Feb. 14th, 2010

mirrorshard: (Default)
This Guardian article by Sarah Boseley talks about new government proposals to ensure that official advisors and ministers "agree on a position", and why scientists aren't having any of it.

To add to it: it's a one-way relationship. Science informs policy, not the other way around. Trying to do it both ways risks getting into a feedback loop, where the scientists end up telling the ministers something very close to what they already know, and confirming their prejudices.

Insisting on agreement also makes the Minister look both weak and dishonest - if he has the courage of his convictions, he shouldn't be afraid to disagree. It's not as though all scientists agree with one another, and they're rarely afraid to say so.

Besides... they're advisors. If you always agree with your advisors, people will start wondering whether you actually do anything yourself - or whether there's any point in them, and if they're being brave enough.

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