Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy
In 2002 Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of Defence, mused about what we know and don’t know. He suggested there are the ‘known unknowns’ – for example, we know we don’t know how life began – and the ‘unknown unknowns’ – the things we don’t even know we are ignorant about.
But he forgot one important category – the ignored knowns; the things we know but prefer to ignore. This is what Al Gore called the inconvenient truth and is the realm of the science denial industry. With the election of Donald Trump, who seems to make a habit of ignoring science, evidence and fact, we are entering an era of what Stephen Colbert called ‘truthiness’ back in 2005: ...continue reading
Class of 2018
These enthusiastic greetings solidify Tuesday as my favourite day of week. As I enter the classroom, several of the girls come running to give me a hug, squealing my name in excitement. It’s my weekly afternoon at Les Scientistes, a program designed to encourage young girls from low-income communities to discover science. ...continue reading
University of Toronto
Class of 2018
In the same way that you should not buy a lottery ticket and expect to win, you should not become a scientist and anticipate a Nobel Prize. There are countless brilliant scientists in the world and winning the highest prize that science has to offer requires a delicate combination of good fortune, hard work—and what else? This past summer, I sought to discover the answer to this question.
Class of 2016
Medicine is often thought of as a matter of science. Experiments are conducted and cumulative evidence is then applied to best clinical practice. While this is certainly true, there is a lack of appreciation of what goes into the process of medicine. There are numerous assumptions that take place in medicine, including our method of experimentation and interpretation of findings. This is where philosophy comes in, to balance the science of medicine. ...continue reading