Fram Signature Lecture: Thinking Critically About Pandemic Misinformation

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cailin o'connor rit fram thinking critically

Eugene H. Fram Signature Lecture with the College of Science
Thinking Critically About Pandemic Misinformation

Dr. Cailin O’Connor
Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science

University of California, Irvine
Author of The Misinformation Age

This lecture will be in-person only and a light reception will follow.

During the COVID-19 pandemic false beliefs have spread that fall outside our normal understanding of misinformation. In this talk, I use network models to discuss two ways this happens. In the first, plausible scientific claims turn out to be false, but nonetheless continue to spread and influence policy.  These "information zombies" are hard to fight because they look like trustworthy information, even though they are no longer viable.  The second involves cases where new scientific claims, like "hydroxychloroquine is an effective cure for COVID-19" get attached to political camps, thus preventing normal discourse about these claims.  I talk about how to address the sorts of misinformation that spread during the pandemic, and how to extend these lessons to a broader context.

Speaker Bio:
Cailin O’Connor is a philosopher of science and applied mathematician specializing in models of social interaction.  She is Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science and a member of the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Science at the University of California, Irvine.  She is currently co-administering the NSF Grant Consensus, Democracy, and the Public Understanding of Science.  Her book 'The Misinformation Age', co-authored with James Owen Weatherall, was published in 2019 with Yale Press, and her book ‘The Origins of Unfairness’ was also published in 2019 with Oxford University Press.  Her work has been praised widely, including in the New York Times and Scientific American. 

Intended Audience:
Those with interest in the topic. All are welcome.

To request an interpreter, please visit

Linda Lagree
Event Snapshot
When and Where
September 27, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Room/Location: Ingle Auditorium

Open to the Public

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