When science meets politics and policy, the outcome may depend more on values than on objectivity

Categories: SciTech
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Published on: July 14, 2009

An interesting article was published recently about the role of scientific enquiry when mixed in policy making and politics. This experince shows that it not straightforward (as most of us suspected!). It is (yet another) motivation for more science education or familiarity of the general public. But, it also gives an indication to the scientists to be abit more smart and engange in the public debates. For being smart, one insight this article clearly points to is to pose the context and motivate the objectivity of science w.r.t what people care about. And, not necessarily impose to the public two constraints simultaneously – one is to learn more about science and its methods and second is to engage in a debate. The two issues are separate, best handled separately.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
The Battle of Bull Run had finally ended. The scientific debate over the effects of logging became a moot point. The long and arduous road taken 20 years earlier by scientists in search of the truth ended abruptly with a political decision. What the public valued most was clean, safe drinking water secured for themselves and their children’s children. Deeply troubled by the sudden and unexpected failure of their drinking-water source, Portlanders simply decided that waiting for scientific answers was not worth further risks.

More of this article here: [the link]
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