Combatting misinformation using foundational biology

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Woodruff, Kelsey
Rubenstein, Eric (VJ)
McKinney, Todd
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Thesis (B.?)
Honors College
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Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new wave of scientific misinformation flooded the media. Conspiratorial ideas about the virus itself, vaccinations, and a myriad of other things spread through social media like wildfire. These, compounded with preexisting forms of pseudoscientific rhetoric, has led to a dramatic increase in public distrust of science. This type of distrust not only threatens scientific progress, but also holds broader threats to things like public health and policy decisions. Though there are several ways to combat scientific misinformation, this project aimed to cull misinformation by educating the public about the foundational biology underlying many of these conspiracies. Five videos were produced covering mRNA vaccines, alternative medicine, misuse of science to justify racism, and climate change denial. These videos will hopefully provide a more complete context for some conspiracies and aid the audience in developing skills to recognize and combat misinformation as they encounter it.