The politics of science

There’s been a lot of climate talk hubbub going on in the past few weeks. It’s mostly been about those chats in Copenhagen, but who still remembers the leaked climatologist emails? I know I’m late to the game, but I just ran into this article by Mike Hulme (one of the climate scientists whose emails were stolen): The Science and Politics of Climate Change.

I’ve been trying to come up with some comments, but he does a fantastic job of discussing the science/policy disconnect. Ultimately it’s an issue of mismatched expectations from both the policy and science sides on how they each work. Bottom line: science gets distorted to fit policy needs instead of being used to compliment policy decisions. A better understanding of how the act of doing science works would do wonders for public understanding. While the article was just on climate change (which is undoubtedly the biggest science/policy interface existing right now), the same sort of arguments could be made for how the public perceives science in general (and vice versa: a more inclusive scientific community would help integrate and open itself to everyone else).

Hulme makes a case for the transparency of science (and believe me, there’s little that’s more opaque than academic science), which is hopefully something I’ll be able to help with as I talk more here about life as a researcher. (And with classes now mostly out of the way, posting volume should definitely increase as I move into the lab semi-permanently for the next 5ish years.)


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