This edited volume looks at whether it is possible to be more transparent about uncertainty in scientific evidence without undermining public understanding and trust.
With contributions from leading experts in the field, this book explores the communication of risk and decision-making in an increasingly post-truth world. Drawing on case studies from climate change to genetic testing, the authors argue for better quality evidence synthesis to cut through the noise and highlight the need for more structured public dialogue. For uncertainty in scientific evidence to be communicated effectively, they conclude that trustworthiness is vital: the data and methods underlying statistics must be transparent, valid, and sound, and the numbers need to demonstrate practical utility and add social value to people’s lives.
Presenting a conceptual framework to help navigate the reader through the key social and scientific challenges of a post-truth era, this book will be of great relevance to students, scholars, and policy makers with an interest in risk analysis and communication.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
Foreword by Baruch Fischhoff
Introduction: Risk and Uncertainty in a Post-Truth Society
Sander van der Linden and Ragnar Lofstëdt
1. Trust in Numbers
David J. Spiegelhalter
2. Science Policy in a Post-Truth World
3. Trustworthiness, Quality and Value: The Regulation of Official Statistics in a Post-Truth Age
4. Risk and Uncertainty in the Context of Government Decision-Making
Ian L. Boyd
5. The Handling of Uncertainty: A Risk Manager’s Perspective
Sander van der Linden is Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, where he directs the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory.
Ragnar E. Löfstedt is Professor of Risk Management at King’s College London, UK, and Director of King’s Centre for Risk Management.
"The question of what constitutes acceptable risk has always involved a judgement about both science and politics. This issue is brought into sharp focus in this volume about the changing relationship between science, novel risks and society. The contributors, drawn from academia and the world of government policy, show how this relationship is of critical importance for the ways we now think about trust in institutions and risk governance. The important message of the book is that while we have not yet reached a ‘post-truth’ world in decision-making about risks, we need to guard against such a situation happening in the future. A timely and welcome contribution to a critical contemporary societal debate." -- Nick Pidgeon MBE, Professor and Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University, UK