The Politicization of Science Aug 13, 2014 11:07:27 GMT -8
Post by Origanalist on Aug 13, 2014 11:07:27 GMT -8
Sig Guggenmoos | T&D World Magazine
How many incorrect conclusions or predictions does it take for the public to lose all confidence in science?
Most of us in the electric utility business have a strong respect for science. We readily understand you cannot ignore the laws of physics without putting yourself in harm’s way. You can’t build and operate a generation facility, nuclear or otherwise, without applying science. Heck, you couldn’t even be assured that the pole you set would remain standing without science.
In the utility vegetation management business, there has been an increasing turn to science since the 1950s when we started to study and subsequently, consciously apply ecological principles to right-of-way maintenance.
Any of you who know me, have attended one of my presentations or read my articles know that I am a strong proponent of advancing our work through rigorous, statistically backed science and sharing those findings. So, if you would like some entertainment, set me down with a wobbly pop and bring to my attention some study that fails to account for numerous variables, ignores statistical theory and rules of logic. What a way to set my hair on fire.
Increasingly, we see the politicization of science. This should be of grave concern to us as an industry and simply, as taxpayers. How many incorrect conclusions or predictions does it take for the public to lose all confidence in science? If that should happen, what will be the difference between your opinion based on research and sound scientific theory versus the opinion of anyone else whose facts may be filtered through an anti-capitalist, anti-development or “environmental” lens?
While I’m not big on conspiracy theories, I do wonder if there is not a strategy for eroding the confidence in science. It’s the only way the anti-everythings or BANANAS (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything) can dismantle the barriers to the palace that inconvenient scientific truths keep fortifying. Through their need to find funding for their work, researchers have become unwitting participants in the gradual erosion of scientific credibility. To obtain funding you need to be on the right side of an issue. How much research is being publicly funded that has the potential to disprove anthropogenically induced climate change? That is, politics is leading research. Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse?