Episode 9: Science and Religion in Mass Media with Dr Tom Aechtner

In the final episode of Season 1 of the Science & Belief in Society Podcast, we’re re-joined by Dr Tom Aechtner, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Science in the School Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. Tom talks us through the persuasive and rhetorical tactics used by both pro- and anti-evolutionist media and explains what science communicators can learn from their anti-evolutionary counterparts.

Alongside his work on science and religion in mass media, Tom’s currently working on a project investigating vaccine hesitancy and vaccine scepticism in Australia titled “Improving Vaccination Rates in Australia: Analysing Media, Religion and Policy.”. You can listen to a special podcast we recorded with Tom on this topic here.

You can read Tom’s Researcher Profile here.

(This episode was recorded in October 2020)

This episode is 54 minutes and 9 seconds long.

The keywords associated with this podcast are:

  • Mass Media
  • Creationism
  • Science Communication
  • Discovery Institute
  • Rhetoric

If you are interested in the anti-vaccine debate, you can learn more about the topics discussed in this podcast here: AVAXX101: Antivaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy This is the world’s first massive open online course dedicated to antivaccination and vaccine hesitancy. 

To learn more about this discussion, we also recommend that you read the following:

Aechtner, T. (2020). Media and science-religion conflict: mass persuasion in the evolution wars. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429356544

Aechtner, Thomas H. (2019). ’Teaching warfare: Conflict and complexity in contemporary university textbooks’ in (eds) Bernard Lightman, Rethinking History, Science, and Religion: An Exploration of Conflict and the Complexity Principle. Pittsburgh, United States: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 160-180.

Aechtner, T. (2018). ‘Social Scientists’ in (eds) Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers and Ronald A. Binzley, The Warfare between Science and Religion: The Idea That Wouldn’t Die. Baltimore MD, United States: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 302-323

You can also listen to our special edition interview with Dr Aechtner, which we published on 24 November 2020, as news broke about the proposed Covid-19 vaccine. You can find this episode and all other episodes in the series here.