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Why Scientists Should Have a Greater Voice On Global Security 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-they-might-control-the-volcanoes dept.
Lasrick writes "Physicist Lawrence Krauss has a great piece in the NY Times today about the lack of influence scientists wield on global security issues, to the world's detriment. He writes, 'To our great peril, the scientific community has had little success in recent years influencing policy on global security. Perhaps this is because the best scientists today are not directly responsible for the very weapons that threaten our safety, and are therefore no longer the high priests of destruction, to be consulted as oracles as they were after World War II. The problems scientists confront today are actually much harder than they were at the dawn of the nuclear age, and their successes more heartily earned. This is why it is so distressing that even Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist, gets more attention for his views on space aliens than his views on nuclear weapons. Scientists' voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren't being heard.'"
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Why Scientists Should Have a Greater Voice On Global Security

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  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:50PM (#42607609) Homepage

    An increasing number of politicans will only listen to the scienticians if what they're saying supports the conclusions they've already arrived at.

    They're not interested in facts, just their own ideology.

    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:02PM (#42607763)

      The problem with science and scientists is that they are money losing ventures. Scientists are not rich, they talk in very complicated manners, and do not come to conclusions! Scientists know the world is complex and all problems are complex and solved in a piecemeal manner.

      Its much easier to say, "And I am here to tell you 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!"

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/video/2013/jan/08/alex-jones-pro-gun-tirade-piers-morgan-video [guardian.co.uk]

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtyKofFih8Y [youtube.com]

      There is nothing factual about this. Nothing of value, but gee it sure sounds good and makes a good impression. This is what American society and many other societies have degraded to. So yeah no politician wants to listen to a scientist because this is what a scientist sounds like:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anfbjiShjP8 [youtube.com]

      Compare the Youtube count, 6 million vs 100K. Yeah people are interested in facts!!!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:26PM (#42608057)

      They're not interested in facts, just their own ideology.

      Criticizing politicians for having an ideology is absurd. Political questions are not like engineering questions - 'how much should we spend on bridges' is not at all the same category of question as 'estimate the ultimate load-bearing capacity of this bridge'. Political issues require consideration of things like the underlying values of society, legitimacy of decision-making and economic priorities, none of which have a single 'right' or even an 'approximately right' answer. Stephen Hawking is not a nuclear weapons specialist (although I dare say he knows more than 99% of the population) so why should his views on nuclear weapons be particularly important given that many of the questions involved are about fairness, desire for security and economic constraints? When deciding whether Truman's decision to drop the A bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was appropriate, how useful is it to understand the technical difference between the two types of bombs used?

      Of course, many politicians ignore the facts on subjects like Global Climate Change, and that can't be approved of. But I also groan when I read scientific experts move from explaining the facts about a subject to advocacy of their preferred course of action without differentiating the statements.

      • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:16PM (#42608763)

        Criticizing politicians for having an ideology is absurd.

        The criticism is when they ignore evidence against their particular ideology.

        Political questions are not like engineering questions - 'how much should we spend on bridges' is not at all the same category of question as 'estimate the ultimate load-bearing capacity of this bridge'.

        Although there certainly are decisions that cannot be made objectively, your example is not one of them. We can certainly do cost-benefit analyses to decide whether building a bridge somewhere is worth the amount of money that will be spent building it.

        Sometimes it is subjective. For example, most of us are not anarchists and believe that the government should establish certain laws, even though every law is a restriction on your freedom. We do, however, disagree on where that line is between order and safety and freedom. This is purely ideological. However, even if you lean towards sacrificing more freedom for increased safety, we can empirically determine whether a piece of legislation would actually make people safer or not, whereas right now we don't bother with that.

        • by tnk1 (899206) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:32PM (#42609931)

          Criticizing politicians for having an ideology is absurd.

          The criticism is when they ignore evidence against their particular ideology.

          Einstein hated Quantum Mechanics and invented a Cosmological Constant simply because he didn't like the way things were shaping up. The fact that he eventually called it his biggest mistake doesn't mean that he didn't, at one point, use more of a "feeling" about how things should work out to influence his calculations.

          Of course, amusingly, there are many mentions of a Cosmological Constant in today's cosmology, so maybe he wasn't as wrong as he thought, but he sure as heck didn't get there from the solid thinking that you want to assume that all scientists must use. He didn't even really use that with his science.

          Now, I am not trying to undercut Einstein, or scientists, but they can suffer from their own conceptions as much as anyone else. Politics may well be able to reducible to certain concepts, but there's enough of the concepts to render the exercise non-trivial. Science discovers what is there to discover, and desired outcomes are not given value. Politics is about the application of power to achieve desired outcomes.

