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Universities must stand up for facts and the truth – ‘if we don’t, who will?’

Chair of Universities Australia, Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Barney Glover, writes in The Conversation (1.3.17) that our need for unbiased, well-researched information has never been greater.

'We live in challenging times. Ours is an era in which evidence, intellectual inquiry and expertise are under sustained attack.

'The phrases “post truth” and “alternative facts” have slipped into common use. Agendas have displaced analysis in much of our public debate. And we are all the poorer for it.

'I want to deliver a passionate defence of the value of expertise and evidence. I will mount a case for facts as they are grounded in evidence, not as fluid points of convenience employed to cover or distort a proposition.

'My plea to you all is this: let’s not deride experts, nor the value of expertise. Because in an era where extremists and polemicists seek to claim more and more of the public square, our need for unbiased, well-researched information has seldom been greater.

'We must remind ourselves of how human progress has ever been forged. In this, academics and journalists have common cause. For how are we to fulfill our respective roles in a democracy if we don’t defend the indispensible role of evidence in decision-making?'

 

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