Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is Science Biased Toward Natural?

“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”  - Richard Feynman

I'm glad I stumbled upon this speech from Dr. Bob Lackey, who spent nearly 3 decades in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Living in southern Ontario, I didn't find it hard to attach its content to the Rouge Park hand-wringing of quasi-environmentalists, or the push to ban logging in Algonquin Park.

Is Science Biased Toward Natural? | Robert T. Lackey -
... one student pulled me aside and asked a question in a quiet, intense, and worried voice:
“ Nearly everyone in my family makes a living off the land—mostly as farmers and loggers. Nowadays —every one of them thinks that scientists are biased against their activities and even biased against most anything that humans might do to change the natural environment. Are they correct? Are your scientists —[by that she meant EPA scientists]—biased? ”
I didn't realize the attitude indicated a scientist.

I thought it indicated a Torontonian

PEW: Public and Scientists' Views
The speech, from a recently retired scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, interested me as it discusses the role of scientists in setting policy.
Tenet 1...
"Science is rarely the key to resolving policy disputes.” 
Tenet 2...
“The values, that is, the policy preferences, of scientists are no more important than those of anyone else.”
... a corollary to the two tenets:
Scientifically, pristine ecosystems are neither superior, nor inferior, to human altered ones. 
Read the full speech - it's better than these few excerpts.


Shortly after this posted, the Pew Research Center released Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

1 comment:

  1. Solar Energy Even if we turn to cost of electricity as a method of comparison, I doubt it we would see much of a change.