"It is the unhappy fate of the scientist today that he must play the role of Cassandra in the body politic, sending his fellow men to bed with nightmares in the hope to be heard in time."

- Arthur von Hippel, in "The Molecular Designing of Materials" (h/t @upbeatprof)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Listen to Science?

Are scientists uniquely qualified to make certain judgements about reality?

Forty years ago I think very few people would have argued otherwise. Perhaps science is not as healthy as it was then, but on the other hand, the very idea of expert opinion is threatened these days.

I make these observations in the light of an interesting opinion piece by Geoff Davies out of Australia arguing that

Those in strategic positions in our society, like politicians and journalists, who treat scientists’ collective professional judgments as no better than any other opinion are being seriously irresponsible.


(Update: Link inserted; thanks to Molnar)

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