Saturday, November 10, 2007

Scientists fear not being trusted

Scientists fear not being trusted. Well, actually they miss not being the final authority in every matter they voiced an opinion. What went wrong? The previous situation was wrong. No area of science can claim to be the final authority. Maybe they stumbled into the situation, maybe not. But they accepted their place on the top of the mountain. Then they wasted their moral authority capital. Much of it was wasted on Alber Gore, Jr. He got them to use massive points on his global warming theory. They continued to claim absolute authority while backing his theory. And they backed Gore when he ruled that there can be no debate. "Game over. I won. (I make the rules.)" The damage is huge. Gore is willing to set the US economy back two generations (very few had cars; few owned homes) and force poverty on us for his theory. And parents now refuse to get their children vaccinated for childhood diseases because they no longer trust scientists. The Toronto Sun reports on a group of scientists facing reality:
After two days of provocative ideas and spirited exchanges at an international gathering recently in Toronto, British museum curator Robert Bud neatly summed up the collective wisdom. "The scientists are terrified." This widespread angst among scientists has been sparked by evidence that the traditional social compact between science and the public has been irrevocably sundered. Put bluntly, much of the public no longer implicitly trusts either scientists or their pronouncements about everything from climate change to the safety of children's vaccines.
Surprise: Scientists express opinions. And sometimes lay people know more than the scientists.
A repeated theme among workshop participants was that many scientists still act as if they possess the "facts," while the public merely has "opinions." In reality, however, scientists are increasingly expressing opinions, and laypersons sometimes possess greater expertise than the scientists, especially in the case of rare medical afflictions.
Hat tip to Denyse at Post-darwinist.

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