Sydney Initiative for Truth | Truth, Evidence, and Reason: who can we believe?
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Truth, Evidence, and Reason: who can we believe?

This panel discussion dissects the current state of public discourse around truth, evidence, and reason, and associated questions including trust, faith, and identity.

Our international panellists are at the forefront of current debate on rational discourse and the post-truth crisis. In this Sydney Ideas event, hosted by the Post-Truth Initiative at the University of Sydney, panellists discuss their answers to the question “who can we believe?”

Each, in their own ways, shows how truth is intertwined with complex questions ranging from knowledge to authority to reality.


Sarah Haider is an American writer, speaker, and activist. In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA), where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam. In addition to atheism, Sarah is particularly passionate about civil liberties and women’s rights. You can reach Sarah at, @SarahTheHaid and read more about EXMNA at
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Read: Only the Truth will Prevent Harm

Tom Nichols is a professor of national security affairs at the United States Naval War College, a Sovietologist, and a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion. He is a senior contributor at The Federalist and the author of seven books, his most recent The Death of Expertise: The campaign against established knowledge and why it matters (2017). During the 2016 presidential campaign, Nichols wrote “an epic tweetstorm” arguing that conservatives should vote for Hillary Clinton, whom he detested, because Trump was “too mentally unstable” to serve as commander-in-chief.
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Read: How America Lost Faith in Expertise
The Death of Expertise

James A Lindsay is a thinker, not a philosopher, with a doctorate in math and background in physics. He is the author of four books, most recently Life in Light of Death (2016). He is co-author (with Helen Pluckrose) of the article ‘A Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity’. His essays have appeared in TIMEScientific American, and The Philosophers’ Magazine. He thinks everybody is wrong about God.
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Read: A Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity

Dr Caroline West is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD in philosophy from The Australian National University in 1997. She lectured at Monash University and Macquarie University, before joining the Department in 2002. Her key areas of research in philosophy include free speech, ethics, identity, and well-being.
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Professor Nick Enfield is Professor of Linguistics, head of the Post Truth Initiative, and Director of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre, at the University of Sydney. His research on language, culture, cognition and social life is based on long term field work in mainland Southeast Asia, especially Laos. His recent books include Natural Causes of LanguageThe Utility of MeaningDistributed Agency, and How We Talk.

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