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James C. Zimring    

Expert on The Interface of Science and Society; University of Virginia Professor & Author

James C. Zimring has a Ph.D. in immunology and an M.D., both awarded from Emory University and holds the Thomas W. Tillack chair in experimental pathology at the University of Virginia. He is a practicing scientist and has maintained an N.I.H. funded laboratory for over 20 years, publishing over 170 research articles in the area of diseases of the blood.

Zimring teaches and lectures on how scientific knowledge claims should be understood and the interface of science with business, politics, religion, and broader society. Zimring has published two books in this area: What Science is and How it Really Works (Cambridge University Press, 2019) and Partial Truths: How Fractions Distort Our Thinking (Columbia University Press, 2022) as well as writing general audience pieces for Scientific American, The Scientist, and Salon.com.

Speech Topics

How We Fool Ourselves and Are Fooled by Others

In this talk, Dr. Zimring explores how the simple misunderstanding (or manipulation) of probabilities, risks, odds, and frequencies results in humans making bad decisions and embracing flawed strategies – as well as being a distinct point of manipulation by others.

What it Means When a Scientist Claims to Know Something: How Can Science Get So Much Right and Also Get So Much Wrong?

How science evaluates evidence, logic, sources of error, and a focus on natural phenomenon is distinct from other approaches to knowledge. When science claims to “know” something or states something is “true” or even a “law of nature” the terms and words have a different meaning from normal linguistic use. In this talk, Dr. Zimring explains and explores the epistemic basis for scientific knowledge claims and how they she be understood by the lay public. When should be believe science? When should we doubt it? How much confidence should we put in it?

Science, Religion, and Politics: Talking Past Each Other

All humans use a version of the human brain to try and understand experience and the world around us – yet different approaches to knowledge and understanding can result in disagreement, conflict, and at times animus. In this talk, it is shown that the conflict is an illusion born from different manifestations of human cognitive approaches.

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