CBC Radio re-airing “Science Under Siege”

Mary Lynk’s documentary on the fraught relationship between science and power is superb.

CBC Radio IDEAS will re-broadcast Mary Lynk’s three-part series “Science Under Siege” later this month (details below). The show features a compelling cast, including biologist Jeff Hutchings, science historian Ian Stewart, and Evidence for Democracy director Katie Gibbs. It explores the often fraught relationship between science and power, both today and historically.

DFO’s new library system. Source: Postmedia.
DFO’s new library system. Source: Postmedia.

The series begins with a story from Hutchings about how 120 years of reports found in Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) libraries changed our our understanding of how codfish spawned and lived. That’s a big deal: The findings have implications for fisheries management. Unfortunately, many DFO libraries have since been shuttered and their collections dumpstered. Hutchings could not find the source materials from his study in the new online system.

The implication is that hard-won knowledge has been lost. The ability to study the past – and so better understand our present and future – has been compromised.

The series is superbly researched and produced – well worth a listen (or two!). Here are the broadcasting details:

  • Part 1: Dangers of Ignorance (airs Friday, Sept 18th - 9 p.m. across the country/9:30 NL) explores the historical tension between science and political power and the sometimes fraught relationship between the two over the centuries.

  • Part 2: The Great Divide (airs Friday, Sept 25 - 9 p.m/9:30 p.m NL) examines the state of science in the modern world, and the expanding – and dangerous – gulf between scientists and the rest of society.

  • Part 3: Fighting Back (airs Friday, Oct 2 - 9 p.m/9:30 p.m NL) looks at how science can withstand the attack against it and overcome ideology and belief.

(Updated 15 September 2015)