The tsunamis of information that inundate us leave little time for reflection and evaluation of the ideas they contain and the programs they propose. The purpose of this blog is provide a forum for second thoughts about issues of the day, looking beyond the proposals to the consequences – often unintended and unexpected.
Science is one of the most trusted institutions in our society, and hence a potentially valuable ally to those who seek to influence public policy. It is important that we understand how science is used, and misused, in that endeavor.
There is much valid use of science to influence policy, so much in fact that some of the abusers have found in it a very effective screen to shelter themselves from scrutiny. Simply using the word “science” is sometimes enough to give credibility to false or dubious assertions.
Misuse often happens because people do not understand what science can and what it cannot do. Sometimes – sadly – it is a deliberate attempt to manipulate public opinion to achieve some policy goal which the relevant science does not support. And sometimes the science cited is simply bad science.
We will discuss these issues as well as others which will undoubtedly arise.