Public seminar: Is proof overrated?

The concept of scientific proof is an important one in a rational society, but what does ‘proof’ really mean and how does it inform public policy in practice?

Policy-makers often cite research as proof on contested issues. But whether or not overwhelming evidence necessarily leads to evidence-based policy is another question. Is proof overrated?  How does Australian society use research to inform its decisions?

The indomitable Sally Warhaft will host what promises to be a spirited debate on the subject. Our panellists – with a wealth of experience in both policy-making and research – will debate the idea, and importance, of proof in Australia today, each referring to their individual areas of expertise.

Join Professor Peter Doherty, Associate Professor Megan Munsie, Dr Ranjana Srivastava, Professor Kate Auty, and Dr Sara Bice for a discussion of the role of research in the choices we make about everything from energy technologies, social equity, environmental policies to our use of medical breakthroughs and new communication technologies.

In four minute bursts, each speaker will make a case for proof – and then counter their own arguments with an equally persuasive case against it. The debate will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A before the audience decides the final result.

Presented in partnership with the University of Melbourne and the Wheeler Centre.

Book here