          • by LateArthurDent (1403947) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:37PM (#42610861)

            Einstein hated Quantum Mechanics and invented a Cosmological Constant simply because he didn't like the way things were shaping up.

            I agree with your point 100%. I'm not saying scientists are immune to this problem. They're human. I'm also not saying that you need to be a scientist in order to make good decisions. I'm saying that people should, whether they're scientists or not, learn to take a more evidence-based approach in their decision-making process, especially when it comes to politicians.

            The fact that he eventually called it his biggest mistake doesn't mean that he didn't, at one point, use more of a "feeling" about how things should work out to influence his calculations.

            No, it doesn't. Einstein was human, after all. However, when Einstein was shown evidence that the universe was expanding, his reaction was to say he made a mistake and to remove the cosmological constant from the equations. On the other hand, Christopher Columbus kept insisting he reached Asia to the day he died, despite all the evidence that it was a new continent. Some people will just completely disregard any evidence that goes against their beliefs. It's not about being a scientist or not, and there are scientists who will dogmatically cling to their biases, but we point at scientists because at least they have a culture of testing their hypotheses through observation and replication of experiments.

    • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:34PM (#42608171) Homepage Journal

      An increasing number of politicans will only listen to the scienticians if what they're saying supports the conclusions they've already arrived at.

      They're not interested in facts, just their own ideology.

      It's not just politicians, it's everywhere - even on Slashdot.

      If you look at the gun control debate and only consider the evidence, the answer is obvious. It's been obvious for a long time - there was an article in Scientific American decades ago which explained the evidence and statistics. The conclusion hasn't changed since then.

      And yet, people go back and forth on this very website arguing storylines instead of facts. Both sides continuously cite heartfelt stories in an attempt to sway others that what they believe is correct. The statistics are there, there's some attempt to mislead the debate by framing the numbers in specific ways, but overall it's clear-cut.

      Being a scientist means you make evidence-based decisions. I may not like the decisions, and it may feel wrong to me, but at the end of the day I know that basing decisions on evidence is the most likely path to success.

      If you don't form your beliefs based on evidence in the gun debate, why bother using evidence at all? If you can believe stories over evidence, then vaccinations cause autism, cell phones cause cancer, a little inflation is good, and a talking snake convinced a rib-woman to eat an apple from a magic tree.

      There are cases where we don't have enough information, and "best guess" and "expert opinion" can probably serve; however, many times the evidence is overwhelming and the path is clear.

      We would all do well to stop talking "pathos" [wikipedia.org] in our posts and concentrate on facts.

      That's what we should be doing, really: keep the debate focused on evidence. When there's a clear indication from evidence, don't let the other side wander off into storyland.

      (I chose gun control as an emotionally-charged topic that's fresh in people's minds. I claim the point is valid for many issues discussed on Slashdot.)

      • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:12PM (#42608711) Homepage

        there was an article in Scientific American decades ago which explained the evidence and statistics

        Citation please? And I don't ask that because I doubt you, I ask that because I'd be curious to read it, and any followups that have been done since.

        • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:54PM (#42609341) Homepage Journal

          While writing the post I googled the article, but can't find it. The current debate on gun control is flooding the search results right now, even for something as specific as Scientific American.

          On further reflection, I decided to say nothing as to which side was the "right" side of this issue. I'm trying to make a larger point, and the actual debate is secondary. Also, I'm hoping that this will encourage people to post evidence that I'm unaware of. (I clam that the evidence is clear on this issue, but I might be wrong.)

          I can remember reading the article in my youth, it had clear conclusions. It's less relevant today than more modern statistics.

          Sorry for the omission, it was somewhat on purpose.

          I applaud the attitude. Verifying assumptions and otherwise scientific thinking are what we need most.

    • by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:10PM (#42608661)

      Indeed. This is the road to hell though.

  • 3 problems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by banbeans (122547) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:51PM (#42607625)

    To much politics in science today to trust them with decisions.
    There is a lot of junk out there being passed off as science.
    Many scientists are available for sale to the highest bidder.

    This has caused a loss of trust in the scientific community by the general public and the leadership.

    • Re:3 problems (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:30PM (#42608105)

      - Science is too political to be trusted with decisions, leave it to those who are entirely political
      - The signal-to-noise ratio, while significantly higher than current political rhetoric, is less than one.
      - Not every scientist can be bought.

      FTFY.

