

For more information about the Symposium: Affect and the History of Emotions in Religion, Philosophy, and Politics, see here

This public lecture is presented in partnership with Melbourne University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

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