Let's hear what scientists have to say

  • Article by: STEVE KELLEY
  • Updated: September 15, 2012 - 6:30 PM

Sort of preposterous, really, to suggest that they don't have a role in democracy.

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womanphoenixSep. 15, 12 9:59 PM

The people who most want to muzzle scientists seem to be those with an anti-reality bias. Especially those who are either paid by oil or coal companies to attack scientists who say truths they don't like, or who unquestioningly swallow the verbal output of those who are paid by oil or coal companies to attack scientists.

davehougSep. 15, 1210:09 PM

The point was the SCIENTIST loses when shifting from science to policy; instead of letting someone else advocate policies with his science. Of course any scientist is free to speak out. Is it WISE is something the scientist will have to decide.

abootreadingSep. 16, 12 1:12 AM

If scientists don't speak out and affect policy, the Earth remains flat.

ninetyninerSep. 16, 12 7:04 AM

Science is as much of a human endeavor as a lawyer interpreting laws or an actor understanding Shakespeare's plays or a musician playing Bill Evan's music. Scientists are just as human and just as fallible as anyone else. What makes the work that scientists do 'Science' is the Scientific Method. Google 'Scientific Method' and you'll understand.

unionsrockSep. 16, 12 9:08 AM

Muzzling scientists make as much sense as muzzling our political leaders. On second thought, why not just muzzle our political leaders - they tend to lie or stretch the truth anyway.

swmnguySep. 16, 12 9:17 AM

One issue I hear a lot from citizens who aren't scientists is, "Next week they'll say the total opposite. Eggs are good for you; eggs will kill you. Salt is good; salt is bad. Remember when they said we were heading into a new ice age?"

The key factor in this seemingly rapid flip-flopping is bad reporting on science. Scientific statements reported without full context, reproduced in sound bites the way campaign talking points are, are just as meaningless as campaign talking points.

I still hear the nonsense that there are more acres of forest in the US today than there were when the Pilgrims landed. Really? Where I live in S. Mpls. used to be a forest. We have a lot of trees, but it's no Big Woods. Again, no context; no definition of terms.

If science reporting isn't going to give depth and context to explain why, for instance, James Hansen believes what he believes, uninformed citizens will be easy pickings for sophisticated corporate marketing efforts designed to create doubt where there is none, to extend the window of profitability on destructive technologies we need to replace.

To lock scientists out of public debate because science reporting is misleadingly superficial, and because there are powerful PR campaigns competing to mislead citizens, is really foolish. Regardless of what advertising-driven for-profit media would like, there are not two equally valid sides to every argument. Some people are wrong; some intentionally so. We need the scientists' voices to tell us what they think is true, and why.

eddie55431Sep. 16, 12 9:23 AM

The point is, a scientist has the right, to remain silent too, and more of them should when it comes to policy matters. Having a right to frees speech doesn't mean you shouldn't choose to pick your times and subjects carefully. A scientist is no more an expert on public policy than an musician, and both should do what they do best and leave the policy to the experts, they only sound stupid when they move from their field of expertise into the "sky is falling" routine.

hotdigitydogSep. 16, 1211:42 AM

The anti-science rhetoric coming from conservative extremists is troubling. Their the modern equivalent of the Flat Earth Society.

hotdigitydogSep. 16, 1211:45 AM

The anti-science rhetoric coming from conservative extremists is troubling. They're the modern equivalent of the Flat Earth Society. The less influence they have on public policy the better off we will be in the long run.

rockoftruthSep. 16, 1212:31 PM

Could science itself be suffering from poor science. According to Thomson Reuters Web of Science, an index of 11,600 peer-reviewed journals world-wide. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year. Through seven months of this year, there have been 210. Science is no better then the politics that fund it.


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