      Okay, snark aside, at a time when Congress ranks below cockroaches [publicpolicypolling.com] are you truly suggesting this wouldn't improve the situation? Your points are, in a sense, all valid, but we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. An improvement is just that, and need not be perfection.

    • by OFnow (1098151) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:58PM (#42609413)
      Those seeing politics in science have been fooled by the merchants of doubt. It is not the scientists that introduced politics it is a small group of physicists from the cold war with strong ties to government claiming (without any proof) that the real scientists are playing politics (douby weird given that the merchants of doubt are strongly tied to government). I have no connection with the book "Merchants of Doubt" but I strongly recommend it for explaining how science is being crushed by the anti-science folks.
    • by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:15PM (#42611741)
      Problem 4: today's scientists don't have the street cred of the WW2 generation. Those guys went from zero to (many) operational weapons systems in six years or less, and by many objective measures Knew What They Were Doing, and millions of people in uniform and out saw it with their own eyes. Today's average global warming scientist, pure mathematician, or theoretical physicist can only point to publications and slide shows for his accomplishments. Not the same gravitas with the average Joe, and not even the same gravitas with technical types like myself who get their flu shots and don't subscribe to young earth creationism.
  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:53PM (#42607651)

    - "hackers" would be called "tireless researchers"
    - finding security flaws would be called "peer-review"
    - there would be a lot more 14-year-olds leading new scientific advances

    and...

    - people who put their own self-interests aside to disseminate paywalled scientific research for the betterment of humankind would be labeled "heros," and be awarded posthumous honors

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:55PM (#42607675) Homepage
    Scientists promote Godless evil ideas such as global warming, evolution and birth control. They also seem to think you should believe something based on the evidence for it, sound methodology, and peer review. If every idea had to be scrutinized thusly, do you realize how difficult it would be to get every new idea about aliens and conspiracies onto talk radio? Then how would we are to be learning about these important topics?

    --
    Necessity is the mother of invention. Greed is the mother of patents.
  • A quote (Score:5, Informative)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @02:58PM (#42607713) Homepage

    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge".

        -- Isaac Asimov

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:49PM (#42609255)
      Asimov was a smart guy, but also an arrogant ass. There is a huge difference between using science to inform policy (which I admit we ought to do), and putting scientists in charge of policy (which sounds like elitism to me). TFA conflates the two. Knowledge of physics qualifies Krauss (the author) to tell us the best and safest ways to test nuclear weapons, but not to tell us whether a test ban treaty is good foreign policy.
    • by dfenstrate (202098) <{dfenstrate} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:03PM (#42611129)

      The term 'Intellectual' is now merely a label appropriated by folks with an agenda. Oppose the cock-eyed plans of self-labeled 'intellectuals', and you get called an 'anti-intellectual'- despite the lack of intellectual basis for the agenda at hand.

      In the abstract, Asimov was correct. In the real world, the term 'intellectual' is just another plaything for partisan politics.

      • by brkello (642429) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:36PM (#42611403)

        No, the term intellectual is only a label to people who lack the education and understanding to know what an intellectual is.

        You can tell the difference between the two very easily. One use facts and research to back up what they are saying. The other ones manipulate facts to say something that fits in with their agenda, but if you put any small amount of scrutiny on them, the facts just don't hold up.

        The anti-intellectual movement are the people who don't trust you because you have a higher education. Because you have researched more on a certain subject, you are not to be trusted. It is ridiculous but that is where the country is at.

  • by Millennium (2451) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:01PM (#42607743) Homepage

    It has been a long time since anyone existed who could only call himself (or herself) a "scientist." The term is now a generic way to refer to people whose actual work is in any of a staggering number of highly specialized fields. There is some acknowledgment of this in TFA, which states (correctly) that many of today's greatest scientific minds don't work directly in the fields related to the things that affect our security. To use the article's own example, Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist: he doesn't work on nuclear weapons.

    But for a given question, what grounds are there to privilege the viewpoints of those whose expertise is not in a field of direct relevance to that question? On questions concerning nuclear weapons, for example, why should Stephen Hawking's viewpoint be held as equivalent to a nuclear physicist's viewpoint? For that matter, why should his viewpoint be held as superior to the viewpoint of anyone else who is not a nuclear physicist?

  • by ADanFromCanada (2809499) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:01PM (#42607751)
    there's money to be made!
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:04PM (#42607785)

    I am co-chairman of the board of sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which has supported the call for a world free of nuclear weapons — a vision backed by major foreign policy figures in both parties. But ideological biases have become so ingrained in Washington that scientific realities are subordinated to political intransigence.

