The American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, proudly bears the title of the nation's oldest learned society.  Our founders participated in the birth of American democracy. It pains us greatly that all these years later, our nation's promise has yet to be fulfilled.  We join all Americans of good will in deploring the senseless murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Over these past months the Society has hosted a number of virtual programs.  Even as we now resume our work with the offering of new programs, our attention remains focused on the senseless loss of innocent lives and our commitment to the difficult, necessary conversations and actions we must all take to begin to ensure that such tragedies end. Read more about virtual programming and resources that can be accessed remotely. Read more about the APS response to COVID-19.

“Evidence: The Use and Misuse of Data”

Inspired by the 2021 exhibition Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist, this week-long virtual symposium explores the nature of evidence. The symposium reflects Benjamin Franklin’s many different uses of information and data throughout his life.

[NOTE: In support of the #ShutDownSTEM and #ShutDownAcademia movement, the Wednesday session has been rescheduled for Thursday, June 11, at 3:00pm EDT.]

“Evidence: The Use and Misuse of Data” will be held by the American Philosophical Society on June 8-12, 2020 on Zoom.

The symposium will kick off on Monday, June 8, at 1:00pm EDT with an opening discussion with Drs. Richard Shiffrin (Indiana University, Bloomington), Stephen Stigler (The University of Chicago), and Kathleen Hall Jamieson (The University of Pennsylvania) on their paper, “The Weighing of Evidence Requires Expert Judgment and Consensus.” The discussion will be moderated by Linda Greenhouse, Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law, Senior Research Scholar in Law, and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at Yale University and President of the American Philosophical Society.

The symposium will continue with sessions at 3:00pm EDT Monday, June 8, and at 1:00pm EDT each day on Tuesday, June 9 through Friday, June 12. It will conclude on Friday, June 12 with a final discussion featuring Dr. John R. McNeill (Georgetown University). 

Each session will include brief presentations by the conference participants, comments by a moderator, and a live Q&A session. Sessions will also be recorded and made available on the Society's YouTube channel following the event.

The symposium is free of charge and open to all. Registration is required in order to attend. You may register for individual panels by clicking the link included with each panel description below.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to Adrianna Link, Head of Scholarly Programs, at