Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Speaking science to power

I stole the title of this post from an interview in Nature. As much as some in power might proclaim that whistle blowers should be protected, there are other ways in which people who bring problems to the wider public attention can be punished. In other words, punishment is not always formal.

And you'll probably not be surprised to know, I think science should be spoken to power more often. Martin Robbins and Mark Henderson at the Guardian are suggesting that we need an Office of Scientific Responsibility, a formal office that fact checks politicians use of science and statistics to justify their policies. Something similar has been proposed in fullfact.org, but as best I can tell, full fact focuses more on the media's use and abuse of statistics. Which sadly means that it's ability to be widely published is probably hindered, given that it's the publishers that they're fact checking. An office dedicated to fact checking politicians would be grand. It would possibly (hopefully) contribute to more evidence based policy being enacted.

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