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Friday 16 December 2016, Rob Lyons

What’s the truth about ‘post‑truth’ politics?

Podcast: listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas 2016.

In November, Oxford Dictionaries declared ‘post-truth’ its Word of the Year. For some commentators, both the US presidential campaign and the EU referendum in the UK have revealed the emergence of ‘post-truth’ politics. Donald Trump has dismissed fact-checking as an ‘out-of-touch, elitist media-type thing’. Former Tory minister and Brexit leader Michael Gove notoriously claimed that ‘people in this country have had enough of experts’.

Have experts been over-reaching themselves and intruding into matters that require political judgement rather than statistics? On the other hand, if people scorn evidence, will society sink into the mire of prejudice and superstition? Have the majority of voters really given up on assessing the evidence?

SPEAKERS

Professor Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; author, What’s Happened to the University?, Power of Reading: from Socrates to Twitter, and Authority: a sociological history

Josh Lowe
European politics reporter, Newsweek

Neena Modi
professor of neonatal medicine, Imperial College London; consultant in neonatal medicine, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust; president, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Dr Adam Rutherford
geneticist, science writer and broadcaster, BBC; author, Creation and A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

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