    The BAS is the perfect example that scientific knowledge doesn't translate to political insight. They've been crying wolf for 60 years, and are now surprised why nobody is listening to them anymore? If science really has lost influence, it's because of people like these guys who hide behind science and call everyone 'anti-science' who disagrees with them.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:07PM (#42607815) Homepage

    "Perhaps this is because the best scientists today are not directly responsible for the very weapons that threaten our safety, and are therefore no longer the high priests of destruction, to be consulted as oracles as they were after World War II."

    More likely it's because people finally figured out that being a scientist doesn't make you an authority on non-scientific topics. (Not to mention that the golden era he laments, like all such golden eras, never really existed.)

    • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:38PM (#42608211)

      Not to mention that the golden era he laments, like all such golden eras, never really existed

      Sure about that? I'd think mass marketing advertising along the lines of "actor wears white lab coat, makes ridiculous claim in support of product" might poison the well a little bit.

      Also some chicken and egg question about the ultra cheesey, terribly popular hollywood movie trope of "evil mad scientist".

  • In their fields (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CarsonChittom (2025388) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:07PM (#42607819) Homepage

    In all honesty, why should we care about Stephen Hawking's views on nuclear weapons? I mean, sure, if there were a weapon that harnessed the destructive power of black holes, definitely Hawking would be on the list of people to consult. But on stuff that isn't his—or more generally, any individual scientist's field? Why is that desirable?

    In any case, Krauss is barking up the wrong tree. The solution to nuclear proliferation is not for scientists to have some greater voice. It's for scientists to convince the populace that nuclear proliferation is an issue worth bothering about. So far, they have failed.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:21PM (#42608829) Homepage

      It's for scientists to convince the populace that nuclear proliferation is an issue worth bothering about.

      Politicians who care about it are also making a lousy case. I distinctly remember one of the Bush-Kerry debates back in 2004, when as the final question the moderator asked each candidate what they thought the most important issue of the day was. Kerry responded with nuclear proliferation, and everyone looked at him like he had 3 heads or something.

      That said, the way the world has been responding (or more exactly, not responding) to issues of global warming, I'm not sure how much longer nuclear proliferation will matter.

  • by Hartree (191324) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:12PM (#42607887)

    The writer wants greater influence from scientists who agree with him.

    I suspect that given the chance to have given Edward Teller or William Shockley greater influence on global security, he might decline.

    On the other hand, he might have wanted more influence by someone like Linus Pauling.

    All three mentioned were good scientists in their fields. So, the criterion becomes what their positions are rather than just that they are good scientists.

  • Scientists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:18PM (#42607977) Journal
    Scientists don't have a good track record on setting policy. They tend to get too focused on their own little area and end up making bad decisions. And that doesn't even take into consideration what can happen when the wrong scientist gets in control, if you remember the Russian horrors of Lysenkoism.

    Any time you create a process whereby people can acquire power, that process will be abused. Remember the fighting between Oppenheimer and Teller? It can get much, much worse than that.

    If scientists have more power than average people, then everyone will rush to redefine themselves as scientists, like this guy [slashdot.org]. Instead of marketers, we'll have "social researchers." Instead of accountants we'll have "capital flow researchers." And I'm not going to stay out of the game, I'll definitely be a computer scientist, not a programmer. Soon the term "scientist" will lose its meaning.

    If scientists want to affect policy in a democratic society, they need to get better at explaining. Albert Einstein reportedly said, "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." It may sound excessive, but remember that's what Feynman did with advanced theoretical physics. You can do it. Of course, in a democratic society, if everyone collectively wants to shoot themselves in the foot, there's not always much you can do about it.
  • by dorpus (636554) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:21PM (#42608009)

    Given their hostility to religion, they would be the first to advocate blowing up Mecca and starting WW3.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:23PM (#42608039)

    The major power structures, church and state, are formed around blind faith.
    They know what is best and will do it for you. You just have to believe.

    Science is based around inquiry and questioning what is going on.

    To accept science you must be open to doubt.
    The major power structures are based on doubt and questioning being a very very bad thing.

    If we want science to go up we must become free of the current power structures.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:29PM (#42608093)

    Scientist: Nuclear weapons are bad, mmmkay?
    World: Gosh. Thanks.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:34PM (#42608167) Journal

    Science should have a greater voice on policy at all levels. Laws are intended to accomplish goals. They should be tested regularly to see if they accomplish those goals, and repealed if they do not. Evidence based legislation is a good idea for the same reasons evidence based medicine is.

  • by kenh (9056) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @03:56PM (#42608469) Homepage Journal

    "Scientists' voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren't being heard.'"

