Mar 3, 2014

FVCC Honors Symposium Continues March 6

Flathead Valley Community College’s Honors Symposium will continue March 6 with “Informing the Citizenry:  Where Science Can Succeed (and Fail) in the Technology Debates” presented by Christopher Preston, Ph.D., from The University of Montana Department of Philosophy.

The presentation will examine the thought that if people simply knew more scientific facts, then policy decisions about complex emerging technology issues would be much simpler.  Attendees will learn how this “deficit” model of scientific knowledge can sometimes miss the fundamental nature of public policy disagreements about novel technologies.  This lecture will explore how ethical responses in this tricky arena can be a complex mix of both facts and feelings.

Preston specializes in environmental philosophy, ethics and interdisciplinary science and ethics.  He grew up in southern England, receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Durham, a master’s degree from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.  He joined The University of Montana as a full time professor in 2004.

This year’s Honors Symposium welcomes science experts to address various topics that support this year’s theme, “Science Matters: Skepticism, Inquiry and the Need for Literacy.”  The college brings these free lectures to the community to provide credible and substantive information on important topics of public interest.

Following Preston’s presentation, the symposium will continue with the following presentations:

  • March 11:  “Biotechnology:  One Problem at a Time.  Are you Kidding?” presented by David Sands, Ph.D.,  Montana State University Department of Plant Science;
  • March 20:  “Climate Change, GMOs and Vaccine Safety:  Should We Trust Scientific Consensus?” presented by Kristen Intemann, Ph.D., Montana State University Department of Philosophy; and
  • March 24:  “Harnessing Science in Service of a Thriving Democracy” presented by Pallavi Phartiyal, Ph.D., senior analyst and program manager for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

All lectures will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the large community meeting room inside the Arts and Technology building on the FVCC campus.  The FVCC Honors Symposium is supported by FVCC, Humanities Montana, American Association of University Women, FVCC Alumni and Ambassadors and the Theodore Chase Endowment Fund.

For full presentation descriptions and speaker biographies, visit  For more information about the FVCC Honors Symposium, contact Ivan Lorentzen at 756-3864 or