Monte Verita: An opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted

We need fair debate to counteract and replace the creed with the science. The upcoming 2012 Monte Verità conference has this potential. It should not be wasted. Photo: author

MELBOURNE, Australia, July 25, 2012—In my previous column “In Experts We Trust”…or should we?“ presented some of the problems associated with the groups providing reviews of science for the use by decision makers. Hopefully, it will trigger more open and diverse debate and help to better guide decision makers.

There is a forthcoming scientific meeting that has the potential to provide a balanced review of the scientific evidence on the impact of man-made electromagnetic fields on human health.

The conference will take place in October 2012 in Monte Verità (literally Mountain of Truth), located in Ascona in the Swiss canton of Ticino. In the past, Monte Verità served as the site of many different Utopian and cultural events. Today, Monte Verità is home to the ETH Zurich conference facility, Centro Stefano Franscini.

A selection of the site, with connections to “utopia” and “truth”, for a site of debate on the impact of electromagnetic fields on human health has some “mischievous” flavour.

In November 2005, the first Monte Verità conference was organized by IT’IS Foundation and its Director, Professor Niels Kuster. This coming October, seven years after the first meeting, the second Monte Verità meeting will take place. In the invitation the organizers wrote as follows:

“The IT’IS Foundation for Research on Information Technologies in Society and its director Prof. Niels Kuster, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and the Centro Stefano Franscini welcome you to the magnificent location of Monte Verità, in Ascona, Switzerland, for the 2012 “EMF Health Risk Research: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for the Future” workshop. 

This second workshop on EMF and Health Risk Research will focus on the reproducible effects of low-level EM exposures and their interaction mechanisms. By joining this workshop you will become part of a group of dedicated researchers in bioelectromagnetics and related fields, and contribute ideas and expertise to the formulation of novel hypotheses and the identification of research priorities.

This four-day roundtable represents a unique opportunity for researchers and experts to get together in a beautiful and inspiring location and share their ideas and their vision for the field.”

I participated in the 2005 Monte Verità conference and have experience first hand the openness and fairness of the scientific debate, where the full scale of scientific opinions was represented. This year, because of my current work in Australia, distance and travel cost is likely to prevent me from participation in this exciting meeting.

The preliminary list of invited speakers for the 2012 Monte Verità conference is very diverse and includes the full spectrum of scientific opinions. This, to me, guarantees fairness of scientific debate. However, the debate should not end with the end of the conference. There is need to record it and provide for all interested to read.

Following the 2005 conference an unofficial summary of the debate was prepared. Because it contained impressions of only three rapporteurs, this document did not make impact on decision making bodies.

This year, there is still time to gear up and prepare a more formal report and conclusions of the meeting in a format that can be used in decision making process. This is a challenge but I hope that Professor Kuster and the IT’IS Foundation will consider it and hopefully, do it.

We need fair debate to counteract and replace the creed with the science.

Monte Verità conference has this potential. It should not be wasted.

 

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Read more from Dariusz Leszczynski in his science blog “BRHP - Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Follow Dariusz on twitter:@blogBRHP

Disclaimer: the opinions presented in this column are author’s own and should NOT be considered as the official opinions of any of Dariusz Leszczynski’s employers.

 


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Dariusz Leszczynski

Dariusz Leszczynski is an expert in the biological and health effects of cell phone radiation.

Since 2009 he publishes a science blog dealing with the issue of cell phone radiation and health: http://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com  

Disclaimer: the opinions presented in this column are authors' own and SHOULD NOT be considered as opinions of any of his employers.

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