    Four years ago a candidate for President promised to "restore science to it's rightful place" [american.com] - why hasn't it happened? He got elected (and re-elected) to office on that pormise (among others)?

    • by brkello (642429) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:44PM (#42611475)

      Actually, Obama has done a lot for science and is a great supported of science. One of his science cabinet members came and spoke at my company and it really illustrated a lot of the funding and effort in to funding and supporting science.

      I think you also don't understand politics if you think he can wave his hands and fix the problem. You would need Republicans to support the idea of science as well. And since they pander to a base that believes in zombie Jesus over climate change...just isn't going to happen any time soon.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:00PM (#42608541)

    The politicians, political leaders especially, all seek power to enforce their wills upon the world around them. Some may feel this is for the greater good, (religious theocratic leaders), others merely for self-fullfillment (ordinary dictators, and many elected officials.) A good many are somewhere between.

    The scientist looks at the stark reality of the world around them, and work studiously to distance themselves from their own wants and desires for outcomes of experiments (eg, BIAS.) A real, proper, and riggorous scientist accepts hard data with a stoic air, and breathes easier as his bias gets swept away by review, leaving only objective truths behind.

    The politician has "a vision" of how the world "should be".

    The scientist tries to build a model of how the world actually is.

    This is why the scientist is ignored studiously by the politician; the scientist harps on and on, and on about what is, while the politician seeks to change all that, and philosphically rejects harsh limits on what can be done. The politician often feels the current or natural state of things is something to OVERCOME, not something to respect and build into policy.

    As such, the politician is only interested in what the scientist has to say in regards to methods of envoking change, looking for tools and weapons to use to produce the changes the politician feels are needed, to make the world match his own internal view of "ideal."

    Chemistry and metalurgy give rise to internal combustion engines and industry, and chemical fertilizers. It isn't about the knowledge or truth, but about what you can extort out of nature by bending and breaking rules. That's all the politician cares about.

    As such, the politician simply *does NOT* want to hear about how a policy he deems essential will cause all hell to come to breakfast. Like global warming and pollution; the scientists have predicted that heavy industrialism would result in a damaged and possibly unlivable climate since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The politicians simply would hear none of it. Industry was essential to their wish fullfillment, and the consequences were unwelcome distractions, treated as evil distractions and detractions from their glorious dreams of the ideal societies they would build through "progress." (With themselves, naturally, enshrined as heros and architects of that grand future they were the visionaries for.)

    Short of a hostile takeover from the madmen of politics, awash in their selfish fantasies, I don't see science making a dent in the RDF those bastards create for themselves.

    • by brkello (642429) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:47PM (#42611503)

      No, they are not antithetical at all. There is nothing stopping from a scientist who tries to build a model of the real world can't run for office and be a politician. There are certainly scientifically minded people in our government right now.

      I think the issue is more that the type who is attracted to power tend not to be the scientist type. They are more the sociopath type that believes they are better than everyone else and whatever view they have is superior.

  • by sugarmotor (621907) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:16PM (#42608745) Homepage

    Careful what you ask for: next thing you know, scientists will be (even more) selected on their policies.

  • by udippel (562132) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:35PM (#42609035)

    I totally agree, and I am one of them.
    We have given up and have passed the baton to the bean-counters of all sorts and all worlds. In a nutshell, we have allowed ourselves to be prostituted in scales of rankings and economies. We have given up all ethic authority for breadcrumbs at funding, evaluation and throughput.

  • by PineHall (206441) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @04:55PM (#42609357)
    We are the problem. Global security or security in general will always be a concern. There will always be someone who comes to power who will want more and will create weapons of mass destruction. It is the selfish part of human nature, and we are technologically advanced enough that we can destroy ourselves. There is no solution. No philosopher king or scientist can save the day. The problem is us.
  • by nsaspook (20301) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:07PM (#42611685) Homepage
  • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:17PM (#42612347)
    First, why should scientists be any better at policy than anyone else? For example, the author of the piece we're referring to has unconditionally decided that nuclear weapons should be completely eliminated. (I ignore here the game theoretic flaws with his position such as how you keep defectors from obtaining nukes.) Because his view isn't supported at the government level, he is now arguing that scientists should have a greater influence on policy.

    That's classic argument from authority. He wants to have his way so he wants policy decided in such a way that he becomes a primary authority and his interests are furthered. So what makes him a better source for nuclear weapons policy?

    Second, we have the fundamental problem that scientists are cheap. As may be recalled, the tobacco companies had little trouble finding scientists to produce pro-tobacco health studies.

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